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Fleetwood ready to surf the home Ryder Cup wave again

ROME - Europe's remarkable 30-year home unbeaten Ryder Cup run is often attributed to the intangibles of atmosphere and team spirit and Tommy Fleetwood says he hopes Rome this weekend will provide another hefty dose of both after the exhilaration of Paris 2018.

Fleetwood had a dream debut, winning four out of four doubles matches and hardly noticing his singles defeat as Europe surged back to claim a crushing 17-1/2 to 10-1/2 point victory.

Always chilled on and off the course, if he looked and played as if he was having the time of his life in a fabulous combination with Italy's Francesco Molinari it was because he was.

"The reaction you get, the roars that you get, the fans play a huge part in your memory," the 32-year-old Briton said on Tuesday. "So far in my career, there's nothing like playing in front of a home crowd and I know this one will be the same.

"When it's going well, you absolutely ride the wave of a home crowd and the momentum that they are creating: The cheers, the sound, the noise, that's amazing, and you know that they are there to lift you up if it's not going so well."

Fleetwood looked back to Paris when Europe struggled initially, losing the first three Friday fourballs before he and Molinari put some blue on the board by beating Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.

That first point was a real lift for the fans and the team and Fleetwood said he could feel the difference as Europe then swept the foursomes.

"That afternoon felt like we were just playing with the crowd and they were lifting us and we were breezing through. We just rode the wave," he said. "But that is also because of the way that the guys up ahead were playing - everybody plays a part in that."


Things did not go so smoothly at Whistling Straits in 2021 when the U.S. stormed to a record 19-9 victory, with Fleetwood claiming one point from two halved matches.

So, back on home soil - Italy is hosting the event for first time - he is determined to continue the remarkable run that has the United States trying to find an away win for the first time since The Belfry in England in 1993.

"We feel it's a massive privilege to have the responsibility of carrying the legacy of European golf in the Ryder Cup and I think we are all very aware of that," Fleetwood said. "It's always at the front of our minds when we get here.

"It's just a very, very special time and it does have an extremely unique feeling from Monday all the way through to Sunday.

"It's a week that people dream of in their careers. Everyone is together, you have such a great time, it's a very emotional time and we are all playing for each other and we all feel very, very strongly about the Ryder Cup.

"As an individual, I win nowhere near as much as I would like. But winning as a team has definitely been the highlight of my career." REUTERS