2010 Ryder Cup
THERE wasn’t a Welsh player in sight, but the 2010 Ryder Cup, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, in Newport, was an event which nevertheless put Wales firmly on the golfing map.
This was the 38th time that Europe and the United States had clashed in the great showdown of golf’s superpowers and the 17th time the Ryder Cup had been staged in Britain… but it was the first time it had been entrusted to Wales.
It was played on the newly-constructed Twenty Ten course, specifically designed for the event, from October 1-4, 2010, Corey Pavin bringing his US team to south Wales as defending champions.
But it was Scot Colin Montgomerie and his team gathered together from England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland, who won the day, Europe securing a thrilling 14½-13½ victory. Later that year, BBC Sport named the Europe squad ‘Team of The Year’.
Sadly, no Welshman made the European team, but Wales still took great pride in hosting the prestigious competition, which was officially opened by Carwyn Jones, First Minister for Wales.
Not that this event was without its problems, with bad weather twice forcing play to be suspended over the four days. But the golf was edge-of-the-seat stuff with the result in doubt right down to the anchor match, which eventually saw Graeme McDowell defeat Hunter Mahan 3 & 1 to regain the Ryder Cup for Europe.
As a result of a long suspension of play on the first day due to heavy rain, the format for the rest of the competition was changed to try to bring a conclusion to the matches on Sunday. However, further heavy rain caused a delayed start on Sunday, so that the last of the revised sessions would be played on Monday.
Because of the changes, there were a number of Ryder Cup firsts. For the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup, all 24 players took part in pairing sessions at the same time in six pairings (as opposed to the usual four pairings) and in another first for the event both foursome and four-ball matches were played in the same session at the same time. It is also the first time that the competition went into a fourth day. The revised schedule consisted of four sessions as opposed to the usual five.
Although not a great advertisement for Welsh weather, the 2010 Ryder Cup did wonders to promote Wales around the world. The action was covered live domestically on Sky Sports, with daily highlights shown on the BBC, and all matches were covered live in the United States, a first for a Ryder Cup in Europe.
A concert, dubbed ‘Welcome to Wales’, was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on September 29, 2010, two days prior to the beginning of the Ryder Cup. The event replaced a planned traditional gala dinner and was introduced by celebrities and golf stars.
The concert was headlined by Lostprophets, with Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Only Men Aloud! also featuring in the 90-minute televised event. The European and US golfers appeared on stage to greet the audience. It marked Bassey’s first appearance in Wales for over five years.
Europe: Non-playing captain, Colin Mongomerie; vice-captains, Thomas Bjørn, Darren Clarke, Sergio García, Paul McGinley and José María Olazábal. Team, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari, Luke Donald, Pádraig Harrington.
USA: Non-playing captain, Corey Pavin; vice-captains, Paul Goydos, Tom Lehman, Davis Love III and Jeff Sluman. Team, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Rickie Fowler.
GOLF PROFILE: WINNING 2006 RYDER CUP CAPTAIN, IAN WOOSNAM
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