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Furyk insists US have it all to prove at Ryder Cup

© AFP / by Jed Court | USA's Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk gives a press conference in Paris, on october 17, 2017

PARIS (AFP) - 

American Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk has called on his team to go into next year's clash against Thomas Bjorn's Europe in Paris with "a chip on their shoulder".

The United States ended a run of three straight defeats with victory at Hazeltine last year, before an impressive young outfit crushed the Internationals 19-11 at the Presidents Cup earlier this month.

Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas all won major titles this year, while Dustin Johnson is the world number one, but Furyk wants his side to feel they still have plenty to prove, having not won on European soil since triumphing at The Belfry in 1993.

"I don't want (them) going in there being overconfident that they are the greatest team," the 47-year-old told reporters in Paris.

"I want them going in with a chip on their shoulder that they have something to prove."

Furyk also downplayed talk of the US dominating the Ryder Cup for years to come, saying: "I think that would be putting the cart before the horse right after the bat.

"We lost the three Ryder Cups previously to Hazeltine if I remember correctly. We haven't won on foreign soil in 25 years.

"So right now, that would be like trying to play the 14th hole when we are on the first tee, right. Let's take one at a time."

Golfing legend Tiger Woods, who was cleared on Sunday to play full shots again after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a back injury, appears set to play some part at Le Golf National.

Furyk, who won his only major title at the 2003 US Open, hinted that he would ask Woods to be a vice-captain should he not make the team as a player.

The 14-time major champion was a vice-captain to both Davis Love III at the 2016 Ryder Cup and Steve Stricker at the 2017 Presidents Cup.

"He's been a great, great resource for Davis Love, for Steve Stricker. He's very close with both of those players," Furyk said.

"Tiger and I are good friends, as well... I would think and hope that he would want to be a part of it and that his schedule, that everything, would allow it.

"But I would love to have him as an asset, as well.

"He's a great thinker. I love seeing how he worked his way around a golf course. He brings that same thought process to a captaincy."

- Bjorn confident in youngsters -

Europe struggled with six rookies in their loss at Hazeltine and the likes of world number five Jon Rahm and England's Tyrrell Hatton, who has won back-to-back tournaments in the last fortnight, look set to make their debuts in France.

Home skipper Bjorn, 46, insisted that he was not worried about his team struggling from a lack of experience.

"I don't believe in the inexperience thing, I really don't," the Dane said.

"Some of the greatest Ryder Cup players that came out when they were rookies were fantastic from the get-go.

"Some people learn it over time and some people go straight into it.

"But if you have six rookies that can go straight into it and just go 'I want to go out there', well, get them out there.

"Jim (Furyk) always refers to some of his older players having a lot of scars. Well, they (rookies) have no scars.

"Look at the American side, a guy like Patrick Reed wants to get out there and wants to win points, and that's a great rookie."

The United States will undoubtedly field a formidable outfit in 11 months' time, but any talk of Europe suffering a defeat similar to the one the Americans handed out to the Internationals seems premature.

Rahm, his fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, among others, could be out to extend the USA's 25 years of hurt.

by Jed Court

© 2017 AFP