It used to be said that Europe’s Ryder Cup camraderie was developed through years of sharing dinners and hotels while hopscotching borders on the European Tour.
These days, they share a cul-de-sac – in Florida.
Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Peter Hanson spent their final days of Ryder Cup preparation in the comforts of Orlando’s Lake Nona community, where each owns a home. Justin Rose would have made it four, but he was busy competing in the Tour Championship.
“We’re pretty much neighbors,” said Rose, who finished second to Brandt Snedeker at East Lake.
“So from that aspect, what you lose playing on a tight-knit tour, you gain by actually pretty much living together. We see each other on weeks off, we practice a little bit together, so I think that helps bond the team.”
All but Hanson are PGA Tour members; Hanson made 10 appearances on U.S. soil by virtue of his standing among the world’s top 50.
“A lot of us play a lot of golf over here,” said Hanson, who tied for third at the Masters and was seventh at the PGA Championship. “The key aspect is still to get the team spirit together even though we are flying in from different places.”
When Europe’s charter landed yesterday outside Chicago, captain Jose Maria Olazabal was accompanied by just three of his team members.
Maybe they should have scheduled a stopover at Orlando International.Jeff Shain covers golf for the Orlando Sentinel and Tribune Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffShain, or reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.