Fascination Ryder Cup
Officially begun in 1927 as a contest between Great Britain and the USA, The Ryder Cup has since become one of the world's biggest sporting events.
THE RYDER CUP IS MORE THAN JUST A TEAM COMPETITION: THOUGH IT AWARDS NO MONETARY PRIZES, IT IS CONSIDERED A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO BE PART OF THE TEAM. The event was played until 1977 by teams exclusively from the USA and Great Britain, but in 1979, the two governing bodies – the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe – agreed to add European golfers to Great Britain’s team. This was the biggest change in the history of The Ryder Cup and from that point on the event took off, with legendary players like Spain’s Seve Ballesteros playing an inspirational role in Europe’s resurgence. Together with his fellow countryman, José María Olazábal, Seve came to embody the passion of The Ryder Cup. In 2012, when The Ryder Cup was played at Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Nespresso’s Golf Ambassador and European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal and his team produced one of the greatest comebacks in history, overturning a 10-6 deficit on the final day to edge a thrilling contest 14½-13½. We had the chance to meet José María to speak about his Ryder Cup experiences over the years.
José María, what makes The Ryder Cup so unique?
José María Olazábal: Well, many things, to be honest. The history, the spirit, the fact that you represent the continent and your country, as well as being a team player – that’s what makes The Ryder Cup so special. The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in the world and as a player you want to be part of it.
What are your most memorable Ryder Cup moments?
J. M. O.: There are so many but I vividly remember my very first Ryder Cup appearance in 1987. I remember how nervous I was and I had to play with my friend Seve Ballesteros. The other memory that stands out was in Brookline in 1999 when I was playing the singles on the Sunday against Justin Leonard, who made every putt that day – at least it felt that way to me. I thought I was playing well, but he made that long putt on the 17th green and the entire US team was celebrating on the green, when I hadn’t even made my putt yet. And, of course, my captaincy and the victory in 2012 in Chicago. We believed and we simply made the impossible possible. Who would have thought that we could win 8 ½ points in the Sunday single matches and beat the US team on their home territory?
You have taken part many times as a player, vice captain and, of course, captain. So can you tell us more about the roles of the captain and vice captains?
J. M. O.: As the captain, the most important job is to make everyone believe that victory is reachable. Technically speaking, he needs to be very strategic in how he puts the pairings together every single day. The right chemistry is key to success: even when you have different types of players, you have to know them and make sure they share the same attitude. It’s also very important to take some pressure off the players, to know when and how long they can spend time with the media, for example, and to keep them energised and focused. The vice captains play a supportive role in the decision-making process and the team atmosphere, as well as being additional “coaches and mentors” out on the course.
What are your thoughts about Nespresso teaming up with the Ryder Cup?
J. M. O.: Nespresso – what else? It provides fantastic taste and is driven by passion. Nothing could be better than a partnership between The Ryder Cup and the market’s leading coffee brand. It’s a perfect match. Nespresso is partnering with The Ryder Cup for the second time in Europe and is very well-recognised by both players and fans on and off the course.
THE RYDER CUP FACT & FIGURES
Nespresso is the Official Coffee Supplier to The 2014 Ryder Cup, being held 23-28 September at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.
The PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe are the governing bodies and rights-holders for The Ryder Cup in their respective territories.
The Ryder Cup is a team golf competition between Europe and the U.S.A. held every other year, alternating between the two continents.
Rules for qualification: Members of The European Tour can qualify either through The Ryder Cup European Points List (the leading four members) or through The Ryder Cup World Points List (the leading five members). In addition, Paul McGinley will choose at his discretion the remaining three members of his team (captain’s picks) following the conclusion of the Italian Open on 31 August 2014.
The format involves three days of match play competition (foursomes, fourballs and singles) played from Friday to Sunday, with a total of 28 points available.
Foursomes: Players compete in teams of two, using the same ball and taking alternate shots until the hole is completed.
Fourballs: Each player plays his own ball throughout. The hole is won by the team whose member posts the lowest score on that hole.
Singles: Players earn one point for each hole at which he has bested his opponent.
Text Susanne Gehrckens - Photography Stefan von Stengel