Graeme McDowell believes that Europe must recover their “spark” in the team room if they are to win back the Ryder Cup.
The US Open champ made his debut at Valhalla in 2008 and reckons that Nick Faldo’s troops lacked the “X-Factor” as the US snatched the trophy for the first time in nine years.
Recalling his losing Ryder Cup debut, McDowell said: “Maybe we were just missing that extra spark into the team room.
“Sergio Garcia had been sick the week before. I think he’d been on antibiotics that week – I want to say that.
“Lee Westwood got dropped on the Saturday morning - a guy like that needs to be playing every game. I don’t know if we just didn’t have that X-factor in the team room. Someone to just stand up and rally the troops.
“Jose Maria Olazabal got up on the Saturday night and made a great speech when the singles line-ups came out. That was probably the first real emotional speech we had the whole week.
“I think having that extra dynamic in the team room, which we’ll certainly have with our backroom staff, really just to have that passion and get guys up for it from the word go.”
Faldo was slammed for having just one assistant and taking people like his son and DJ Spoony in the team room.
But McDowell believes new skipper Colin Montgomerie has already shown that he will make all the right moves and points to back room boys like Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Garcia as vital cogs in the European machine.
Impressed by Capt Monty so far, G-Mac said: “I think Monty is going to be very organized and is going to run a very good ship.
“He’s made a huge effort this year to make sure all the simple things have been taken care of. He’s been paying a lot of attention.
“I think about Monty sitting around locker rooms all year talking to players, understanding what’s going on out there, the in-form players, the characters, the new faces.
“He’s been very much putting himself out there, getting to know everyone and who’s playing well.
“Obviously the backroom staff is going to be a big difference this time round as well. Having guys like Thomas, Darren, Paul and, obviously Sergio as well, that’s going to be unbelievable.
“So we’re definitely a lot more organized than two years. Monty definitely has looked to see how he can improve the team and the organization.”
“I’m really excited to have another go next week. I enjoyed it so much last time, it was an amazing experience for me and the only thing missing for me was that gold cup on the flight home.