Ryder Cup 2012: Crowds will be fired-up warns Davis Love III

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer at the Medinah Country Club

US captain Davis Love III has warned Europe's players to expect a fiery reception from the packed home galleries as his team battle to win back the Ryder Cup.

Love, veteran of the infamously hostile crowds at Brookline 13 years ago, said: "When we travel over there, it's tough on us. When they travel over here, it's tough on them.

"Chicago is an incredible sports town and the fans are going to be fired up. The first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever seen."

The 48-year-old, who has played in six Ryder Cups and was an assistant captain to Corey Pavin in 2010, added: "I expect a lot of passion.

"If we're winning holes, it's going to get pretty loud out there. That's what home-field advantage is all about. We'll try to get the fans going loud in our favour."

Love and European captain Jose-Maria Olazabal arrived at Medinah on Monday, with their players due to begin practice rounds on Tuesday ahead of the start of competition on Friday morning.

Olazabal had only three of his 12-strong team with him on the flight to Chicago from London, with five more playing the Tour Championship in Atlanta and the remaining four all having houses in the US.

But he denied the fractured nature of the build-up would affect morale and camaraderie within the visitors' ranks.

"I don't see it as a disadvantage," he said. "We have always been a close team and we have been in touch through the phone. They are all going to be there by the time I get to the hotel today.

"It's obviously completely different to 15 years ago. Now they play over here, they are very familiar with the golf courses over here, with their opponents. They feel more comfortable about the whole situation of coming here to play the Ryder Cup.

"They realise that over the years they have been able to compete against the players here. That boosts your confidence, which is a very important thing when you're playing matchplay."

Olazabal, who played in four Ryder Cups in the US, denied that his side's successes over the past decade - the US have won only once since Brookline - made them marginal favourites this time.

"This is a new Ryder Cup," he said. "We're playing here against a very strong team, we're playing away, the crowds will be rooting for the home team really strong so we have to be prepared for that.

"I've said it all along, I think the teams are pretty much even and I think it's going to be a close match. There are no favourites."

Love came up against Olazabal five times as players in the competition and won just one of those. But he rebuffed suggestions that he has set up the Medinah course to favour his team.

"How do you get an advantage?" he asked. "We have 24 of the best players in the world. They are all pretty good at adapting to conditions.

"One thing I've never liked is rough. But the fans want to see a little excitement. They want to see birdies. We want to let these unbelievable athletes free-wheel it a little bit and just play. Medinah is such a big, long golf course and I don't think we wanted a lot of rough.

"It's still going to be tough. But without the deep rough, it saves us the chip-outs and the grinding-it-out style of golf."

It also seems likely that Olazabal's team will pay tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros by dressing in his trademark navy jumper and trousers and white polo shirt for Sunday's singles matches.

Olazabal refused to confirm the rumour but did admit: "I talked to Davis about that and he was very understanding. Seve is going to be there in our team in some way or form.

"We are going to miss him a lot. It's the first time he is not going to be with us and he was a special man."

BBC Two & BBC HD Channel Ryder Cup schedule

Friday, 28 September (all times BST)

23:59-02:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day One

Saturday 29 September

11:00-13:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day One highlights

23:59-02:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day Two

Sunday 30 September

14:00-16:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day Two highlights

23:00-01:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Highlights from Day Three

Monday 1 October

19:00-20:00 - BBC Two & BBC HD channel - Repeat of Day Three highlights


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