News All Articles
Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood embrace natural step up as leaders in Europe’s team room

Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood embrace natural step up as leaders in Europe’s team room

Jon Rahm has encouraged Team Europe's Ryder Cup Rookies to be as open as possible and insists "there's no such thing as a stupid question", while Tommy Fleetwood says there has been a natural step-up in leadership roles within the team room.

Jon Rahm-1702066265

Rahm and Fleetwood are both set to embark on their third appearances at the biennial event when they tees it up at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club this week, having both been part of the last two editions at Le Golf National and Whistling Straits.

And while the likes of Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy still occupy the primary leadership roles within the team, it's clear from their press conferences that both Rahm and Fleetwood are also enjoying that progression.

Despite aged only 28, Rahm, who is ranked Number Three in the Official World Golf Rankings, is seen as a senior figure in the European Ryder Cup Team's dressing room and he spoke about that growing responsibility when he met with the media on Tuesday afternoon.

Rahm spoke about his experiences as a Rookie in Team Europe's victory at Le Golf National in Paris five years ago and offered advice to the four first-timers - Robert MacIntyre, Sepp Straka, Nicolai Højgaard and Ludvig Åberg - in Rome, Italy.

He said: "I always tell them it's very easy to really be in your mind and your feelings because you don't really know how to process a week like this so ask as many questions as you can from anybody.

"There's no such thing as a stupid question. Just that curiosity is going to get you somewhere. At the same time, I understand that they're here wanting to prove why they're here and make their mark as Rookies, but there's always something to learn from some of the great players.

"I don't necessarily mean golf-wise, it's just how they process, how they deal with a week like this. I think that curiosity is very, very important.

"My first Ryder Cup, I didn't ask one single question. I was about as quiet as one can be. I'm very shy and introverted by nature, so everything - the whole week - seemed a little daunting at first. And you're going into a locker room where people have been sharing for 15 to 20 years, so it's very hard - at least it was very hard for me - to fit in right away like that. A lot easier the second time, though."

Tommy Fleetwood Shane Lowry-1702356388

Tommy Fleetwood, who Team Europe Captain Luke Donald described as a future Ryder Cup Captain added: "I think it's a natural progression for everybody. I don't think anybody really has to step up in particular or talk about it or take it upon themselves to do anything different. I think it's just a natural cycle of what happens in those teams and The Ryder Cups.

"And we still have a couple of current legends in the Ryder Cup in Justin (Rose) and Rory (McIlroy), and a few of us that are hoping to follow in their footsteps and make our own legacy over the next era of Ryder Cups. Yeah, it's different but nice to see sort of the progression of what happens to guys.

"I think it's just a very, very special time and it does have an extremely unique feeling from Monday all the way through to Sunday. And still, you know, 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."

Shane Lowry, also playing in his third contest, admits that he enjoys that team room atmosphere as the Ryder Cup gives him the appetite to embrace the "environment of being around a lot of people" which he craves.

"Team sports played a big part in my whole life growing up, and I think it's where I get my competitiveness from is my dad and his brothers, my uncles," the Irishman said.

"Growing up in that environment was pretty cool, and I think a lot of it is what has got me to where I am today.

"Look, I feel like I'm just myself. I don't try to be anyone else in the team room. I don't try to be anyone else when I'm here. I just be myself, and that just happens to be what I am. I'm generally the last person to leave the team room in the evenings. That's not for any other reason other than I just like hanging out and talking.

"I just like the environment of being around a lot of people. I always have. I think if you see me, you guys come to a lot of tournaments, you see me at tournaments, I always have to have people around me. I hate being on my own, so I feel like I thrive in this environment."