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Ryder Cup: Cut-above Rickie Fowler can't wait for the hair-raising action to get under way

By Phil Casey

The US team arrived in Edinburgh yesterday morning, with Rickie Fowler the focus of much attention after having the letters U-S-A shaved into his hair.

Asked what he thought of Fowler's haircut, American captain Tom Watson said: "I thought it was great, terrific.

"It brings a light spirit to the team and I would not be surprised if Ted Bishop (PGA of America president) puts USA in his hair if it means we are going to win."

His counterpart Paul McGinley agreed, adding: "As Tom said I think that's great.

"I think it's brilliant the guy is so passionate about his country he will go and do that for the Ryder Cup."

Fowler posted a photo on Instagram with the message: "Thanks to my boys over at @youarenextbarbershop for getting me Ryder Cup ready... the week is here #RyderCup #TeamUSA #Believe" – the picture now has almost 20,000 likes.

World number one Rory McIlroy has said that Fowler could become America's talisman this weekend.

"Rickie Fowler – he could be a real talisman for the American team," said McIlroy.

"Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Phil (Mickleson) as well."

Meanwhile, European vice-captain Sam Torrance has backed his side's rookies to thrive under the pressure of the Ryder Cup and make the most of the "huge" advantage of playing at home.

Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson will make their debuts in the biennial contest at Gleneagles this week as Europe look to defend the trophy won in such dramatic fashion at Medinah in 2012.

The pressure will be unlike anything the trio have experienced before, but 2002 winning captain Torrance has full confidence that they will rise to the occasion.

"A rookie is still a rookie but they are very highly qualified, competent golfers," Torrance said.

"They're a rookie in Ryder Cup terms, but rookie is almost the wrong terminology.

"A first time Ryder Cupper would be a better way to say it because they are not rookies in any way shape or form. I have no fears for the rookies, I think they will enjoy it and revel in the atmosphere and the pressure."

And Torrance believes home advantage could be crucial in deciding the outcome, with just one point separating the teams in 2010 and 2012.

"Home advantage is huge," Torrance added.

"Take for example Man Utd. They flood the pitch virtually 20 minutes before kick-off because the ball skids across it much quicker and they think they are much fitter so it suits them.

"It's the same in the Ryder Cup. I thought Davis Love (US captain) did an incredible job at Medinah setting up the course, there wasn't a blade of rough anywhere and his long hitters were able to attack the golf course all week."

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