DUBLIN, Ohio - Stung by an epic last-day collapse that cost them the Ryder Cup, America’s top golfers are already looking ahead to next year’s Presidents Cup matches for a measure of redemption.
Leading 10-6 entering Sunday’s final singles matches at Medinah, the Americans were overtaken for a stunning 14 1/2-13 1/2 European triumph that allowed the visitors to keep the trophy.
Many of the same US players who lost in the Ryder Cup will play next October for US captain Fred Couples in the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village against a non-European Internationals squad captained by Zimbabwe’s Nick Price.
“I learned 4 1/2 points is awfully hard to get,” Couples said Tuesday. “They took it pretty hard.”
The Americans lead the biennial golf rivalry with the Internationals 7-1-1, losing only in 1998 at Melbourne, Australia, with a 2003 draw in South Africa.
But some US players are already looking forward to next year’s event in the wake of the Ryder Cup heartbreak.
“When you get a little disappointed, you get a little edgy. You look to the future,” Couples said. “For a lot of these players, it’s really to bounce back and start playing golf again and put that aside.
“Oddly enough two of them were actually talking about the Presidents Cup Sunday night. A couple of players were at my table and telling me, ‘The par-3s are all even numbers and the par-5s are all odd numbers, so can you give me Bubba Watson as a partner,’ just little things like that.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to lead us to victory.”
Price is already trying to capture the spirit of the European side in a squad where players are spread from the other corners of the globe, many of them based on the US tour and with little else naturally in common.
“I’m trying to figure out how we as the International Presidents Cup team can get that same buzz that the Europeans get on Sunday at The Ryder Cup,” said Price.
“That’s one of my goals — how I’m going to fire my players up and how I’m going to get them really excited and to show the passion and the zeal and that zest to play well.
“It’s not a question of beating the Americans. It’s a question of winning the Cup. That’s something that’s really important to the International team. We’ve had a tough time. So what I’m trying to figure out is how do we turn that tide.”
Price hopes to have his players get to know each other through practice rounds in the months before the Cup so they get to know each other as people.
“You can choose the pairings as thoroughly as you possibly can but it comes down I think to the spirit and the camaraderie of the team. How do I create that?” Price said.
“There are a lot of things to consider. In the end it’s about motivation. When you have team spirit and camaraderie it will push players to do things that even surprise them sometimes. I think we saw that on Sunday.”
One notion is that the 2013 event will be staged at Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village course, the same layout where the Europeans won the Ryder Cup on US soil for the first time back in 1987.
The Internationals have never won the Presidents Cup on US soil.
“I don’t want that to happen,” Couples said.
“Our advantage really is that we are all great players but we’re just lucky enough to go what we just went through last week. That’s a pressure-packed event. I really felt like we were not going to lose and we did.
“So certainly next year I can promise you I’ll never say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let what happened at Medinah happen here,’ because that’s really not what I’m all about.
“They all know they don’t want to lose. So if I sit around and tell them we are not going to lose, I don’t want to put that word in their vocabulary.”