The Ryder Cup might be the most pressure-packed event in all of golf. Sure, majors are important, but when you’re playing in the Ryder Cup, the nerves just hit different.
As a member of a team, you aren’t simply playing for yourself, you’re also playing for your teammates. And beyond that, you are representing your country (or continent). Add in the hostile opposing fans who will heckle your every move and you’ve got a recipe for quite the nervy round of golf.
“There’s more nerves in a Ryder Cup than any other situation,” upcoming Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar. “Sometimes in the Ryder Cup you’re asked to play under pressure and hit the shots when you’re not feeling well. And there’s nothing tougher than that.”
Harrington explained that when you come down the stretch of a major or any other event, you’ve been playing well up to that point to put yourself in that situation. But in a Ryder Cup, your team might carry you to the end and then depend on you to close out your match to win the cup. That’s when you’ve got to dig deep.
“You’re worried about letting your partner down in the first four sessions. You’re worried about letting Europe down,” Harrington said. “But I do feel like a lot of it comes down to how well you feel about your own game and how confident you are.
“If you go into the singles and you’ve had zero (points), you haven’t won a match. How bad are you feeling?” he continued. “You’re desperate to get a Ryder Cup point. You’re desperate to be part of it. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of stress.”