Ryder Cup legend Smyth excited by duel of the young guns

Ryder Cup legend Des Smyth reckons the stiff competition among the young golfers will help promote the game.
Ryder Cup legend Des Smyth reckons the stiff competition among the young golfers will help promote the game.

Dubai - The Irishman, who played in two Ryder Cups in 1979 and 1981, also weighed in on the upcoming Ryder Cup in Hazeltine in September.



By James Jose

Published: Thu 17 Mar 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 18 Mar 2016, 1:59 PM

 Ryder Cup legend Des Smyth said that these are exciting times for golf with a "great duel" between the young guns Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler and added that it helps promote the game.
The Irishman, who played in two Ryder Cups in 1979 and 1981, also weighed in on the upcoming Ryder Cup in Hazeltine in September.
"Rory is fantastic. There is a great duel going in between him and Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler. So, at the top of world golf, since Tiger (Woods) stepped off the stage, there's all new players coming on and are very talented. It is an exciting time for golf and I'm happy with the way golf is going," Smyth said in an exclusive chat with the Khaleej Times.
"There is a worry that not many young people are coming into the game. But with those stars promoting the game, it is very positive. Also, golf is back in the Olympics and that's an enormous stage, and that will highlight and promote the game as well.
So, from a player's point of view, we want to promote golf, we want junior golf to get stronger and we focus a lot on that back home. But, around the world, they don't focus as much as we do, So, all these big events around the world helps promote the game," he added.
American Spieth is currently ranked No.1 in the world followed by Northern Ireland's McIlroy in second and Australian Jason Day in third. US's Fowler is fifth.
The 63-year-old, who had eight wins on the European Tour, is now part of the European Senior Tour. Smyth, who was also assistant captain to Ian Woosnam in 2006 and to Paul McGinley at Gleneagles two years ago, said that though the US look strong, he backed Europe to win the Ryder Cup this year.
"The Ryder Cup is a big deal and it comes up again this year. We are on a great roll in Europe and we seem to have a tremendous grip on the event. I know the Americans are hurting and they want the trophy back. So, that is something to look forward to later on in the year," said Smyth.
Smyth, who featured in the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic back in 1989, also took a trip down memory lane and reminisced his third place finish in 1990.
"I've had many memories playing out here. I came third in the Desert Classic many years ago, I think Eamonn Darcy won it that year, another Irishman. I think I tied with Seve (Ballesteros) for third. So, that was a great memory, and as we all know, Seve was a great supporter of golf in this part of the world," he recalled.
Darcy finished 12-under for the tournament, while Smyth and Ballesteros were six shots behind.
james@khaleejtimes.com 


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