INTERVIEW: ’99 Ryder Cup captain Mark James

News & Tour

The former Ryder Cup captain opens up

Funniest on tour
Sam Torrance still makes me laugh, even after such a long time.

Any superstitions?
None. Some people have an awful lot. I remember playing in the Ryder Cup with Sam and he asked me if I had any superstitions. I said no and asked him the same question. He said: “No… Well,” and rattled off about three!

Dream fourball
Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus.

A CD, DVD and book for a desert island
I’d pick 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day as the CD, The Chronicals of Thomas Covenant series for my book, and Total Recall for the film, even though the ending is a bit naff. They’re doing a remake but I doubt it will be as good.

Favourite artist
I like Green Day a lot. Pop Rock is my sort of thing. I’ve listened a lot to the new Noel Gallagher album, and I tend to listen to the likes of Adele and Train. I’ve got a varied taste.

One course for the rest of your life
If I could maintain the same standard, it would be Woodhall Spa but if I got worse and worse I’d say where I’m a member now – Ilkley.

I kept feeling sick from the adrenaline. You just have to wait for it to pass though and I played very well, got one of the lowest scores that day. It wasn’t a problem – some nerves are good. Favourite food and drink
I’m a big fan of British food – fish and chips, roast chicken, shepherds pie. I like a beer or a glass of wine.

First car
Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6. I think it was 1976 as soon as I joined the tour and started doing well. My next one was a Datsun 260Z and it was absolutely beautiful. The sort of car someone who knew what they were doing bought. After that I bought a 280 but it was bastardised for the American market so it wasn’t as good. Not fast by today’s standards but a really nice car.

Most nervous you’ve been
Probably at the 1995 Ryder Cup, playing my singles against Jeff Maggert. I kept getting waves of nausea.

I was very edgy so it was a good job I was using a long putter that year. I kept feeling sick from the adrenaline. You just have to wait for it to pass though and I played very well, got one of the lowest scores that day.

It wasn’t a problem – some nerves are good. One year every time I went out I was just flat and couldn’t feel anything. I spoke to Olazabal and he said whatever happens I should just get angry and that will get everything going. A great piece of advice.

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