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HomegolfZach Johnson ready for blame if US should fall at Ryder Cup

Zach Johnson ready for blame if US should fall at Ryder Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said on Tuesday he is ready to handle criticism if the Americans lose to Europe in two weeks’ time in Italy after a dominating 2021 triumph.

The Europeans will be looking to regain the biennial trophy at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club near Rome from Sept 29 to Oct 1, following the United States’ record 19-9 win at Whistling Straits.

Witnessing the disappointment over a fourth-place finish by US National Basketball Association stars at the Basketball World Cup, Johnson accepts he might pay a price if his team cannot snap a 30-year win drought on European soil.

“I kind of know what I’m signing up for. I love responsibility, I love difficulty, I love being pushed and somewhat being uncomfortable, if that makes sense,” he said.

“If we lose this, there’s probably some of that can go on me… I fully accept that. I hope that’s not the case but I’m at peace with whatever comes my way.”

Johnson spoke ahead of the PGA Tour’s Fortinet Championship, which starts on Thursday at Napa, California. Two-time defending Fortinet champion Max Homa and two-time Major winner Justin Thomas from the US squad will compete in the field.

Thomas, a controversial captain’s pick without a top-eight finish in seven months, has not played in six weeks after missing the FedExCup play-offs.

“Ideally, they get some momentum. Momentum is pretty lethal and can be a really good thing. I’m not going to give their scorecard a whole lot of merit when it comes to what we’re trying to do two weeks from now. Four days of stroke play is vastly different than five sessions of matchplay in three days,” Johnson said.

Most of the team visited the Marco Simone course last week for a sneak peek at the challenging layout they will face.

“It’s so hilly and the temperature could be pretty hot, too. It’s probably the most demanding, physically, of any Cup course I’ve ever seen that I’ve been a part of,” said vice-captain Stewart Cink.

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry has backed the “next generation” of European golf to shine at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

“I feel like this is almost like the next generation for European golf and I think that’s very exciting to see guys like Nicolai (Hojgaard) and Ludvig (Aberg) on the team and Viktor (Hovland),” he said.

“Vincent Norrman winning (the Irish Open), he’s probably going to be on future European Ryder Cup teams.

“I think European golf is better than what people have been talking about over the last couple of years.” AFP

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