Paul Lawrie believes Europe’s rookies have hit form again at just the right time to help claim an unprecedented fourth Ryder Cup win in a row.
Danny Willett had gone gone off the boil since becoming Masters champion in April while the likes of Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood all suffered dips as they felt pressure during the final weeks of the year-long qualifying campaign for Hazeltine.
But, in their last outing before going head-to-head with the Americans in Minnesota this week, they all gave good accounts of themselves in the Italian Open, with Willett finishing runner-up to home winner Francesco Molinari in Monza.
“Form is a big thing in the Ryder Cup and (2014 winning captain) Paul McGinley, for one, has always said that,” said Lawrie, one of Darren Clarke’s vice-captains for the 41st Ryder Cup, which tees off on Friday. “I think the Italian Open was massive for some of our players. There were a few – and I’ve been there myself, believe me – that had gone a bit off the boil so for them to have all come back into form at the same time could be huge for us.”