Golf Comment: Relaxation is vital but individual preparation is driven by players

Sam Torrance
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Europe’s Rory McIlroy admitted Sunday’s Tour Championship was a tournament too far
IT is just ten days to the start of the Ryder Cup and while in some senses it’s fever pitch right now, it’s also a slight lull for everyone concerned. The team is picked and everything but everything is done and we’re all just waiting now for a week on Friday now.

These are very exciting times for the 12 selected players as they have done their job and made the team. But in the build up to such a major tournament it’s very important they find some time to sit back, chill out and relax a bit because a lot of those players have been working hard.

But in terms of preparation from here on in, it really is up to the individual and what they want to do. If they’re not 100% on top of their game, for instance, that player may wish to play the week before and work on their game, putting it under pressure by trying things out on the golf course, others may not.

The Welsh Open is taking place at Celtic Manor this week and a number of European players will be involved, each probably having a slightly different agenda. The Welsh Open in itself is important but so close to Gleneagles there will of course be an inevitable heavy Ryder Cup focus.

One probable reason for Lee Westwood competing is to get acclimatised as he has been playing in America all year. Stephen Gallacher on the other hand is a machine and just loves to play. He is just so excited to be involved in the Ryder Cup for the first time.

Thomas Bjorn missed the cut at last week’s KLM Open so no doubt he will be trying to get four rounds in and just get himself ready for Gleneagles while Jamie Donaldson is another golfaholic.

On Sunday evening Rory McIlroy finished joint-second in the Tour Championship behind winner Billy Horschel, who claimed the FedEx Cup title. I entirely agree with what Rory said after the tournament when he intimated it was a tournament to far – his eighth in the previous 10 weeks.

The top players in the world never play four or five events running, they always tend to play two or three maximum and then have a week off and come back.

Many players have worked very hard at the FedEx and you could almost see that in Rory as he didn’t necessary play his best golf. But that said he still led at times in Atlanta.

The fact he came with three birdies in the last four holes to get tied second was great. He has won the money list and has had an unbelievable year but nevertheless he did look tired.

And in those circumstances when you’re not able to concentrate 100% mistakes do tend to slip in. But he was always going to have some time off before the Ryder Cup. Much better something like that happen now than at Gleneagles.