Ryder Cup heroes: No. 4 – Phillip PriceMarch, 2012
The Welshman reflects on a very special singles victory in 2002
The postponement of 2001
IT was very difficult because your form is very high. Having to wait a year there will be inevitably a few players who won’t be in form, and I was one.
Without a doubt it played on my mind all year. I could see I wasn’t playing well and, being a rookie, I was more than aware the biggest week of my life was coming up.
The opening day
I WAS surprised at the whole attitude of the press, they made out that we didn’t really have a chance but everyone in the team room, and I don’t know whether Sam instigated this, never got the feeling that we were ever going to lose or that we were underdogs.
I knew the week before that I would be rested the first day so I knew when to be ready for and who I would be playing with (Price would be paired with fellow rookie Pierre Fulke).
We had a feeling that we might be paired together as we took all the money in a Ryder Cup foursomes get-together in May after going round in 11 under.
On the first day Sam said ‘I want you guys down on the 1st tee to see what the crowd would be like and to try and get a little bit prepared’.
We ended the night in the team room dancing and drinking. David Duval was with us all night and we had a brilliant time. Out first on Saturday
DARREN CLARKE had given me some words of advice, he said I would be more nervous than I had ever been so be ready for it.
That was a huge help to think that you’re not the only one. It was very nerve-wracking but I was very prepared for it as I had gone through it in my mind so many times.
Pierre hit the first shot and, from there, we played beautifully against Phil Mickelson and David Toms. We were one up after 11 and then missed a seven-footer to make that two.
I hit a few shots to the right and that made a difference and they eagled 15 and won 16 after getting up-and-down and that was that.
They made it very difficult for us and we were pushing in the end which made it tougher.
Paired with Mickelson
WE found out Saturday night. Sam, Mark James and Ian Woosnam came in all very excited about the way the draw had come out.
I think they planned it exactly in order of who was playing the best while the Americans had their big names at the bottom.
I had played very well, and I was good in practice, so I felt like I had a good chance in the singles.
My concern was less with who I was playing in the singles, but where I was playing, and I was number 11 and that is where the Ryder Cup usually comes down to.
I thought they would put me in the middle somewhere and keep me away from all of that, now it could come down to me and I wasn’t sure if I was ready.
The good thing was we had the world-class players at the top end and had a strong line-up.
I WAS one up and was standing in the hazard with him two feet from the pin at the 6th, and me halfway down the shaft of an 8-iron with the ball miles above me.
I managed to hit it to three or four feet and holed it, I was going to give him his but then thought “I’ll just have a look at it” and he missed.
He must have been a little bit startled as he then three-putted the next and for the rest of the day I was just hanging on for dear life really.
It was such a relief and you can tell from my reaction at the 16th that I was rather excited and a few swear words may have slipped out.
We ended the night in the team room dancing and drinking. David Duval was with us all night and we had a brilliant time.