As the excitement mounts for the 2010 Ryder Cup Matches in Wales, an analysis of Colin Montgomerie’s selections….and remember for any late booker, PerryGolf has space only 5 miles from the event, click here for details;
The five candidates for the three captain’s picks for the European Ryder Cup team had cases that were so close to being equal that Colin Montgomerie could just as well have thrown darts to determine his selections. No matter which trio he picked, he couldn’t really lose—he would have been getting three very good players in any case. But he also couldn’t really win—he was …
A week ago I witnessed some of the best golf on the European Tour so far this season. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell shot 64/63 (15 under par) over the weekend and won the Wales Open by 3 shots from Welshman Rhys Davies. On the last day of the tournament the 2 players conjured up rounds of 63 and 62 respectively over the 2010 Ryder Cup Course with 62 being the new course record.
I’m not taking anything away from Graeme McDowell’s fantastic weekend display, but the fact that Rhys Davies, a rookie who has just burst onto the scene with 5 top 3 finishes in the last 2 months, shot the course record in tough conditions on the final day of a major tour event, and on the Ryder Cup course is amazing! This has put him in a great position to claim one of the places in the European Ryder Cup side when the golfing world converges on Celtic Manor in October. There is no doubt about it; Rhys is ‘the form player’ on the European Tour right now and someone who I would certainly have in my team. People have questioned if he is ready for the Ryder Cup as he is relatively inexperienced; however bear in mind that he had a glowing amateur career before turning pro and was in the Walker Cup team which was captained by one of PerryGolf’s founding directors, Colin Dalgleish. I hope Rhys keeps up the excellent form which he has shown in the first half of the season and qualifies for the Ryder Cup in a few months time. The fact that he is a Welshman will also help to draw some local fans which I’m sure will add to atmosphere.
By Gary Sheppard. Gary has been with PerryGolf for over 4 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.
I recently had the pleasure of playing the 2010 course at Celtic Manor, which is due to host the Ryder Cup later this year. What a great day it turned out to be – helped by the fact the sun was splitting the sky!
The course has been specifically designed for the tournament with many classic match play holes which begin straight from the start with a tough 465 yard par 4. The greens were slick and the fairways lush – which for April was a real treat. Many of the holes include strategically placed water hazards; no more so than the tough 14th where there is water on left and right. At only 413 yards off the back tees it doesn’t sound tough, but the landing area is so narrow that anything off line is heading for trouble.
Then follows the 15th which is very much like the famous 10th at the Belfry. It’s officially a 377 yard par 4, but, as the crow flies from tee to green, it’s a good deal shorter than that, so many of the pro’s will be pulling out the driver and going for the green. The safe play is up the left with an iron, but in the fourball…expect fireworks! I didn’t play off the back tees, so it was a bit shorter and I felt brave so had a go at the green and very nearly made it. A chip and a putt later and I’d made a birdie three. I’ll be watching with great interest come the end of September to see how many of the USA and European team members can better that!
The finishing hole will make for a grandstand finish for any matches lasting the distance. It’s a long par 5, not too dissimilar to the fantastic 17th at Valderrama with a massive water hazard directly in front of the green. The brave pros will go for it in two. The more conservative one’s will lay up and play a wedge to the green. I chose the latter and my wedge shot found the green – only for it to spin back into the water. A personally disappointing finish to a thoroughly enjoyable round; but it gave me a taste of what was in store for what will be a fantastic tournament. I know I can’t wait for it…I’m sure you can’t either.
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By Keith Baird. Keith has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.
One of the advantages of having a partner who was born just outside of Cardiff (and is a very keen golfer) is that we get away to my favourite hotel, Celtic Manor, whenever possible; Wales playing at home in the Millennium Stadium, a family birthday or anniversary is all the excuse we need.
Although the main hotel looks somewhat formidable on approach – from the huge wooden dragon sleeping in the foyer, to the menus in the restaurants – it is a delightfully Welsh experience.
My partner always enjoys a lesson with the Pro which then continues onto one of the courses while I hit the Spa! The staff all over the hotel are extremely helpful and welcoming without being obtrusive and no less so at the Spa where you can chat about your treatment, choose your products and generally get into the mood for relaxation in the sunny conservatory.
There are five restaurants in the resort…and believe me, we have tried them all! My favourite is Rafters in the 2010 Clubhouse for superb food in an informal atmosphere. But for a real treat, and if we are being joined by family, the Taste of Wales experience in The Crown Restaurant makes for a memorable evening. Designed for a table of four or more to share, this is a taster menu with suggested wines and it is a lot of fun. The intention is that you will spend the entire evening with them; from pre-dinner drinks to a nightcap… and you are in no hurry to leave!
By Yvonne Shaw. Yvonne has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is a member of our admin team.