Medinah offers Team USA big Ryder Cup edge
By 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, fans of both the U.S. and Europe were shouting at each other and singing partisan songs throughout Medinah.
So much for the friendly Ryder Cup atmosphere.
"I know the Chicago fans are good fans," Jim Furyk said Tuesday. "I know they are loud. I know they are boisterous. I think that's what I'm expecting to hear.
"I know the European fans, even with 3,000 fans here, they can make a lot of noise. They have their soccer chants and songs. That's part of their culture as far as being heard and being loud.
"But I know that 37,000 Americans can drown out 3,000 Europeans if they want to. That's kind of what happened at Valhalla (in 2008). The (U.S. fans) let them have their fun for a while, and then when they got tired of it, they just started, 'USA, USA,' and made enough noise that you couldn't hear them anymore."
And while the home-course advantage could be huge for Team USA, another bad start on Friday could turn Medinah into a morgue.
"Our job will be to get out there, make some birdies and engage the crowd and show some emotion," Furyk said. "I think if we can do that, I think the rest of the world will find out how good the sports fans here in Chicago are."
The Europeans seem to have a pretty good notion of how loud Medinah will be over the weekend.
"I have a feeling that Chicago might be even more boisterous than Louisville (in 2008)," said Justin Rose. "There's been a year without golf here, so I just think the golf fan will enjoy coming to the Ryder Cup and turn out in numbers.
"But the Chicago sports fan, I've never been to a Bears game or a Cubs game or a White Sox game, but I do have some friends that live in the city and basically they can be walking along and if a TV is on, everyone stops to see what the score is.
"Passionate sports fans and one of the biggest and best cities in America. It's going to be a fun place to play."
Tiger Woods didn't need Michael Jordan to tell him what Chicago's like, as Woods has won even more titles here (7) than Jordan.
"This is a great sporting town to begin with, and they obviously have supported the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, you name it," Woods said, leaving out the Bears for no premeditated reason. "They just love sport, period.
"For us to come in here and be part of a U.S. team is going to add to that. I think it's going to be fun for both sides."
When the U.S. won at Valhalla in 2008, to a man the home team said the fans gave them a significant advantage.
"There's a world of difference between playing in front of your home fans and playing in front of the U.S. fans," said Team Europe's Graeme McDowell. "You know, putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off, and putts that go in this weekend will be like someone's got the silencer on.
"I remember Valhalla in 2008 … there was a very big natural amphitheater (at No. 14), and that was one of the most intimidating holes as a European. You knew when somebody birdied 14. You could hear it reverberating around the golf course."
McDowell has heard stories about the Chicago fans and he's interested in seeing just how loud it's going to be, especially around the drivable par-4 16th.
"I think (16) is going to have that same effect this week by the sound of things,'' McDowell said. "People love their sport in this part of the world, and they are going to be behind their guys.
"Our goal this week will be trying to get as much of that muted applause as we can, holing our own putts. The days of hostility — I think — are gone. We'll see, but I think our guys are very well respected over here on this side of the pond these days and I'm looking forward to it.
"It should be a lot of fun."
•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
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