Saturday 24 March 2018

Seve's pep-talk fires up Europe

RYDER Cup great Seve Ballesteros really stirred the emotions in the European Team room as Colin Montgomerie and his players spoke to the Spanish golfing legend on Tuesday night.

Monty, ever mindful of the role Ballesteros played in reviving the Ryder Cup as a serious contest on behalf of Europe, played a blinder by arranging a phone call to Santander.

Seve, struggling with the after-effects of surgery on a brain tumour, could not attend Celtic Manor this week, but addressed the European players via speaker phone.

Said Monty: "The whole team spoke to Seve for about 10 minutes, and that was very motivational, very passionate, and also very sad to hear him, to hear the way he is.

"But still, the passion is very, very strong within Seve for us as a team and he just wishes he could be here.

"It was on a speaker phone in our team room at a quarter to seven last night. We had a team meeting and it was a very different from the usual team meeting because of the passion that was generated in that room. We had a super time together."

Gareth Edwards, the Welsh rugby legend and honorary Captain of Celtic Manor Resort, also gave a motivational speech -- "it was fantastic," said Montgomerie -- just after the call to Santander.

Meanwhile, as Monty had Captain Gareth and General Seve on call, US captain Corey Pavin went for a real live Major.

Major Dan Rooney is an F-16 fighter pilot and also a PGA of America professional.

"He's a very inspirational guy and a great patriot. I want these guys to be accountable to each other and have each other's backs. And basically, that's what happens in the military.

"It was very quiet when he was talking, everybody was paying attention, very alert," said Pavin.

And therein lies the difference between the emphasis -- subtle as it may be -- between the rival captains.

Monty wants passion as his theme and Pavin wants patriotism.

Either way, expect sparks to fly on the golf course when the Ryder Cup starts tomorrow morning.

Irish Independent

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