McDowell: US aces ‘need’ cup glory

first_img United States captain Tom Watson has repeatedly said he is looking to take down “big dogs” McIlroy and Poulter, the former being the world number one and four-time major winner and the latter earning the nickname ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ due to his heroics in the biennial contest. Poulter’s most recent heroics inspired the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, when Europe recovered from 10-6 down on the final day to claim a remarkable seventh win in the last nine contests. Press Association Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter are not the only European players with targets on their backs this week, according to Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell. “The two guys earned that reputation,” McGinley said. “They have played so well. Rory to be number one in the world and Ian Poulter with his performances in the Ryder Cup. It’s not something that we should be afraid of or embarrassed about. “I can tell you one thing, it’s a real motivating factor for both of them that they know that it’s a big focus on the Americans playing them. “I think Rory has handled the expectancy on him as world number one incredibly well. A lot of the tournaments he’s won, he’s won from a commanding position. He seems to be very comfortable when he has the favourite tag. “Ian Poulter is the same. Every Ryder Cup you go in and you question is Ian Poulter going to perform, and he does. His record is sensational (12 wins in 15 matches) and he’s very proud of it. “That’s one of the fruits of all his labours in the Ryder Cup, to have a target on him. I think Ian Poulter is relishing that. He’s relishing that fact. He likes playing the villain. “He was the guy they all wanted to bring down (in Medinah) and he went out and produced, and not only did he produce Saturday night but he went out on Sunday and produced in the singles again.” McGinley added: “I’m going to put out the team as I see fit, and whatever comments they have and whatever ideas Tom has to motivate his team, he’ll do. I’m concerned with our team and making sure we’re prepared. “I’m not targeting anybody on the American team. We know they are a very strong team one to 12 and whoever is playing this is going to be tough. We are under no illusions how strong this American team is, under no illusions whatsoever. This is going to be a tough Ryder Cup to win.” McDowell, who secured the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010, agreed with his captain’s assessment, adding: ” I couldn’t pick two better guys to handle that type of pressure. Rory’s the best player in the world and I expect him to win several points this weekend. “And Poults is just Poults, so he’ll be ready. Bring it on.” The home side are rated odds-on favourites to improve that statistic further at Gleneagles this weekend, but McDowell insists they are not acting as such and is well aware of how determined the American side are to make amends for what happened two years ago. “I think it’s an unusual scenario for the Europeans to be favourites coming into a Ryder Cup,” McDowell said. “It’s not a sort of label that we take lightly. We are very proud of the label. “We watched a video in the team room last night (Monday) which really described how far the European Tour had come, all the way back from the 1950s and ’60s and getting drummed year-in and year-out in the Ryder Cup, to the turning point with (Tony) Jacklin and Seve (Ballesteros) and everything that went on in that period when the Europeans started to realise that perhaps they could compete on the global stage and they could compete in Ryder Cups, to the present day. “We are proud of the label, but we are also very aware that this is a big Ryder Cup this week, because we do feel the need for the US team to win one. We certainly feel like they will be coming at us 100 per cent this weekend and we have to be ready for that. We are not taking them lightly. “We heard a stat last night that when both teams were solidified after the picks that their average world ranking was better than our average world ranking. It might not be the same, at this moment we might be slightly favourites again, but we are under no illusions that this team is great. “They have a lot of young blood on their team which is going to ignite that passion that we’ve always had. I think we have got targets on our back this week and we are aware of that, and we are going to be ready for it. “We are not getting sucked in by the favourite tag. We are going to play like underdogs.” European captain Paul McGinley was not quite sure what Watson meant about “targeting” opposition players in a non-contact sport, but in any case he has no concerns that McIlroy and Poulter can cope with whatever is thrown at them. last_img read more

Syracuse earns No. 2 spot in ACC preseason media poll

first_img Published on October 17, 2013 at 2:21 am Contact David: | @DBWilson2 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The days of grind-it-out, ultra-physical games with scoring in the 40s and 50s are over. The Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences are two different worlds on the hardwood.The former is first to 60. Ferocious defense and a slow tempo were hallmarks of the old Big East and made it, at times, the best conference in America. The latter is home to track meets. Up and down the floor players run, trying to outscore their opponent with defense falling by the wayside. That made the ACC the best conference in America, too.As Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame move from the Big East to the ACC, things will change for those programs.“The ACC is run-and-gun,” SU center Baye Moussa Keita said. “The Big East is like street play, street games.”The Orange took its first real step into the ACC on Wednesday at the conference’s basketball media day at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. A move to the ACC — which now doubles as the best collection of basketball teams in the country, most players say — means new opponents and new venues, but most of all a new style of play for the Orange, which was ranked No. 2 in the ACC coaches’ preseason poll behind only Duke.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe physicality of the old Big East went hand in hand with its defensive reputation — a status that Syracuse and its vaunted 2-3 zone helped contribute to.“The difference is, I think, the refs,” Pitt forward Talib Zanna said. “Our refs don’t call fouls, but the ACC — I watch a lot of ACC games — they call a lot of fouls.”During the NCAA Tournament, an Orange team that underachieved throughout the regular season rallied with the help of its stalwart defense to make a run to the Final Four. It won ugly, but so did everyone else in its old conference.The ACC, on the other hand, did it pretty. In highlight-reel fashion, with a barrage of fast breaks and 3-point shooting.When SU’s slug-it-out zone makes its ACC debut in January, the contrast will never be greater and Miami (Fla.) — Syracuse’s first conference opponent — will be in for a brand-new test.“That zone—” Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant said before shaking his head to gather himself. “I feel like it’s really going to run through the ACC a little bit. If you’re not used to that, it’s really tough.”But two years ago, the zone was more of an afterthought. It’s always the staple of the Orange’s typically elite defense, but in 2011-12 SU boasted a high-flying offense. Defense — specifically Fab Melo shot blocks — kick-started transition and a potent offense.So the ACC will be a test for SU, too, and a melding of the styles it has found itself able to play.“It’s definitely going to be different a little bit,” Keita said, “so we’ll have to get used to it.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more