Ballesteros weighs in from afar
NEWPORT, Wales -- It should be no surprise that Seve Ballesteros has been inundated with requests for interviews since Colin Montgomerie's disclosure Wednesday that he had the former Ryder Cup star and captain speak to the European team by phone on Tuesday evening.
Ivan Ballesteros, one of Seve's brothers, responded via e-mail Thursday that "we have put a note from Seve in his web, so you can take bits of that article from Seve. He is receiving lots of requests for an interview, and it is not possible for him to attend everyone."
Montgomerie, the current European captain, said the exchange with the Spanish legend inspired the requisite passion in his team.
"It was good to hear from him Tuesday night for sure," Lee Westwood said. "He sounded just as passionate as he always does when talking about the Ryder Cup. He obviously is one of the legends of the game, and instrumental in taking European golf to a world audience, I think; and he did that partly through his own career, but a majority of that through all of that passion he showed in the Ryder Cups. He obviously carried that through to Valderrama when he was captain, as well."
Below are a few snippets from Seve via his webpage, SeveBallesteros.com:
"Dear friends, this week, The Ryder Cup starts. I will follow the matches and I am sure we will watch great golf during the weekend.
"I had a very exiting conversation this last Tuesday with Captain Colin Montgomerie and all the team. It was great to have a chat with all of them and talk about this week. I really felt team spirit in that conversation, and I am confident Europe will do very well this week. They are all great champions.
"I miss the competition and especially the Ryder Cup, but I will follow the matches on TV. It's not going to be easy, but the more difficult it is to win, the sweeter victory will taste."
ON COLIN MONTGOMERIE:
"I believe Colin is the best European Captain we could have this week. He has always been a true leader in and out of the course. He knows better than anyone else how to put on him all the pressure and free his players from it. He has an enormous leadership capacity and I am sure Monty will indulge, look after and instruct the European team.
ON THE U.S. TEAM:
"Tiger Woods has not been doing good this season and neither has Phil Mickelson. For the public to see the seemingly weakness of the U.S. stars could give the wrong idea that things could be easier for the Europeans. That is a mistake. This is match play and this format is where anything can happen. In 2008 Tiger was out of the competition due to an injury and the US TEAM displayed its best team spirit and not just as a sum of individualities. Corey Pavin knows about this."
ON THE ROOKIES:
"This is a Ryder Cup full of rookies. Europe has six and USA has five. Some of them like Rory McIlroy looks like he has been playing Ryder Cups ever since. At last year's Seve Trophy in France he achieved 4,5 points from 5. He is an outstanding golfer. Same goes for Martin Kaymer who has won his first big competition. From all the newly comers, I believe that the two mentioned are those who will feel the pressure less."
Westwood and (Padraig) Harrington two great players with a huge experience. They will be of vital importance to the team. Lee's recovery on the last few years is wonderful. Specially his behavior at the Majors. I have no doubt he will win majors very soon."
ON SERGIO GARCIA:
"His appointment as vice-captain reminds me of Miguel Angel Jimenez's role at my side in Valderrama in 1997. Sergio's case is a bit different given that Miguel Angel hadn't had any Ryder Cup experience before that time when he helped me at Valderrama '97. I would very much want to see Sergio as a team member this year, but in golf as in life there are ups and downs and at this point he cannot be at the course as he would liked to. Maybe the dreams, the excitement of wishing to do a teammate's shot will help him in the future."
-- *Dave Shedloski