GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Enigmatic French rookie Victor Dubuisson has already brought a sense of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to this week’s Ryder Cup countdown -- and it applies as much to his European team mates as it does to everyone else.
Dubuisson was catapulted on to the world stage after eclipsing the likes of Tiger Woods and Justin Rose to land his first European Tour victory at the Turkish Airlines Open in November.
The 24-year-old has continued to feature prominently on leaderboards in the U.S. and Europe since then but he rarely gives interviews and is regarded as something of a loner.
Asked by reporters on Tuesday about his early impressions of Dubuisson in the team room this week, former world number one Lee Westwood smiled before replying: ”It’s very difficult to know what to make of Victor.
“He’s quite shy. He’s quite unpredictable.”
World number five Henrik Stenson said the 40th Ryder Cup match against the United States would represent something of a learning process for Dubuisson and the rest of the European side.
“Whenever there is someone who has not played many years on tour and you might not know from before, this week is really a week that gives you that opportunity,” said the experienced Swede.
”You always feel a slightly stronger bond with the players you’ve played together with in an event like this so I‘m sure we’ll get to know him a bit more.
“I think for most of the guys on the team it’s the early stages of getting to know him as a person, off the golf course more so,” added Stenson.
The softly-spoken Dubuisson shuffled uncomfortably on his chair when he hosted a mid-morning news conference in front of the world’s media on Tuesday and acknowledged he was someone who valued his privacy.
“If I ask you something personal...you will not answer (will you?),” he said in his faltering English.
Asked if he had played any team sports when he was growing up, the bearded Dubuisson replied: ”I tried to play football but I didn’t really like it.
“I prefer sports like tennis or golf. You’re on your own and make your decision. I don’t think I could play in a collective sport.”
Dubuisson, who booked an automatic qualifying spot in Europe’s team several months ago, said he acted differently when he was away from the pressures of everyday tournament life.
”I would describe myself on the golf course as probably a quiet and humble person,“ he added. ”I think when you are at work and when you are outside with your friends, it’s very different.
“Honestly, you can ask the other players. I‘m very funny and a cool guy but on the course I‘m not shy. I just prefer to be quiet and humble.”
Dubuisson said he appreciated there was a heightened focus of attention on the 24 players involved in the hurly-burly of Ryder Cup week.
”I think the Ryder Cup is 50-50,“ he explained. ”I think what’s going on outside of the course is as important as what’s going on at the course.
”The Ryder Cup is not only playing golf, it’s all the people coming to watch us, all the attention we have around the world.
“It’s very important to manage the pressure on the course but it’s even more important to manage it outside of the course. When you arrive on the course sometimes you feel like, ‘Okay, finally I can just play’.”
Editing by Justin Palmer