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  Monday, 30 September, 2002, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Tony Adamson on the Ryder Cup
BBC golf correspondent Tony Adamson was just the man to answer your questions on a thrilling Ryder Cup.


Tony joined BBC network radio in 1977, and had spells presenting Sport On 2 and Sport On 4 before going on to become one of Radio 5 Live's most familiar voices.

He has been BBC Radio's golf correspondent since 1988, bringing you all the action from the top events of the golfing calendar.

Tony will be much-missed by golf fans everywhere when he hangs up his microphone at the end of the season - but the memories of last weekend's superb Ryder Cup will be savoured for years to come.


Allister Webb, England

Tony, what a way to bow out! I'm sure all golf fans would join me in wishing you all the best for the future, but what is your favourite Ryder Cup moment of them all?

Well, that's a very difficult one as I must have seen about eight or ten! But I think Oakhill in New York back in 1995, when Ireland's Phillip Walton holed the winning putt and Europe won by a single point was very special indeed, very exciting and dramatic.

But because of the European weaknesses and the problems with injury and loss of form this year, and because the US had seven Major-winners in their team - most people were expecting it to be a damage imitation exercise by Europe, so I think this Ryder Cup was very special indeed, and probably the best of them all.


Rhodri Jeremiah, Wales

This year's Ryder Cup has to be one of the best sporting events, it was a truly remarkable spectacle. My dream is to become a sports commentator one day and I was just wondering if commentating on this year's Ryder Cup has been the highlight of your career.

There have been an awful lot of highlights! I did a lot of tennis as well, and I think broadcasting the1984 Wimbledon final between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors was probably the best tennis I have ever seen in my life.

The other moment I remember very well was the 1984 Open championship at St Andrews. Seve Ballesteros, who was undoubtedly the most exciting player I've ever seen - and that includes Tiger Woods - won, which I knew was the greatest moment in his golfing career, and I was there to see it, which was an exceptional highlight as well.

So it is very difficult to make this the highlight of my broadcasting career, but it is certainly right up there with some of the others.

And what advice would you have for Rhodri on fulfilling his dream of becoming a commentator?

Well, it is always very difficult, but it has got a lot easier to become a broadcaster, because there so many more outlets and opportunities. There are local radio stations dotted around the country - commercial radio as well as the BBC. So my advice would be to join one of those local stations, make himself known to them and go form there.

That's how I began my career, at Radio Oxford, and I think that is probably the best route to take.


Simon Porch, UK

Who do you think has been the best European Ryder Cup captain?

That's very difficult, because there have been some very good ones over the last few years. Tony Jacklin was captain for four times and he managed to win twice, tie one and just the one defeat, so Jacklin was a tremendously inspirational captain.

Bernard Gallagher captained the side three times, then there was Seve at Valderrama, he was very inspirational, he exhausted everyone with his capataincy! And Mark James at Brookline in 1999, that was a controversial year, but he will always be regarded as an inspirational captain, he got the best out of his team.

But I think out of all of them, Sam Torrance for the most inspirational captain. He had a team with a lot of weaknesses, and nobody gave them a chance of winning this year. But I think Sam was certainly the most adored captain by his team, of all of them.

Everybody enjoys Sam Torrance, he is a great character, fun to be around, and a very likeable man. He is gregarious, amusing, and passionate about his sport, and the Ryder Cup in particular.

He gave everything to motivate his team. He managed to get the best out of them and steer them to victory against all the odds, and I think to have won that match was probably the making of Sam Torrance. So I would say Sam Torrance is the best of Europe's captains, for what he did.

Have you ever seen any captain get as emotional as Sam did in the final stages of the match?

No, I don't think I have. Sam has always been very emotional. In '85, when he holed the winning putt at The Belfry, he cried an awful lot, and he was absolutely adamant that he wouldn't cry at the Belfry unless he won - and of course, when Paul McGinlay holed the winning putt he wept buckets.

He does get very emotional about it, it's his Open Championship, his Major championship if you like, and I don't think anyone has got more emotional than Sam. I certainly saw Jacklin cry - I'm not sure that Bernard Gallagher ever did - and we certainly saw Seve with tears in his eyes...but Sam was the most emotional.


Ken Turner, Edinburgh

If Sam gives up, would Nick Faldo really make a good Europe captain? He never strikes me as a great team man, and listening to your Radio 5 Live golf experts at the weekend they were being very diplomatic indeed, but basically saying in code "no way Jose!"

First of all, I think Sam might be tempted, but I don't think he will actually carry on for another term. He's 50 next August and wants to play seniors golf. And I don't think he could cap the achievement of this year, so I think he will probably move over and allow Nick Faldo or possibly Bernhard Langer to take over.

As for Nick Faldo, I'm sure he would be a very different captain to Sam Torrance, although we have seen Nick Faldo in tears on a number of occasions when he has won Major championships.

I don't think he would be quite as close to his team as Sam, but I think he'd be just as passionate to win. And I think he will become captain one of these days, as I think Bernhard Langer will, and probably Ian Woosnam too, There are lots of potential captains around.


Mark Fleming, London

We all know that Tiger Woods didn't play as well as he could have at the Ryder Cup, but what did you make of his attitude? He seemed quite aloof, and isolated from most of his team-mates.

Well, it's a big question, and it has been discussed many times. Golf is an individual sport, and it is rare that we see players in team stuations. Tiger Woods is the best player in the world without any question, and he has become the greatest because he has done his own thing.

He has followed his own training schedule and preparations religiously. And when it comes to the Ryder Cup he has to shelve all that, become a team player, and train and follow a rigid routine set down by the captain of the team. It goes against what Tiger is used to, and he has to become a more public figure than he would normally.

He has to adapt more than anybody else. And because of that, I don't think he enjoys the Ryder Cup format and the shenanigans that go with it. It hasn't surprised me that he has looked a little sullen at times.

For instance, at the party afterwards, I understand that Tiger wasn't there, he'd gone off, very disappointed at the end result. And I think he was disappointed to be put out last, which meant there was every possibility he wouldn't contribute at all to the final total.

But one of these days, years down the line, Tiger will captain an American Ryder Cup team, and we will probably see a very different character. But at the moment, he is not too enamoured with how the Ryder Cup is played, and I'm not surprised about that.


Claire, London

Why aren't there more team events in golf, given the success of the Ryder Cup at captivating the world?

Well, there's really no room on the calendar to put them, and that's a sad state of affairs. But if you ask the players on the Ryder Cup teams this year, they would say they're glad about that - if they are as intense as this one, I don't think the players could cope with it! I think once every two years is good enough.

We have the Walker Cup too, every two years - between Great Britain and Ireland and the United Sates. We have the President's Cup between the US and the rest of the world. But that hasn't got the same intensity yet, it is very new.

But I think there are sufficient team matchplay events. There's the World Matchplay in England every year, which is always a magnificent event, it always stimulate people's interest. And there is the World Championship Matchplay event year, it is also a very exciting event. So I think the Ryder Cup should be every two years - simply because the nerves couldn't stand it!


Steve Rowsell, England

Towards the climax of the Ryder Cup I was fascinated to see David Duval standing and chatting to several members of the Europe team. He seemed to go out of his way to set a splendid example of sportsmanship and model behaviour.

Rob Geall, UK

Do you feel that the European team showed sufficient sportsmanship on the 18th green on Sunday, with a "green invasion" following Paul McGinley's putt?

Well, I don't see any evidence of the 'bearpit of Brookline' atmosphere of '99. I think the match was played in a very fair but highly competitive spirit. And the captains have to taka an awful lot of credit for that, as do their players. The fans, too, were fantastic, I didn''t hear a shout out of place. The reputation of the Ryder Cup has been very well restored.

As to the team running onto the green at the 18th, the difference was that the match was still very much alive at Brookline. When Justin Leonard holed that putt at the 17th, the match had not ended. Jose Maria Olazabal still had a putt to halve that hole and move on. Europe might still have won that match, and that's a very big difference.

At the Belfry, when Paul McGinlay holed that putt, that was it - the match had been decided. And I think it is perfectly understandable that the European team should start their celebrating there and then. And there wasn't any complaint about that from anyone at all.


Richard Brown, UK

Tony, isn't it time for a slight change in the rules to avoid embarrassing scenes in the "dead" matches when the cup is already won. Shouldn't all the matches left on the course be declared null and void when the match is decided?

Well, I suppose there is a point there, but none of these professionals like to finish their matches in such a weak way. I think it is understandable that they would want to complete a singles match, that might have become competitive between the two. It is only right and proper that matches should be completed and we have a proper score at the end of the day.

I think Tiger Woods, when he came up the 18th, wanted to finish. He's a professional, and it was a nice gesture by Tiger Woods to actually concede Parnevik his putt, take the half and walk off. And also, if a match does end very early, I think it is short-changing the galleries, if those matches are not allowed to continue.


Mark Lucas, UK

Tony, are the qualification rules changing for the next Ryder Cup to incorporate European players on the US Tour, as it seems ridiculous that we would have to waste a wildcard again on Sergio Garcia?

It has always been a controversial point, and we will have to wait and see. Certainly, the Americans will continue with their qualification system, where they allocate points for each win over a two-year period.

I think the Europeans look at it every year, and decide how it will be done. There's a large faction who want to keep it how it is; the only way you can earn a place on the team and qualify is to play on the Europeon tour. And Jesper Parnevik of course, for the last three times he has been in the team, he has been a captain's pick, and that has been controversial.

But we shall have to see, more and more players are moving to the US tour, and the authorities are going to have to look at it and see what can be done. I personally believe that maybe it does need to be changed, but I wouldn't want to put forward any ideas at the moment. I want to see how The Belfry and the Ryder Cup committee decide on that, before we take it on.


Stuart Rowland, UK

Tony, I would like to thank you for the majestic commentary you have provided over the years.

Well, that's very kind, thank you very much indeed. I have certainly enjoyed every single second of it.

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