It’s nice to be involved in a team event again. I have always enjoyed playing on teams as it takes the emphasis off your own results; it is about doing things for your team mates. They are different type of tournaments than the regular events that we play; there is less pressure in one sense but more come the final stages as you want to win for the team. The key to these events is to enjoy them, which I find very easy. I have played in all the Seve Trophies so far; while it is not quite the same as the Ryder Cup it is still very competitive. Nobody wants to lose when they get going.
This year we are in the North of England for the tournament. We are playing Wynyard Hall Golf Course; the first thing that you notice when you arrive at this course is the big houses surrounding it. It is the home of a number of footballers and managers from Newcastle, Middlesbourgh and Sunderland. The course itself is a good test and is ideal for this format of play as there are several holes that you can make anything on. There are quite a few birdies to be made but if you are chasing them you can easily make a bogey or worse.
The build up to these events is always the hardest part for the players. We have quite a number of engagements that we must attend. As a result of these it means that you can’t really do your own thing as you would at a normal event. In some ways that is not a bad thing - for me as it keeps me from practicing! By the time that the first round comes around all the players as chomping at the bit to get going. In this event, unlike the Ryder Cup, it starts on Thursday with a round of fourballs. Friday is one round again, but foursomes, and then two rounds on Saturday. The final day is 10 singles matches and normally the most exciting day of all for viewing.
On paper people are saying that the Great Britain and Ireland team is the strongest, however as we all know nothing is won on paper. The Europeans will be trying their best to take the trophy back from us; as the underdogs they are in a good position as they have nothing to lose.
We start tomorrow with a round of fourball matches and everyone plays the first two days. I am playing with Paul in the last match against the two French players, Thomas Levet and Jean Francois Remesy. Paul and I have played several World Cup and Ryder Cup matches together so it won’t be a problem playing together and is always enjoyable. It’s not to say that we will be taking our opposition lightly, as we know that we will have to play well to win. I am looking forward to getting started.