Danny Willett believes the spirit in the team room at the Ryder Cup will be second to none when the Europeans tee it up at Hazeltine in 17 days’ time.
The Englishman is finalising preparations for his first appearance in the biennial showpiece by teeing it up at this week’s Italian Open, an event he came close to winning on his debut at Golf Club Milano last year.
Willett finished just a shot out of the play-off won by Rikard Karlberg, with the Swede defeating another player set for Hazeltine in Martin Kaymer.
Masters Tournament champion Willett will be one of six rookies on the team in Minnesota but does not believe that lack of experience will prove a problem.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood were all alongside Willett in the European team that beat Asia 18½-5½ at the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM in January, and the 28 year old believes that week has brought them all closer together.
‘As any European, to make a Ryder Cup team is a very proud moment, it’s something that we all play for and we all try to do every two years and I can’t wait to get there, get on the team plane and be part of a really strong European team,’ he said.
‘It’s six rookies and six experienced guys in there, we’re all very, very close. A lot of the guys play both PGA and European Tours but when we’re in Europe we play a lot of golf with each other and I think the team spirit is going to be very, very good.
‘All the rookies that played in the EurAsia Cup are going to be at Hazeltine so I think that as a mixture is great. We all had a fantastic week there and got to know each other really well and I think it’s going to be more of the same.’
The Ryder Cup will be played in Italy in 2022 and Willett believes the game can go from strength to strength with local stars like Francesco and Edoardo Molinari and Matteo Manassero.
‘Francesco and Edoardo played at Celtic Manor and as a team they’ve been a fantastic pairing, it’s a shame not one of them is in the team this year,’ he said.
‘Those two and Matteo are great for Italian golf and I think all it needs is for those guys to get back in the Ryder Cup team and it massively helps golf in Italy.
‘Golf within Europe is very, very strong. I think you see by the strength of field here this week, it’s the best field they’ve had in over two decades and it just shows how much the guys want to come back and play in Italy. We came last year and we really enjoyed the golf course, really enjoyed the place. The schedule fits in with what I’m trying to do with my preparations for the Ryder Cup.’
‘We’re trying not to play too much golf but to play. This laid out quite nicely and allowed me to play this week and have next week off at home with the family and get some training and practice in and go to the Ryder Cup hopefully nice and fresh.’