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Golf | Ryder Cup

‘Recent wins have lifted Europe's spirit’



Momentum is everything ahead of a Ryder Cup contest and Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal believes his side are well set for their title defence against United States at the Medinah Country Club in Chicago next week.

"The most important thing is momentum in the Ryder Cup," said the Spaniard.

"The fact that in the last weeks we've done so well with Rory McIlroy winning the US PGA Championship, Sergio Garcia winning on the US PGA Tour and Paul Lawrie's win, I think that really brings the spirit up."

World No 1 McIlroy stormed to his second major victory with a record eight-shot PGA win last month before recording back-to-back triumphs in the US Tour's FedExCup playoff series.

Garcia clinched the Wyndham Championship title in North Carolina in August and Lawrie won the Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland.

Garcia changed his schedule after missing the cut at the PGA Championship in order to play at the Wyndham where he secured his place in the Ryder Cup team with his first PGA Tour title since 2008.

"It says a lot about Sergio," said Olazabal of his fellow countryman who missed the biennial team event in 2010 because of poor form.

"He wanted to be part of the team and he made the extra effort. Him making the team made it a lot easier for me," the Spaniard added in a Nespresso video with former Europe captain Bernard Gallacher.

HANSON WIN

The last victory by an American team member came at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational early last month when Keegan Bradley triumphed. Before that Zach Johnson won the John Deere Classic in July.

Earlier this month another European Ryder Cup player, Peter Hanson of Sweden, lifted the Dutch Open trophy.

Even the out of form Europeans are coming good. Martin Kaymer, winner of the 2010 US PGA, has struggled this year but he recorded his best result since November with a top-five finish at the Italian Open on Sunday.

Ryder Cup rookie Nicolas Colsaerts tied with Kaymer in fifth place, his 10th top-10 in an outstanding season, and Olazabal said there was a lot more to come from the big-hitting Belgian.

"It's a long course, a hitters course, and Nicolas hits it forever," explained Europe's captain. "I think his game is suited to Medinah."

However, Colsaerts and his more experienced teammates will have to ignore the cries from the partisan crowd next week.

"They're going to be very vocal, they love sport in Chicago," he said. "I was there a year ago and even then people knew what was to come."

McIlroy and four of his teammates are in action this week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta alongside all 12 members of the US side including 14-times major champion Tiger Woods and four-times major winner Phil Mickelson.

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