NEW YORK (Reuters) - The three American Ryder Cup wildcard picks will all be seeking redemption when they travel to Scotland later this month, and none more so than Hunter Mahan.
The 32-year-old lost the singles match to Graeme McDowell that clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe in Wales in 2010 - a loss made more painful because Mahan duffed a chip shot at the 17th hole that effectively sealed his fate.
The memory of that moment and the subsequent journey back to the Celtic Manor clubhouse still stings four years later.
"I remember walking off that green and all the fans rushing on to Europe and Graeme and having a big party," Mahan said after being announced by captain Tom Watson as a wildcard selection on Tuesday.
"I felt like I was walking by myself for 600 yards back to the clubhouse and it's a very lonely feeling. I want to get rid of that."
Mahan has already been on a winning Ryder Cup team, in 2008, but remembers the 2010 experience more vividly. In tears at the U.S. team press conference afterwards, he struggled for words until Phil Mickelson compassionately took over the microphone.
"Winning is great but for some reason losing lingers," Mahan continued.
"It hangs with you. I think redemption is going to be a strong word amongst all the players. Europe has flat out kicked our butt the last 10 or 15 years and that's just the way it is.
"We have a great challenge ahead of us but we're extremely motivated and we have a lot to prove among each player."
Fellow wildcard pick Keegan Bradley also spoke of redemption after making his Ryder Cup debut in the defeat at Medinah two years ago.
"We've got a big majority of the guys on the team that were there. To think that I wouldn’t have a chance in Scotland would have been really tough," he said.
"When he (Watson) told me I was picked it was years of emotion that came out. It was one of the best moments of my career, because it was scary.
"We play all year for all this money and all this fame and all these amazing trophies but the Ryder Cup has such a force to it."
The other wild card selection, Webb Simpson, revealed he had received a phone call from Watson with the news in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
"It was one of the greatest phone calls I've ever gotten," said the 2012 U.S. Open champion, who was on the losing Ryder Cup team later the same year.
"It felt like we were going to win," Simpson recalled. "It was a shock Sunday afternoon.
"I'll never forget the feeling I had watching the other team celebrate. They were all smiles, laughter and having fun and we had our heads down. It wasn't a good feeling."
(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina)
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- Hunter Mahan
- Tom Watson
- Graeme McDowell