Ryan Moore’s selection as the final Team USA wildcard for the 41st Ryder Cup has evoked a “fun memory” for a Lothians golfer from another transatlantic tussle.
David Inglis, who hails from Roslin and played his golf at Glencorse, beat Moore 4&3 in a head-to-head tussle in the 2003 Walker Cup.
The victory helped Great Britain & Ireland pull off a dramatic 12.5-11.5 triumph in Yorkshire that was the highlight of Inglis’s career along with winning the British Boys in 2000.
“Obviously that is a fun memory for me with the GB&I comeback on the final day and my win against him in the singles,” he told the Evening News from Chicago, where he is the head coach at Northwestern University.
“I started with a birdie at the first and we got a lot of GB&I colours on the board early, which got the crowd really into it. Ryan made birdie on 5 to square the match but, starting at the 8th I really played some great golf and birdied 8-9-11-12-13, and 14 to take control of the match.
“I was able to close it out with a solid par at 15 to win 4&3. From there I remember following Nigel Edwards’ match in and everyone going crazy when he made the monster putt on 17, essentially clinching it for GB&I.”
Thirteen years on, Moore now finds himself on the biggest team stage in golf, having secured Davis Love’s fourth and final selection after taking Rory McIlroy to four extra holes in a play-off in the Tour Championship in Atlanta last weekend.
“I knew Ryan a little from playing college golf with him in the US so for me it was a good pairing because I was familiar with him,” added Inglis. “I had played him earlier that summer in a foursomes match at the Palmer Cup at Kiawah Island and won, so I felt confident that if I played well I would have a chance to win.
“Our paths haven’t crossed since ’03 and I’m pretty sure he’s not thinking about our match or his 0-2 record at Ganton this week at Hazeltine!
“I think he was a good pick by Davis Love and obviously he’s coming off a great performance at the Tour Championship and is in good form.
“I’m not sure I like the idea of picking a player for the Ryder Cup at such short notice before it starts and that will be the biggest challenge for Ryan to get integrated in the team and prepared in just four days for his first Ryder Cup.”
Also making his debut in the event, which gets underway at Hazeltine tomorrow, is Matt Fitzpatrick, who had a short spell at Northwestern, where Inglis has just started his seventh season and is “excited” about Eric McIntosh, the Scottish Boys champion from Bruntsfield Links, joining the team next year.
“I’m looking forward to a great Ryder Cup and in particular I’m really excited for Matt to make his debut,” said the Scot. “He was at Northwestern last week practising with the team and catching up with friends.”
Europe, with Darren Clarke at the helm, head into the three-day event in Minnesota bidding for an unprecedented fourth win in a row, with the Americans pinning their hopes on the taskforce set up in the wake of a disappointing performance under Tom Watson at Gleneagles two years ago to stop the rot.
“We feel as though captain Love is putting us in a position to succeed this year,” insisted 2013 Open and Scottish Open champion Phil Mickelson as he prepares for an 11th successive appearance in the event.
THE RYDER CUP TEAMS
USA: Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, JB Holmes, Ryan Moore.
Europe: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters.
BETTER IF THE USA WIN?
Two Braid Hills Golf Range pros offer their Hazeltine views . .
Ian Young: “The Ryder Cup comes down to who’s in the mood and who can handle the occasion. Someone I think ticks both boxes is Sergio Garcia, who has the game and the “Grrrr” for this event. My head says USA; my heart says Europe. It could be better for the Ryder Cup if America win – in case they go in the “huff” – but I still think Europe will win!”
Paul Malone: “Earlier on in the season. I fancied the Americans strongly but, after the recent form of some of the European players – they’ve got the Masters champion, Open champion, Olympic champion and Fed Ex champion – I’m not so sure. For the sake of the Ryder Cup, I feel the Americans must win but come on Europe!”