SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Tony Finau minced no words.
“This is a big one for us,” the 32-year-old American said Thursday at Whistling Straits on the eve of the 43rd Ryder Cup, which begins Friday morning with foursome matches.
Finau didn’t use the words “must win,” but he meant must win.
And he wasn’t speaking only of this week’s matches, he was speaking big picture. Europe, after all, has won four of the past five competitions and nine of the past 12.
“The culture of what we want to bring [is] not only at this Ryder Cup but many Ryder Cups to come,” Finau said. “For me the change of culture [is critical.] We have a whole new team. We have a team with no scar tissue. There’s only a handful of us that has even played in a Ryder Cup, and the few of [us,] we have winning records. So, we actually don’t have guys on our team that have lost a lot in Ryder Cups.
“We’ve got a whole new team. We’ve got a whole different group of young guys that are hungry. You guys see six rookies. Man, in this team room, I don’t see any rookies. I see 12 guys that are confident and none of us are wide-eyed. We want to win. When I’m in the locker room, I see guys beaming with confidence and really hungry to win.”
Finau said he and his fellow U.S. players are tired of the narrative that suggests that the Europeans care more about the Ryder Cup than the Americans, and that the Europeans get along with each other better than the Americans.
“We have had some publicity about Americans not having the camaraderie maybe that the Europeans have, or not have the interest in playing in the Ryder Cup,” Finau said. “That’s not the case. They have outplayed us in quite a few Ryder Cups, and that’s the mold we want to change going forward and that’s why I say this is a big one.
“It’s hard to watch another team celebrate in front of you,” Finau went on. “That’s something that I had to do in Paris in 2018. Jordan (Spieth) was there, DJ (Dustin Johnson), J.T. (Justin Thomas) and Bryson (DeChambeau). This is a big one because we don’t want to experience that again. To experience that on their home turf, I think that was a tough one. If we were to experience that here on our home turf, where we are watching them celebrate on our home would be a tough pill to swallow.
“With that being said, there’s that extra motivation I think or extra drive to change the culture of American golf and we have that opportunity this week.”