Shane Lowry has backed the "next generation" of European golf to shine in the upcoming Ryder Cup team event against the United States.
Europe will be looking to regain the biennial trophy at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome from 29 September - 1 October following the United States' record 19-9 win at Whistling Straits two years ago.
Recent history is on their side given seven of the last eight Ryder Cups have been won by the home team, with Europe's 2012 'Miracle at Medinah' the exception.
But Lowry, a controversial wildcard pick for this year's edition, believes the presence of several rising stars in the European team will help offset any negative thoughts from that painful loss.
"I feel like this is almost like maybe the next generation for European golf and I think that's very exciting to see guys like Nicolai (Hojgaard) and Ludvig (Aberg) on the team and Viktor (Hovland)," said Lowry.
The Irishman, speaking two days out from the start of the defence of his BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth, southwest of London, added: "You look at Vincent Norrman winning (the Irish Open) last week, he's probably going to be on future European Ryder Cup teams.
"I think European golf is better than what people have been talking about over the last couple of years."
'PRETTY BRUTAL' ROUGH
All 12 members of the European team paid a brief visit to Italy on Monday for a practice round at the Ryder Cup venue, with the thickness of the rough attracting attention.
"It's pretty brutal in spots but just off the fairways is no different to what you might see at the US Open or something like that," said Lowry.
"If you go a decent bit off the fairways that's going to get very interesting."
Asked if players thought the rough might needed cutting back, 2019 British Open champion Lowry replied: "No. If you hit a good drive down the fairway and hit a good second shot you're on the green, that's what golf's about."
Lowry, 36, received one of Europe captain Luke Donald's six wildcard picks having finished 11th on the European points list and eighth on the world points list, with only the top three on each qualifying automatically.
Although he won the first qualifying event – the PGA Championship – he had enjoyed just one top-ten finish, at February's Honda Classic, in 2023 before finishing in a tie for third at last week's Irish Open.
Lowry, however, was adamant he felt no need "to prove anything" after gaining a Ryder Cup place ahead of Poland's Adrian Meronk, left out by Donald despite winning May's Italian Open at the Ryder Cup venue.
"I wasn't trying to finish third last week, I was trying to win the tournament," said Lowry.
He added: "This week is the same. I'm trying to win the tournament here this week. I know I deserve to be on that team and I know I'll be good in Rome in a couple weeks and I'm very excited for it."