‘There’s going to be friction’: Yes, the European Ryder Cup team has drama, too

graeme mcdowell and sergio garcia hug

Is European Ryder Cup camaraderie a myth?

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With another season of golf complete and fall knocking on the door there is one final big-time event on the men’s calendar to put a bow on 2021 — the Ryder Cup. The biennial event returns later this month at Whistling Straits as the best players from the U.S. and Europe compete in the highest-energy forum in golf.

The Ryder Cup was dominated in its early days by Team USA, as the Americans jumped out to a 18-3-1 record prior to 1978. However, since Great Britain and Ireland began welcoming the entire European continent to their team, the Cup has made its way back across the pond more times than not with the Euros owning an 11-8-1 record.

Theories on why the blue and yellow have outshined the red, white and blue are wide ranging, but a popular refrain is that the Euros simply have more team chemistry than the Americans. Individual egos in the team room have gotten in the way of victories, so the theory goes, and Europeans have less hubris than Americans.

But according to 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, that hypothesis isn’t entirely true.

“We don’t all get on,” McGinley said on this week’s Off Course with Claude Harmon podcast.

McGinley pointed to the European team room in 2014, which featured Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. At that time, McIlroy was involved in litigation against his former management team — a team that still represented McDowell. The off-course rift was even the target of a Phil Mickelson one-liner early that week.

“Not only are we able to play together,” Mickelson said. “We also don’t litigate against each other, and that’s a real plus.”

But even with some drama away from the course featuring two of Europe’s stars, it didn’t hinder their ability to play solid golf that week at Gleneagles as the Europeans retained the Cup with a 16.5-11.5 margin.

“There’s always issues, absolutely,” McGinley said. “You put 12 guys together in a room together with big egos, I don’t care how good of friends they are, there’s gonna be some friction.”

Check out the entire Off Course with Claude Harmon podcast below.

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.