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Davies to the Manor born for Ryder Cup

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Iain Carter | 18:07 UK time, Sunday, 6 June 2010

For most players a first full season on tour is an uncertain business. You're never quite sure for which tournaments you will be eligible. Was last week's finish high enough? Is your position on the money list or the world rankings of sufficient stature? Have your agents secured you an invitation? Is it worth trying to qualify for a major?

These are the sort of questions that usually accompany a rookie year, but not for Rhys Davies. The 25-year-old from Bridgend knows where he is playing for the rest of the year and knows that he will be visiting the greatest venues in the game to contest golf's biggest prizes.

One question that remains is whether the Ryder Cup will be part of that schedule but if he continues in his current vein of form that one will be removed sooner rather than later.

Davies surged through the field in his home championship with a closing round 62 to finish runner-up to Graeme McDowell on the course that will stage this year's clash between Europe and the United States.

Of all the outstanding performances we have seen from the Welshman this season - and there have been plenty - this one stands out because it is no given that you will play at your best in front of your home fans.

There is as much danger of being inhibited by the expectation levels of your own folk as there is of being inspired by them. Davies clearly revelled in the support he received at the Celtic Manor Wales Open.

"The crowds were incredibly encouraging and very enthusiastic but they were also very knowledgeable. I was very much taken aback by how much they appreciated the good shots," Davies acknowledged.

Rhys Davies Davies, wearing a patriotic red shirt, surveys a putt during the final round of the Wales Open

What is most striking about the youngster is his maturity and composure. He played the tournament in the spotlight that goes with being a lone home hope. It was magnified by all the Ryder Cup chatter too.

You wouldn't mind a quid for every time Davies has been reminded that Colin Montgomerie would dearly love to have a Welshman in his team come October.

But Davies deflects the attention like a veteran. He knows the value of staying in the moment: "I just really enjoy contending for tournaments. I've just had another great taste of it. I gave myself a chance. Every time I play I want to give myself a chance to win with nine holes to go."

Davies has already qualified for the US Open so his next stop is Pebble Beach and it is that American major debut that now dominates the thoughts of the former East Tennessee State University scholar.

"The rest of the summer I've got nothing but fantastic tournaments on fantastic courses," he said.

It is due reward for a stunning season so far. His surge in Wales provided a second successive runner's up cheque and might have produced a second win to go with his debut victory in Morocco in March but for McDowell's weekend brilliance.

Like Davies, the Northern Ireland man has put himself in the thick of the Ryder Cup qualification race. McDowell is desperate to retain his place in the team and by playing the weekend in 15 under par has proven that he has the measure of Celtic Manor.

"It's certainly a feather in my cap if it comes down to a captain's pick," McDowell noted.

He also believes Davies, with whom he played the first two rounds, could be ready to make his debut come October. But tellingly McDowell also stressed that if he misses out it would not be the end of the world.

"I missed out at the K Club in 2006 and subjected myself to fifteen hours golf a day working with BBC 5 live, which made me all the more determined to make it into the team for Valhalla two years later," McDowell said.

"He's good enough to get on the team. The difference between me in 2006 and 2008 was that I wasn't good enough. I certainly was going to throw everything but the kitchen sink to get on the team in 2008."

McDowell can now target cementing his spot in Montgomerie's side and he will bubble with confidence heading into the biggest period of the golfing year. It begins with Pebble Beach and after that there are huge cheques to be earned at the French and Scottish Opens before arriving at St Andrews for The Open.

Davies will follow a similar schedule knowing he now has a massive opportunity to remove any doubt over the one week of uncertainty that remains in his calendar.


Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Iain,

    Great round.

    I'm sure he will keep his head on his shoulders and continue to work hard too. I think Ken Brown enjoyed watching it.

    In 2 years he'll be carving up on the PGA tour.

  • Comment number 2.

    After a barren spell, British golfers are firing again with great recent results from Rose, McDowell, Davies, Donald, Casey and McIlroy. It rather challenges the out of form Poulter, Fisher and Wilson to show what they can do this summer.

    Let's hope Davies and McDowell qualify automatically for the Ryder Cup, Luke Donald surely will. But Davies and McDowell have shown they'd be worthy Captain's picks, which will hopefully be a wake-up-call to Garcia, Stenson, Karlsson and Harrington.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think you'll find Rhys made his American major debut at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont.

  • Comment number 4.

    Barcelona_Ole I think you'll find that is a very good point, well made. I'd forgotten about Davies qualifying as an amateur and so too had the record book I consulted. Thanks.

  • Comment number 5.

    I use to play with Rhys around the junior circuit, at hasnt at all shocked us what he is doing, it was always going to be. Still usung the same putter now as he was as a junior - the magic wond,

  • Comment number 6.

    He had a good first round at Oakmont I recall then a not so good second to miss the cut.

    It's the same style of putter he used to use but not exactly the same one. It's been custom made by Ping to the same specifications and not available on the market. But I wouldnt be surprised if they launched it on the back of Rhys' success. I know some of the other pros have been asking him if they can have a go!

  • Comment number 7.

    Casey ought to think he's not a cert either............

  • Comment number 8.

    Re:5.
    Is that the Ross Davies who beat David Park to be Welsh Boys Champion?

    Everybody talks about Rhys' putting but this year his success is also built around his sand saves. Last year Package was at about 55% whereas this year he is running at about 70%. Not only does this save shots but, just as important, it keeps the momentum flowing. Unfortunately on Sunday he failed to get up and down from the bunker on 16 and then could only par his way home.

  • Comment number 9.

    Don't we think that we are getting a little carried away with Mr Davies. Sure hes in great form but lets wait and see until hes with the big boys. And to think that Casey may not make the team is nonsense... Hes in the top 10 of the OWGR. The out of form Poulter is 6TH... Was only a month or two ago that we are singing his praises! Why would players go back to a tournament(Gleneagles) that even if they win, they cant collect enough pionts to make a difference to the rankings. Monty is only blowing smoke up your proverbial if you think that he will pick someone who supported the European Tour. I think youll find that the guys playing solely out there have no status to play on the PGA Tour or Majors or WGC's.

  • Comment number 10.

    Rhys Davies has the magic touch for Ryder Cup and that is the gift of a great putting under pressure . He has a great putting stroke and a good attitude . I would not be surprised to see him in the team and don't unders estimate the Welsh connection . If it means the crowd get 10% more involved and vocal it will help everyone .

    McDowell looks good and as a partner for Rory a great partnership
    Rose and Poulter the same scenario

    The players are getting into position on both sides of the pond and I think this could be the strongest comp for years

  • Comment number 11.

    Unfortunatley not the Ross Davies who beat David Park to the welsh boys championship, but I did win the welsh school boys championship. Rhys Davies is a class act, not only got bags of talent, he is so mentally strong as I have witnessed, I think the amercians summed it up rite when Rhys was in college in the states the nick name they gave him "the package".

  • Comment number 12.

    I think if Rhys is just outside the top 9 qualifiers there may be a compelling case for him to be a pick - as long as it is not at the exclusion of an obvious heavyweight.

    We should also bear in mind that he has won all his money in the 2010 season and was playing on the challenge tour 6-8 months ago when some others were earning their ryder cup points (esp Dyson & Mcgowan)

    I dont think he should be picked because he is Welsh, but I think that should be in his favour with a 50/50 selection. The lift that it would give the event would be enormous and similar to what would happen in Irealnd and Scotland.

    Being the course record holder should also be in his favour.

  • Comment number 13.

    Course records mean nothing in the RC... I think you'll find that the 2010 course will be a little more difficult. Last week there was no rough around the greens or just off the fairways. it was also like putting through treacle. I think that over the next 5 weeks with 2 of the biggest ET events sandwiched between 2 majors, that we may get a better view of how Mr Davies can handle the pressure.

  • Comment number 14.

    Monty is on record as saying he will take notice of who performed well at Celtic Manor last week.

    I agree we will find out more about Rhys over the coming weeks.

    However, the signs are that he has great mental strength and thrives on the pressure of being in the mix. Unlike for example Chris Wood and Danny Willet, who seem to struggle to maintain concentration at times and often fall away.

    By any yardstick, 5 top 3 finishes (including a win) in 9 events is mighty impressive and probably makes him one of the most consistent performers on any tour at the moment.

  • Comment number 15.

    I honestly believe in team sports generally we rely on past performance. If it's past performance in the "heat" of the Ryder Cup then I think that has merits, but if you were getting good results 9 months ago but are right out of form now then it should be the hot players currently who should get picked. The Ryder cup has insufficent options for picking golfers either on Ryder Cup past paerformances or very current form.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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