This year, Furyk and the European captain, Thomas Bjorn, each have five assistant captains, many of whom, despite not competing, are here with their own caddies. Love, 54, is in an assistant’s role after serving as the captain in 2016, when the Americans won at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.
The Ryder Cup’s modern success has been rooted in a strong rivalry, though not really Europe versus the United States, which is no classic sports rallying point. The rivalry has been the European Tour versus the more lucrative PGA Tour, based in the United States.
That lifestyle gap was a motor for the Europeans and made their dominance of the event in the 2000s all the more counterintuitive. But the lines between the teams have long since blurred, with Europe’s best routinely joining the American tour. In this globalized era, the Irish star Rory McIlroy knows the Americans’ games and characters better than he knows those of some of his European teammates.
In 1993, the Ryder Cup still felt like a genuine clash of golf cultures instead of a reshuffling of the deck. But that does not mean that ending the United States drought would fail to resonate, particularly for those who have lived it the longest.
Phil Mickelson, then fresh out of Arizona State University, was a candidate for a 1993 captain’s pick but was not chosen by Watson. His first Ryder Cup was in 1995, and he has not missed one since, going 0-5 on the road and losing in Spain, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Could France be where the streak stops?
“If we were to do that,” Mickelson said, “it would be something that I would remember and cherish for the rest of my life.”