Taming emotions key to Ryder Cup success
Paul Lawrie recalls the emotion and pressure he felt the first time he teed it up in 1999
Published on Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 09:59AM EDT
RYDER CUP EMOTIONS: Ryder Cup week is full of emotion and pressure unlike any major tournament that these golfers will play. Paul Lawrie will be playing in his second Ryder Cup for the European squad but his first in 13 years. Lawrie made his debut at the 1999 event which became known as the “Battle at Brookline”, remembered as much for the U.S. comeback as for the boorish display of sportsmanship on the part of the Americans when it came to Justin Leonard’s crucial match against Jose Maria Olazabal.
Lawrie recently spoke with Tom English of the Scotsman about that Ryder Cup debut, giving a candid insight into what players will face come Friday morning. Lawrie was paired with Colin Montgomerie against the American duo of David Duval and Phil Mickelson. Add to that the fact that the Ryder Cup rookie was selected to hit the opening shot for the European and it was almost a little too much to handle.
“So I’m trying to get my head round things and then Monty gets a fit of the giggles. He’s on the back of the tee and he’s losing it. I’ve never seen him laugh like that before. His own nerves, his nerves for me, the guy with the pictures – he’s completely lost it. Anything but a fresh air I’d have taken. In my life I never felt like that standing over a golf ball. Since then, you hear stories of players walking down to the tee in the Ryder Cup and telling their partner that he’s to hit it. I remember some of the American boys talking about it and I think Bernhard Langer said once to his partner ‘I can’t hit it, you’ll need to hit it for me’. I think it was Langer. That’s unbelievable, isn’t it? I wished I had the brains of Bernhard Langer to pass it on to Monty because over the ball there was no positive thoughts going through my head whatsoever. I was convinced that I was going to miss. I mean, physically fresh air it. You can’t explain what it’s like.”
Lawrie goes on to say that he managed to survive those nerves, hitting that tee shot down the right hand side of the fairway. He and Monty would go on to win that match 3 & 2 and he would finish with a 3-1-1 record
BROMANCE BAD FOR RYDER CUP: Meanwhile, Matthew Norman of the Telegraph says the bromance which has sprung up between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods comes at the wrong time. With many anticipating a Rory-Tiger singles showdown on Sunday, Norman says the buddy-buddy feelings they’ve displayed towards one another of late threatens to ruin this Ryder Cup.
“This is the last thing the Ryder Cup devotee wants to see so close to the event. If the world No¿1 and 2 are paired in the pivotal opening singles match on Sunday week, as seems likely, it will be a grotesque betrayal of the competition’s essence if they tramp the course grinning and wisecracking. Did infantrymen on both sides endure the horrors of the War on the Shore in 1991, and the rancour occasioned by the Battle of Brookline eight years later, when the Americans invaded of the green while current European captain José María Olazábal stood over a crucial putt, so that their successors would compete in love and peace?
Golf, as all fans of PG Wodehouse’s Oldest Member stories appreciate, is not the prissy, gentlemanly pursuit of Peter Alliss’s rose-tinted babblings.
It is a vicious, murderous battle of wills, and more than ever in this biennial challenge to intercontinental machismo, there just be a healthy dollop of spite bubbling beneath the mannerly surface.”
COUPLES' B.C. CONNECTION: Canadian golf fans with a good memory might recall that British Columbia was a launch pad for Fred Couples, who last week was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The smooth-swinging, laid-back American won the 1978 B.C. Junior Boys’ Championship and the B.C. Amateur the following year.
Couples of Seattle, Wash., came north across the border to win the Junior Boys’ at Seymour Creek in North Vancouver by six strokes and the Amateur at historic Marine Drive in Vancouver by four.
He dominated the events at a time when British Columbia was rife with talented young Canadians, including Jim Rutledge and Richard Zokol.
Couples, 52, went on to a distinguished professional career that included 15 PGA Tour victories, a major title (1992 Masters) and eight Champions Tour wins. He will be formally inducted into the Hall in St. Augustine, Fla., next May.
CHECKING IN: Noted U.S. architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. recently visited Glencoe Golf and Country Club west of Calgary to check up on the renovations he’s making to its Glen Forest course.
The 28-year-old track has been closed this year during the renovation, which includes taking the length to about 7,500 yards.
“This golf course had a great spine,” Jones told the Calgary Sun. “It had great bones. From the day it was open, it had a wow factor for golfers. Like any other thing, you need to renovate a golf course or refresh it, just like you need to paint a building.”
The renovation, which is to end by next spring, has led to speculation the course might someday play host to the RBC Canadian Open. The national championship and PGA Tour event has been held in Alberta just once – in 1958, at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton.
Jones is in favour. “My feeling is the Canadian Open and the people that run it, they need to come to Calgary,” said Jones, who did the original design as well. “This is great golf country. The crowds are here. The money is here. The support is here. And the golf course, itself, is clearly up to the test.”
TAKE IT TO THE BANK: Brandt Snedeker certainly hit golf’s equivalent of the jackpot on Sunday, winning both the Tour Championship, which was worth $1.44-million, and the FedEx Cup, which carries with it a $10-million bonus. Coming into this year, Snedeker’s career earnings stood at $11,108,484. On Sunday alone, he picked up $11,440,000.
MOVING ON: It emerged over the weekend that Rory McIlroy has decided to put his house in Northern Ireland up for sale. As the world number one said, he’s hardly ever there so why keep it. The asking price for the two-story, 6,000 square foot home which includes five reception rooms, limestone floors, five en-suite bedrooms, a tennis court, four golfing greens and a driving range is said to be $3.26-million US.
McIlroy said with his worldwide golfing committments, he probably spends two weeks a year at home. And McIlroy plans to do what most 23-year-olds do when they go back home - he plans to move in with mum and dad!
"When I go back home to Northern Ireland, I'll spend time with my mom and dad, and hope they have a room for me there,” he said. “Hanging out with my parents and enjoying my mum’s home cooking is what I love most about being home, so in a funny way, it will suit me to stay with them when I am home in future!”
“Of anybody that I know, I do not need $11 million. ...This is unbelievable to be financially stable for the rest of my career. As long as I’m not an idiot, I should be fine, really. I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and Tennessee and the surrounding areas.” - Brandt Snedeker who won both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title which carries with it a $10-million bonus.
Jeff Brooke contributed to this report