Gavin Moynihan hoping home advantage can help GB and Ireland regain Walker Cup
Published 11/09/2015 | 16:50
Ireland's Gavin Moynihan believes home advantage will be "huge" as Great Britain and Ireland seek to regain the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham this weekend.
The United States have won 35, lost eight and halved one of the previous 44 biennial contests between the top amateur players from either side of the Atlantic, although their advantage is only 7-6 since 1989.
Great Britain and Ireland have also won four of the last five contests on home soil and Moynihan, one of a record five Irish players on the 10-man team, believes the fast, dry conditions will again benefit Nigel Edwards' young side.
"Home advantage is huge this week I think because the Americans have never seen Lytham like this ever," said the 20-year-old, who is the sole survivor from the side beaten 17-9 at National Golf Links in 2013.
"It was very firm at National two years ago, but it's a different level since we got here on Monday. It was green on Monday and now it's like bronzy.
"You see the 18th, once you hit the fairway it's gone, 80, 90 yards of run. I think that's a huge thing for us as we play in it a lot. Most of the boys are members at links courses, as well.
"A lot of tournaments over here are won with two, three over par and Americans are used to shooting four, five, six under. I think that type of golf suits us and we are in a better mindset."
Edwards, who is the first person in the modern era to serve as captain three times, revealed his side had received hundreds of good-luck messages, including letters from the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke.
The 47-year-old Welshman also brought in former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley to talk to his players this week, while opposite number John Miller has learnt lessons from the United States' defeat at Gleneagles - and his own beer business.
"Without being critical of anyone in regards to the Ryder Cup, I would say that my overall takeaway was that I wanted to make this competition more fun," said Miller, who saw Phil Mickelson publicly criticise the captaincy of Tom Watson following the five-point defeat in 2014.
"I want each player to vest in the process. Each one of them has as much input as I have. Yes, there will be a hard decision or two to make, and I'll make it, but they are the ones that are doing the playing, and I'm listening to them.
"We've had pretty much consensus agreement on everything. It's not me as an autocrat saying one thing or the other.
"I observed what happened (at Gleneagles) and I took it into account. But the style that I have is the management style I have in my business. I'm a beer wholesaler and I work with my guys and we're a team.
"I listen to the guy that's on the street, the one calling on the customer, the guy stocking the shelves. I don't go in and tell him what to do. I let him tell me what he needs to do and how I can help him be better at his job. That's my philosophy in business and I haven't changed it here."
Hunter Stewart, who won all four of his matches in America's Palmer Cup victory over Europe in June, also believes he and his team-mates can learn from Europe's team spirit in their recent Ryder Cup dominance.
"You see in Ryder Cups that Europeans find guys together where one plus one equals three and they get more out of each other than they would in a normal week," the 22-year-old from Kentucky said.
"Ian Poulter is a monster in the Ryder Cup and he's a really good player, but you see things that he does there and it's incredible.
"I think Europeans embrace that idea of it being more of a team sport in this kind of competition than the Americans do. They don't get bogged down in the golf ball changes or the bad shots hit by their partners.
"Europeans just handle all that stuff better and have a great attitude and just get through it all. I think the guys on our team have the ability to do that this week."
A total of 26 points are up for grabs at Lytham, with four foursomes followed by eight singles on Saturday and another four foursomes followed by 10 singles on Sunday.