Ryder Cup: Garcia eyeing another Europe triumph at Whistling Straits

By Sports Desk September 13, 2021

Sergio Garcia enters his 10th Ryder Cup as the all-time leading scorer in the competition but he is thinking only of another team victory as he looks ahead to Whistling Straits.

Europe have won four of the last five and nine of the last 12 showdowns with the United States but Garcia is hungry for more at the delayed 2021 edition, to be held September 24-26.

He pointed out that the Americans still hold an overwhelming edge in the history of the biennial event, with 26 wins compared to only 14 for their opposition. 

"We still have some catching up to do, and that's a goal to try to tilt the balance to our favour when it comes in the global score of the Ryder Cup," Garcia told reporters after being selected for this year's team by captain Padraig Harrington. 

The USA's advantage stems mostly from the days when a player from Spain like Garcia would not have been eligible to contest the Cup. 

From its inception in 1927 through 1971, Great Britain provided the sole opposition. The next three Ryder Cups, from 1973-77, added players from Ireland as well. 

The Americans won 18 and lost three, with one tie, across that span before a full European team was first fielded in 1979. The USA won the first three after that format change but Europe are 11-5-1 since 1985. 

Garcia has been a huge part of that success since making his debut in 1999 as a 19-year-old.

At the last edition in Paris in 2018, Garcia raised his career point total to 25.5, passing Nick Faldo to become the highest-scoring player in history, but team success was – and remains – top of mind.

"Being the highest points-scorer in Ryder Cup history, that was never my goal," Garcia said. "It's something that I never thought about because I was always focused on winning the Ryder Cup as a team.

"So I never thought, oh, you know, even if we lose, if I win three or 3.5 points, I had a great Ryder Cup. No, that doesn't do it to me.

"I've always said it; I could win five matches. If we don't win the Ryder Cup, it's not a good Ryder Cup for me.

"I'm not one of those guys that would look at the individual stats over the team stats on that particular week.

"It's not the way my brain works and probably is one of the reasons why I've been fortunate to be a part of so many teams and do so well in it."

It also helps that Garcia cares so deeply about the competition and has always seemed to feed off the team dynamic and the unique atmosphere around any Ryder Cup gallery. 

He knows Europe will face the full wrath of the fans in Wisconsin, particularly with COVID-19 restrictions limiting travel from Europe. 

"Obviously when we're in the US, we are always out-numbered when it comes down to [crowds]. But this year is going to be even more," he said. "So the way you look at it, you can look at it two ways: You can feed off the energy that their crowd is going to have, and also you can feed off your good moments how they will get quiet and how you can quiet their crowds.

"I think that's going to be important and it's going to be important for everyone to know that when the course is quiet, this is a good thing for Europe."

Related items

  • Williamson out to prove he is a winner by helping New Orleans Pelicans to NBA title Williamson out to prove he is a winner by helping New Orleans Pelicans to NBA title

    Zion Williamson received the ultimate present on his 22nd birthday. 

    As a thank you, he wants to deliver a championship to the New Orleans Pelicans. 

    Williamson officially signed his five-year, $231million rookie max extension with the Pelicans at a YMCA in New Orleans where he was hosting a camp.  

    He signed the deal on Wednesday, the same day he turned 22, and sitting alongside Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon, executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin and coach Willie Green, Williamson – not surprisingly – said this is the number one birthday he has ever had. 

    "For the Pelicans to give me this birthday gift, I'm not going to let them down," Williamson said. 

    A year ago on his birthday, Williamson found out he broke his foot forcing him to miss the entire 2021-22 season. Now that he has been cleared to play, he has lofty goals. 

    "I want to prove that I'm a winner, it's as simple as that," he said. "The ultimate goal is to win a championship. And I feel like that's what we're all striving for." 

    The Pelicans made the playoffs this past season without Williamson and took the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns to six games before being ousted. 

    With Williamson in the fold, the hope is he can help the franchise take the next step. 

    "It's gonna all come together at some point throughout the course of the season," Green said. "And when it does, I think we can be a scary team."

    Williamson has only appeared in a mere 85 games since being the top pick of the 2019 NBA draft, but he has been outstanding when healthy, averaging 25.7 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting just over 60 per cent. 

    Since his rookie season, Williamson has been instrumental to New Orleans' success. The Pelicans have won 47.1 per cent of their games while averaging 116.4 points in the 85 games Williamson has played, compared to winning 40.4 per cent of the games and an average of 111.1 points in the contests he has missed.  

    "Adding [Zion] back on the court with the group that we have is going to be a lot of fun but also really dangerous for the entire league and all of the 29 teams that have to face us night in and night out," Langdon said. "We are incredibly excited about that."

    Suiting up alongside Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, Williamson gives the Pelicans another scoring threat making the offense even more dangerous. New Orleans' offense thrived after acquiring McCollum last February, averaging 115.9 points after the trade compared to an average of 105.9 points in their first 54 games. 

    "We have an opportunity to be able to run toward sustained success for quite a long time," Griffin said. "We're young, we're talented, and most importantly – we are very hungry." 

  • Wizards star Beal only player with no-trade clause in NBA Wizards star Beal only player with no-trade clause in NBA

    Bradley Beal's five-year, $251million contract with the Washington Wizards includes a no-trade clause that makes the three-time All-Star guard the only player in the NBA to have a "true no trade clause", according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. 

    Marks also says Beal is the 10th player in NBA history to have the clause in a deal, joining LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and John Stockton. 

    Beal was eligible to negotiate the clause because he has been in the league for at least eight seasons and spent at least the previous four campaigns with his current team.

    He has been with the Wizards since they selected him third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. 

    Beal's 25.8 points per game since the 2016-17 season is the 10th-highest scoring average in the NBA over that span. He was limited to 40 games in 2021-22 before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left wrist. 

  • Lakers bring back Bryant on one-year deal Lakers bring back Bryant on one-year deal

    Thomas Bryant is once again a Los Angeles Laker after the free agent centre signed a one-year contract with the team on Wednesday. 

    A second-round pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA Draft, Bryant was then traded to the Lakers on draft night but only appeared in 15 games with Los Angeles, averaging 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds. 

    He was then waived by the Lakers following his rookie year and signed with the Washington Wizards, where he has spent the past four seasons. 

    His last two years with Washington were marred by injury, however, as he appeared in a combined 37 games due to a torn ACL suffered in January 2021.  

    Prior to the injury, Bryant was off to an encouraging start to the 2020-21 season, averaging 14.3 points on 64.8-per-cent shooting, along with 6.1 rebounds in starting the first 10 games for Washington. 

    Bryant, who turns 25 years old on July 31, played well at times in his return last January, averaging 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 27 games. 

    The Lakers are hopeful after another off-season of training that he will be able to regain his prior form and provide frontcourt depth.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.