Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele are among six rookies in Steve Stricker’s side at Whistling Straits and, boy, were all three impressive in their pre-match interviews.
“I think bonding with the guys is really cool and having them on your side,” said FedEx Cup winner Cantlay in expressing a sentiment that has never really come across too often in the past from US players.
“I think golf misses that so much because we're all individuals. This week I'm having dinner with DJ [Dustin Johnson] or Daniel Berger or whatever it would be.
“Having those guys on your side for a common goal lets everybody's guard down a little bit. It's a human thing. Seeing guys like that who I don't have a lot of experience being with on a real level, I think they can be more themselves with less protectiveness.”
Open champion Collin Morikawa said a poor US record in the event over the past two decades as “puzzling” but he’s not interested in the past.
“We're here and we're about the present or hopefully what the future is going to be like,” he said. “It's about this week, and hopefully we can turn that tide in our favour for however many years I'm able to play this.”
Schauffele gave a demonstration of how this set of players might actually be able to operate as a team.
“It's not,” he replied to being asked if his Olympic gold medal was in the US team room. “It's too individual. It's about the team this week, so it wasn't going to make an appearance.”
In contrast to that trio, Johnson is the old man in the home side on this occasion as he clocks up a fifth appearance at 37. “They just play better, it's not rocket science,” he said of Europe having won nine of the last 12 encounters.
“I feel like we've had tons of experience and it hasn't worked out so well, so maybe this is the recipe, young guys that maybe don't have all the memories of losing all these Ryder Cups.”