For those old enough to remember, Ryder Cups prior to the 1980s were often dispiriting affairs. Our little island band of hopefuls took on the glamorous plutocrats of American golf every couple of years, and usually got soundly beaten for their impertinence.There was the occasional surprising exception. Dai Rees' 1957 team recovered from being 3-1 down after the foursomes at Lindrick to win five of the eight singles and halve another to record the only victory post-war. Then there was Tony Jacklin, our 1969 Open Champion, who inspired Great Britain and Ireland to an epic halved contest that same year. But that was just about that. Then in 1983, Jacklin got his hands on the tiller and turned it all around. Jack Nicklaus had proposed the inclusion of Europeans to try to even up the competition. For Jacklin that meant Seve Ballesteros.Together, with Seve on the course and Jacklin doing everything possible to raise the self-esteem, the standing and the prestige of the European players - and in the process convincing them that these matches genuinely were winnable - they took the fight to the Americans with astonishing results.
"The Captain's Challenge" charts how Europe has won seven out of the last eleven contests and halved one other, and how, on just about every occasion, they have done so with teams statistically inferior to their opponents. The captain's role has been pivotal in blending twelve disparate individual talents into a highly competitive fighting force. In this book the various captains tell how they set about this demanding but fascinating task, often giving up months of their own time to ensure no stone was left unturned in pursuit of golf's ultimate team prize. Meaningful captaincy has often seemed a peculiarly British concept.Other sporting nations seem to get by just picking the appropriate number of their best players and electing the most senior to lead the way. For Europe in the Ryder Cup there has been much more to it and "The Captain's Challenge" is an in-depth look at just how the various holders of the post went about their task.
Buy The Captain's Challenge book by Bruce Critchley from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(218mm x 144mm x 26mm)
Icon Books Ltd
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
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Author Biography - Bruce Critchley
Bruce Critchley played for Great Britain and Ireland against the USA in the Walker Cup and has commentated on top golf tournaments for the last 25 years, first on the BBC and recently as the leading golf commentator on Sky, for whom he will be covering the 2008 Ryder Cup. Colin Montgomerie has been Europe's undisputed leading golfer over the last 15 years, winning the Order of Merit an unprecedented seven consecutive times.