SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France, Sep 27 – Basketball great Michael Jordan has been passing on his wisdom to help the American Ryder Cup side in their bid to win the trophy on European soil for the first time in 25 years.
The US have turned to avid golf fan Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, for advice on how to deal with vocal home fans ahead of Friday’s opening matches, which will tee off in front of an imposing 6,900-capacity grandstand.
“He talked about how he didn’t hear the crowd. It’s kind of the same thing,” three-time major champion Brooks Koepka told reporters on Thursday.
“But I think, also, too, I took that as, he couldn’t wait to shut them up, and the second he would go off… you might hear a few boos, whatever it is, but the quieter they are, you’re kind of laughing inside. You’ve done what you wanted to do, and I thought that was pretty cool.”
As a basketball player, Jordan won 13 of the 18 away games he played in NBA Finals, and showed his general sporting prowess during a brief stint in minor-league baseball.
The US Ryder Cup outfit have not won in Europe since 1993 at the Belfry, suffering a miserable run of five straight defeats.
But Rickie Fowler, who will be playing in his fourth Ryder Cup this weekend, said that he was privileged to get to spend time with Jordan.
“I’m lucky to get to spend some time with MJ back home in South Florida and play a bit of golf with him,” said the 29-year-old.
“As you can imagine, he’s very competitive… He’s special.
“He talked about, you know, the guys that he faced and who he thought were the toughest, not just as a team but the individuals that he faced and how he kind of went about home games versus away games.
“It’s just cool to hear him talk about him going to battle or going to play a big playoff game with his teammates.”