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European-like Little Switzerland is backing USA as Ryder Cup hits Wisconsin

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Golf

Losenegger, who is of Swiss descent, is co-captain on No. 14, which requires him to make sure everything is running smoothly with the shift of 14 marshals working the hole at any given time.

“I keep telling everybody that it’s almost like being a pilot,” he said. “You’ve got hours and hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror.”

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, playing in his sixth Ryder Cup, conceded that because most PGA Tour players live in the U.S., this doesn’t feel like as much of an “away game” for European players as it once did.

“If anything that has evolved over the years with the Ryder Cup is the European team and the U.S. Team are probably closer than they ever have been individually,” McIlroy said. “We all spend a lot of time over here. We play predominantly on the PGA Tour. So there is a part of that.

“But still, you know you’re — there’s a sea of red everywhere here. It feels like an American Ryder Cup.”

European teammate Ian Poulter predicts 98% of fans will be rooting for the U.S. players.

“As much as we feel comfortable as a team, to know we’re underdogs, we have to play extra special this week to get the job done,” Poulter said. “It feels pretty rewarding at the end of the week if we can get it done.”

This event was supposed to happen in 2020 but was canceled because of the pandemic. That the galleries will be full this year, and there’s a relatively normal feel to the event, only heightens the excitement for the players.

“If someone is a USA fan, if someone really doesn’t like me, they’re still rooting for me to win my match,” said Patrick Cantlay, a former UCLA standout playing in his first Ryder Cup. “So that’s like one of the best parts about this format, this team golf, this event.

 

“Consequently, someone on the other side of the pond may like me and they are rooting so hard against me. So it makes the stakes feel much larger.”

Xander Schauffele, who won a gold medal at an Olympic Games devoid of spectators, said he feels especially American — in part because of the international flair of the rest of his family.

“I almost stand alone in my family,” he said. “My brother was born in Stuttgart, my dad was born in Stuttgart, my mom was born in Taiwan and grew up in Japan. I think I’m the only natural-born citizen in my family, so I can say I’m proud to be an American.”

For them, family ties matter most.

“I think my dad is just rooting for me,” Schauffele said. “I don’t think you’ll catch him saying he’s rooting for Europe at any point. But let me know if he does.”

The denizens of New Glarus happily embrace their heritage. The main street is adorned by a 12-foot-wide floral clock, a product of Swiss craftsmen. Back in 1905, a proposal was presented to the people of the town that Limburger cheese be declared legal tender for the payment of all debts.

Still, there’s no question about the rooting interests of this place. It’s all USA.

Little Switzerland doesn’t sit on the fence.

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