Ryder Cup Memories: Celtic Manor 2010
Saying the 2010 Ryder Cup was eventful would be putting it mildly.
Dramatic swings in the leaderboard, wild weather, a mid-event change to the format and a fourth day of action – the first ever Ryder Cup in Wales was unforgettable.
Europe, a dominant force in recent Ryder Cups leading up to the tournament, was hurting from a rare defeat to the USA two years previously at Valhalla.
But Colin Montgomerie’s men came up against a talented American side, led by Corey Pavin, containing stalwarts Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk as well as rising stars Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.
Celtic Manor, near Newport, was the destination for the 38th Ryder Cup and the first to be held in the Principality.
But the volatile British weather forced the tournament to carry over into Monday.
After trailing 6-4 at the end of session two, Europe battled back to lead 9.5-6.5 by the end of the third session.
The USA weren’t going to take another defeat lying down and staged their own comeback in the singles.
Mickelson brought the Americans to within one point at 13-12 with victory over Peter Hanson, and Zach Johnson’s win over Padraig Harrington levelled the scores at 13.5-13.5.
It would all come down to the final match of the tournament.
Reigning US Open champion Graeme “G-Mac” McDowell would face-off against Texan Hunter Mahan for the crown.
The Northern Irishman held his nerve to stave off the American fightback in a gripping climax.
Rookie Italian Edoardo Molinari, who twice played alongside his brother Francesco, talks Monty, shocking weather and his battle with young gun Rickie Fowler…
Describe what it was like to be selected for your first ever Ryder Cup
It was a great moment, something that I will never forget.
What was the atmosphere at Celtic Manor like?
It was unbelievable, the 1st tee was really loud and the fans were cheering us on all week despite the terrible weather.
What was your personal highlight of the tournament?
Standing on the 1st tee with Francesco in the opening foursomes.
Was there a player who was particularly helpful in giving you advice before or during the tournament?
All the players were really helpful, but I would say Padraig Harrington was the one who gave me the most advice.
What was Colin Montgomerie like as a captain?
He was great. He was always in good humour even when we were behind in the matches and he did a fantastic job.
How much of an impact did the weather have on the mindset of the players?
It was obviously not great to wait all those hours in the players’ lounge but we became even closer friends than we were before that Ryder Cup.
How did the changing format affect you?
It didn’t particularly affect us, it just made the days become even longer and more stressful.
How strong do you think that American side was in hindsight? For instance, they had some emerging players like Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson who were relative newcomers on the world golfing scene.
They had a great team, like they always do in Ryder Cups. At the time some players weren’t particularly renowned, but a few years later they fulfilled their true potential.
Was it always the plan to pair you and your brother Francesco together?
The plan was that Francesco and I would play together in the opening foursomes. After that we might have been split for the fourballs, but the change of format made it so that we also played a fourball together.
What was going through your mind going into the final singles match against Rickie Fowler with the American team making such a strong fightback?
I was simply trying to close the match but after my birdie on the 15th, Rickie birdied the rest of the holes and, unfortunately, I couldn’t make one more birdie to win the match. It was a great fightback from him.
What was your reaction when Fowler holed that 20-foot putt on the last to claim a half?
I was bitterly disappointed, but I immediately focused my attention to G-Mac, hoping that he could win his match against Mahan.
Do you still harbour ambitions to work your way into Ryder Cup contention again?
Absolutely. The last few years have been difficult with some wrist injuries but I am trying to battle my way back on to the team one day.