Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald fueled emotions in the squad room this week by reducing his players to tears, but it’s all part of the plan to prepare his stars to win the trophy back from the United States.
The tactic of relaying messages from family members in pre-season meetings has been put to good use by both sides in the past, and the Americans will no doubt have done the same with Marco Simone.
And while the videos tug at the heartstrings, they are used as a tool to boost confidence and reinforce the reasons for their presence in Rome this week.
“It’s an emotional week and even some of what’s already happened this week would make you pretty emotional,” said Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who famously said he was crying after the defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago – but not for his 2019 Open Victory or the birth of his first child.
“There are videos that are played in the team rooms in the evenings, motivational videos and it just gets a little bit off the mark.
“I won’t go into it any further, but Luke and his team have already done a great job on Monday and Tuesday this week.”
However, world number three Jon Rahm has added a little more to what they saw behind closed doors.
“I don’t know how much of it they’ll release, so this is personal for us,” he added.
“There are very few players who didn’t shed a few tears yesterday afternoon. I can say that.
“It was very family-focused (content) and the reason we are all here. If you (the media) saw it, you would feel many of the same feelings that we do.”
While family relies heavily on them for such contributions, players often look to other sources for reassurance and advice, and Rahm didn’t think twice about seeking advice from his good friend and record Ryder Cup points scorer Sergio Garcia .
His Spanish compatriot is ineligible to play because he canceled his European Tour membership after moving to LIV Golf and despite Rahm lobbying for his inclusion, calling his omission “stupid” just a few weeks ago and even taking a stab at Garcia himself had to negotiate a way. There was no turning back for the 43-year-old.
But that didn’t stop Rahm from consulting his compatriot – and former Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter, who was not considered for the same reasons – on Monday.
“I spoke to him (Garcia) and asked for advice. He showed me a lot of what I can do at whistling and of course in Paris,” added the Masters champion.
“But I talked to him a little bit and also to Poulter.
“Poulter was a little longer than last week. Sergio just yesterday.
“It won’t be easy to fill the roles that these two played on and off the golf course, but just hearing them talk about what they were thinking and feeling is obviously invaluable information.”
The dynamics within the team room often play a big role in the team’s overall success and as Europe tries to recover from its record loss in Wisconsin, Lowry said the fight for a common cause is electrifying.
“I think it’s pretty cool to be part of something bigger than yourself or anything else,” he said.
“Whistling Straits (a 19-9 loss) was tough to take but it gave me a lot of motivation to come out of it and it’s really motivating for me this week too.
“I’m looking forward to going there and hopefully picking up some points for Europe. I hope we can all do a great job and try to win the trophy back.”