Pavin – We’re the underdogs

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US captain Corey Pavin is insisting that Europe should be considered favourites for next month’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

US captain Corey Pavin is insisting that Europe should be considered favourites for next month’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

The Americans will head into the clash as the defending champions after ending a run of three straight defeats with victory at Valhalla two years ago.

But they have not managed to win on European soil since 1993, when Tom Watson led them to a 15-13 triumph at The Belfry.

And Pavin says that several elements of the competition combine to give the home side the advantage, although he believes the quality of the players in each team is very similar.

“Given the advantage of playing over in Europe, I think that gives the edge to the European team,” Pavin told Reuters.

“Travelling is always difficult and the fans will be a big part of it, 80-85 percent are going to be pro-European.

“We’re competing on a golf course that is played on their tour so the European players are familiar with the venue. And Monty (Europe captain Colin Montgomerie) gets to set up the golf course the way he wants to as well.

“We haven’t won on foreign soil since 1993 so it’s going to be a challenge but I think the teams themselves are very comparable. I am looking forward to a pretty good battle.”

Pavin has played in three Ryder Cups as well as being a former major champion and he says the team competition produces the most pressure of any golf tournament.

He added: “The Ryder Cup has a lot more pressure. I’ve hit a very important shot on the last hole of a US Open. Was I nervous? Yes, I was certainly nervous.

“Was I more nervous playing in a Ryder Cup, maybe coming down the 18th hole? By far. It’s not even a comparison.”

But the 50-year-old stressed the importance of making sure his players reaming focus despite the pressure and emotion that will be present.

“That’s what is the most fun for me playing at the Ryder Cup, controlling my emotions and getting the most out of my game under the most trying conditions,” Pavin said.

“I hope to bring a calmness to the guys on my team. This is an event where emotions run high and I want the guys to be calm yet focused. They will be nervous, which is great.

“I just have to make sure some of the guys kind of tone it down a little bit because they are going to be so fired up.”

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