European captain Jose Maria Olazabal admits his side must play their best if they are to retain the Ryder Cup at Medinah
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: September 26, 2012 4:04pm
Jose Maria Olazabal has acknowledged that his European side must be at their very best if they are to retain their hold on the Ryder Cup this week.
The eagerly-anticipated biennial contest gets underway at Medinah on Friday with Europe looking to claim their fifth victory in the last six matches.
This year's renewal appears to be one of the most well-matched and highest-quality encounters in the history of the event with all 24 players from both sides ranked inside the world's top 35.
Olazabal is expecting a tight and tough affair but recognises that each and every member of his team must perform if they are to upset the Americans on home soil.
"It's going to be difficult, we're going to have to play really great golf, there is no guessing in that regard," he told Sky Sports News.
"We're going to have to go out there, play really hard, play with passion, play great golf because we're facing a huge opponent. An opponent that is very strong again, they've won the Masters and the US Open, they've done extraordinarily well this year.
"The US team is a really strong one so that's why I think we're going to have to play our best to have a chance of bringing that trophy back."
The Spaniard is also expects the home crowds to play their part with Chicago looking to offer David Love III and his American team the edge they need to reclaim the trophy.
"The crowds are going to be loud, Chicago loves its sports," Olazabal continued.
"They wanted to have the Olympics, they wanted to have the Super Bowl, finally they got the Ryder Cup and it's a huge event for them.
"I know the city is going to be behind the US team, it's going to support them all the way. They are going to be loud, but in that regard the players in the European side have the experience to know that they are going to be facing a situation like that and they cannot allow that to affect their game."
Asked what he would be saying to his players in the build-up to the match to inspire them, Olazabal added: "I'm going to talk about my experiences in the Ryder Cup and I'm going to say that from my heart, that's the way I am, and hopefully it will be good enough."
Having played in the match on seven occasions, the two-time major winner admits that guiding Europe to victory as captain would be the ideal way to cap of his career.
"To be honest it would be the icing on the cake in the sense that I've had a pretty decent career," he said. "The Ryder Cup has meant a lot to me, I do have wonderful memories, wonderful experiences.
"You know as captain you have one shot at it and that's it, so it would be fantastic to conquer that trophy and bring it back to Europe for another two years."