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Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 13:44 UK

Buggy man Rhys Davies says Ryder Cup role was 'tough'

Rhys Davies
Rhys Davies is Wales' number one golfer

Wales' number one golfer Rhys Davies says it was tough not to play in Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor.

But the 25-year-old - whom captain Colin Montgomerie chose as his personal buggy driver - says it inspired and prepared him for a future playing role.

"I did find it very tough at times in the sense that I wanted to be involved directly and playing," Davies said.

Europe won 14½-13½ in a nail-biting end at the historic south Wales event

Davies failed to qualify for the 12-man European team after an impressive rookie season of a maiden victory in Morocco and five top six finishes - but Davies is convinced his backroom Ryder Cup experience is the glimpse into the future he so desperately needed.

It was quite incredible and an absolute rollercoaster

Rhys Davies

"I was helping out as much as I can but my brief was to watch and learn to prepare me for what to expect if I ever get the chance to play in a Ryder Cup," he told BBC Wales Sport.

"The experience was such an eye-opener but it has definitely inspired me to make the next European team. Being so close to the action but not being able to contribute in terms of points was tough.

"But it has given me that extra drive and determination to work on my game and put in the hours to be there next time and represent Europe in a team like the boys did at Celtic Manor.

"A lot is talked about Ryder Cup legacies and I suppose I could be legacy of 2010, although I don't think people were factoring me into benefiting from Wales' Ryder Cup. If I learn from my experience hopefully I can achieve Ryder Cup qualification."

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A Welshman has not qualified for the 12-man European team since Phil Price's memorable starring role in beating Phil Mickelson in their singles showdown at the Belfry in 2002.

The 10-year gap between then and the next match-up at Medinah, Chicago, is the longest time a Welshman has not played in a Ryder Cup - and Davies hopes to ensure that drought ends 2012 when Europe bid to defend the Samuel Ryder Trophy.

He can be bolstered by the knowledge that Montgomerie has called him a 'Ryder Cup player of the future - although Montgomerie is hoping Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal will be the next captain.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my role at Celtic Manor," added Davies.

"It sure gave me a real good taste of what this event is about and I want more."

Davies was invited into the inner-sanctum of the European locker room and had exclusive access to Europe's CB radios as Monty and his vice-captains plotted the narrow 14.5 - 13.5 win over the Americans thanks to Graeme McDowell's win 3&1 over Hunter Mahan in the final singles match.

"It was quite incredible and an absolute rollercoaster," he said. "I'm emotionally drained just watching so it'll be even tougher playing.

"I watched a lot of players very closely in lots of different ways right from how they handle the first tee and handling pressure moments as you are not just playing for yourself like in normal golf tournaments, you are doing it for a team and continent - and that is huge pressure.

"I learned about the first tee atmosphere, it was truly unique and I didn't think it would be that intense. It was similar to a football crowd but the chants were all were pro-European and respectful to the visitors.

"It was great learning from players how they kept their nerve but also how golfers played around the Ryder Cup. The most successful ones were the ones that made the fewest mistakes but threw in a few flashes of brilliance when they really needed something special.

"Lee Westwood and Luke Donald stood out for me. Their approach was composed, they made few errors, kept the ball in play, kept pressurising their opponent and added a world-class shot when they needed it."

Donald and Ian Poulter top scored for the Europeans with three points while Westwood, McDowell and Martin Kaymer contributed two-and-a-half points for Monty's men.

Kaymer enjoyed a similar unofficial backroom role to 2008 European captain Nick Faldo at Valhalla and that inspired him to his US PGA Championship triumph and his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor.

"The experience that I had two years ago certainly helped me as I knew what I had to expect," Kaymer said.

Meanwhile Davies paid tribute to the captain's strong leadership.

"[Montgomerie] made the right calls at the right times," he said.

"His vice-captains were so passionate and committed as it was as a real team including caddies, wives and groundstaff. That was what really struck home and I want to be a part of a team like that."



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see also
So can Wales really be so rainy?
05 Oct 10 |  Wales
Captain Montgomerie tips Olazabal
05 Oct 10 |  Golf
McDowell seals Cup win for Europe
04 Oct 10 |  Golf
Davies bids for Ryder inspiration
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Welsh step up Ryder Cup impact
27 Sep 10 |  Golf
Davies honour at Ryder Cup role
31 Aug 10 |  Golf
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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