Justin Rose sounded a warning to Team USA's star-studded line-up as he declared that reputations mean nothing at the Ryder Cup.
Much of the talk in the build-up to this week's showdown at Le Golf National has centred on the impressive strength in depth of Jim Furyk's team, boasting three of the world's top four players, six of the last eight major winners and a resurgent Tiger Woods.
Team Europe, meanwhile, have five rookies and there are doubts over their ability to extend the continent's 25-year unbeaten run on home soil.
However, FedEx Cup winner Rose insists the Ryder Cup makes no special allowances for stature and feels Europe have just the right blend.
"I think we have a nice mix, a really, really nice mix," said the Olympic champion.
"I think some rookies can be inspirational. They can just really relish it and put points on the board, and once they get a taste for putting points on the board, they are as dangerous as anybody out there.
"We have seen many wonderful players who don't have great Ryder Cup records; I think it's important to not place too much importance on stature.
"Eighteen-hole matchplay is what it is. Anybody can win. That's why the Dell Match Play championship changed its format [from a straight knockout to a group stage] because the number one seed kept getting knocked out in the first rounds and the sponsors didn't like it.
"At the end of the day, reputations don't mean a great deal here. It's the players who find the inspiration on the day."
Rose also welcomed Thomas Bjorn's decision to make Henrik Stenson a captain's pick, having enjoyed past Ryder Cup success alongside the Swede.
"He's a fantastic guy. He's got a brilliant sense of humour," said the Englishman.
"His caddie, as well, has great relationships within the team and a great relationship with my caddie.
"If Henrik and I were to play together this week, it's not just me and him that get on really well, it's our fourball, the two caddies as well create an awesome dynamic. I think that's actually an important part of it.
"I was delighted he was going to be part of the team. There was never a doubt he was going to be part of the team.
"He's the kind of experienced player you want to have, and I think from a captain's point of view, he's one of your reliable guys out there that you need to lean on."
18 de marzo 2019
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