• Winning captain to have scoreline inked on body
• He says team is one of the best ever to represent Europe
Europe’s reclaiming of the Ryder Cup will come at a cost to their captain, Thomas Bjørn, after it was revealed he promised his team he would get a tattoo bearing the winning score in the event of a triumph in France.
Europe cantered to a 17½ to 10½ success against the US at Le Golf National, thereby defying pre-event underdog status. During media duties victorious European players let slip the offer Bjørn made during the Ryder Cup build-up.
“It was the worst decision I made all week,” a smiling Bjørn said. “Let me put it this way, it’s going to go on a part that only [Bjørn’s partner] Grace will see. I might have to send the players a picture.”
Ian Poulter, one of Bjørn’s victorious European players, said: “I don’t know when it’s going to get done but we had some extra motivation this week to make sure we put our hands back on that trophy.
“As little or big as those numbers are going to be – they will be very interesting numbers to see.”
Bjørn cited this European team as among the continent’s best in Ryder Cup history. “It’s up there, I have to say,” the captain said.
“But it’s down to the players on the team. It’s down to what they are as their personalities and what they want to achieve. We got it right this week. We worked as a team and we knew we were up against very strong opponents, but we went out on the golf course and believed in ourselves and what we stand for as a team.
“We never, ever looked towards their team about what they were about. We were about us as a team and what we do.
“This is the best team room I’ve ever been in. It was calm. It was determined. It was focused. It was fun. Everything that this Ryder Cup was, is what I think the Ryder Cup should be about for a European team. It’s a great group. It’s a group that believes in themselves and what they stand for.”Europe celebrate winning the Ryder Cup – video
The captain also, rightly, felt vindicated after his experienced wildcard picks returned a combined nine and a half points. The US’s four selections, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, combined for just two.
“I think I got it right,” Bjørn said. “They have been fantastic. I couldn’t have dreamt of what they brought on the golf course. They have been fantastic this week on the golf course.
“But in the team room, they bring the experience. They bring the understanding. It’s those guys that last night sit and make sure that everybody’s in the right frame of mind and they are ready to go out and play because they have done it so many times before.
“When you take on the captaincy, you can never dream of a scoreline like this. That’s obviously down to all 12 players, but I’m extremely proud of those four guys that got picked, because it’s by no means easy to be picked. There’s pressure on you if you’re going to be picked, and they stood up, all of them this week, and showed what they are worth.”
Jim Furyk, the defeated US captain, admitted his team were outplayed but offered a staunch defence of his squad. “I have every confidence in these 12 players that you could,” Furyk said.
“I think we have a great team. I would take them right back into another Ryder Cup and play it all over again if I could. You can call me crazy, but I have every belief that these guys could get it done.”Quick guide
2020 vision: Wisconsin awaits golf’s great battleShow Hide
Attention now turns to the 2020 Ryder Cup, where the Americans will look to regain the trophy on their own turf at the Whistling Straits course in Wisconsin.
On the shore of Lake Michigan, Whistling Straits was opened in 1998, built on the site of an abandoned airfield called Camp Haven. It features two courses – the Irish and the Straits, although most significant events are played on the latter.
It has previously hosted three editions of the US PGA Championship, in 2004, 2010 and 2015. Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson there in a three-hole playoff to claim his first major in 2005. It also hosted the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2005, the collegiate equivalent of the Ryder Cup in which students from Europe and America play every year.
Whistling Straits was named in fairly literal fashion, after Herbert V Kohler Jr, chairman of the company that owns it, was taken by the whistling winds that swept across the course during its construction.
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