The only Scot in European colours this week is going to be calm and cool to keep a check on his boss, who he calls “a bit crackers at times”.
“He admits that himself,” says Mark Crane, the Ayrshireman who caddies for rookie Tyrrell Hatton and is in his own second Ryder Cup, having looped for Chris Wood at Hazeltine last time.
The 36-year-old built his own reputation as a cool head on the bag long before Hatton called him in May to confirm a partnership they’d spoken about the previous year. “Punk” – as he’s known to all on tour – had caddied for fellow Scots Lloyd Saltman and Richie Ramsay and then for Paul Casey and Wood before Hatton took him on.
The Englishman’s reputation as a firebrand didn’t put off Crane one bit.
“It was a good time to jump in with such a good player,” he says. “I’d been injured and unable to caddie and he called me in May asking if I wanted to start with him. I jumped at it, I knew we’d have a busy summer ahead and potentially this.
“He’s a bit crackers at times, but he just wants to win so badly that sometimes it gets the better of him. He’s not been out on tour long, he’s a young guy and he’s maturing, but what he is got him here, so you can’t take that fire out of his belly.
“He’ll be absolutely fine this week, he understands that it’s not about him as an individual but winning for the team and for Thomas. I’ve got to stay cool, and there’s no point in us both being crackers, so I try to be laid back and a calming influence on him.”
Having carried at his first Ryder Cup at Hazeltine – “I was quite cool last time, just focused on the job” – Mark thinks being home will be “a huge advantage”.
“It’s being on home soil and being at a home course we’ve been round so many times, for caddies and players,” he said.
“Having the home support is going to be massive, you feel the energy already on that first tee and it’s was only 10 per cent the other morning, everyone’s going mad. I can imagine it’ll be like that and more Friday morning.
“The course is so much firmer (at the French Open) in the summer and the rough is drier. Really, (hitting) fairways are so important this week, the rough is brutal out there.
“Hazeltine was wide open, a birdie-fest and set up to suit their guys which is fair enough, it’s home advantage, Thomas has done the same here.”
The key to winning, Crane believes, is those half points or wins gained in the final holes of a match.
“There wasn’t that big a difference at Hazeltine, there were two games lost on the Saturday afternoon which could have gone either way and could have made a four-point swing,” he said.
“My theory is you can’t ever give up. If you’re two or three down with three to play getting that half point might be crucial. You have to fight to the end because those half points are the ones really matter come Sunday night.”
The Scot has to pinch himself sometimes that as someone who started caddying at Prestwick as a teenager, he’s come to the pinnacle of the game.
“I jumped in a car to get back to the hotel last night and Rory McIlroy jumped in after me, we’re sharing pictures on our phones all the way back,” he said. “Then I get to the hotel and (Celtic major shareholder) Dermot Desmond says `hello’ to me.
“You can hardly believe it. I’m so lucky to be here, and I’ll never forget to thank the guys I worked with like Lloyd and Richie.
“The fact I am here, you definitely can’t take it for granted. At the end of the day you make your own luck, you put the hard work in, and I think I’m a very good caddie.
“I’m always working to get better and learning and I think I deserve to be here. But you have to stay humble. You might never get back.
“This could always be the last time, but hopefully not.”