One would think that six defeats in eight Ryder Cup matches would leave a man battle-weary and fearful of another European mauling.
Yet Phil Mickelson insists that he and the rest of the US veterans have been rejuvenated by the enthusiasm of America’s young blood.
Take FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker, one of four rookies on Davis Love’s team alongside major winners Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson and two-times US Tour winner Jason Dufner.
Just a few hours after Ian Poulter said he’d love to “kill” his American friends in Ryder Cup combat, Snedeker took the language of violence to a new level.
“I’m very, very competitive,” the 32-year old from Nashville said. “People don’t get that, because I’m polite. But when I tee it up on Friday here, or tee it up against anybody, I’m going to try to beat their brains in as bad as I can.”
Like Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, Mickelson loves the passion that the new blood has brought to the team
“Their energy is so upbeat, positive and exciting that its infectious that it just rubs off on us,” said the 42-year old, a racing certainty to partner former US PGA winner Bradley.
“A lot of the guys that have been on the team, a number of team events, myself, Furyk, Stricker, Tiger, we’ve only won two Ryder Cups….
“We need that positive outlook, that desire to win, because our highlights, our moments that we look back on the Ryder Cup are ‘99 and ‘08, the two times that we’ve won. We want to create another memory, another special week.”
Asked how he and Woods were relishing their roles as veterans and team leaders, Mickelson emphasised the team bonding element.
“I think we have had we’ve had not much success together on the course, but I will say that as partners on the pong table, he and I are delivering,” he said. “We are serving it up, and there are not many guys that can match us on the pong table.
“Although we didn’t play well together in (Detroit) ‘04 on the golf course, put us together on that table, and we’re rocking it.”
He dismissed as “a misperception” the belief that the US team doesn’t boast the same level of camaraderie as the Europeans.
And Snedeker confirmed it, explaining that he gives Woods and Mickelson plenty of abuse.
“I just have a fun time giving people a hard time, especially guys like Phil and Tiger, some of the best guys in the world,” Snedeker said.
“I feel like sometimes they get a hall pass because they are who they are, and I want to make sure they don’t get a hall pass. And I don’t care.
“So I give them a hard time and they give it right back and I take it. I have a lot of fun with them that way.”