Deputy Smyth thrilled to be back in Ryder Cup fold

Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:07am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Des Smyth was shocked to be invited into the European Ryder Cup team room after an eight-year absence and now that he is back the Irishman wants to soak up every drop of excitement, he said on Wednesday.

The 61-year-old, who was last involved as a vice-captain under the triumphant Ian Woosnam at the K Club in Ireland in 2006, said he had to pinch himself when he was asked by skipper Paul McGinley to act as one of his five deputies this week.

"It's great to be here, I'm so excited," Smyth told Reuters in an interview as he accompanied world number one Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Victor Dubuisson in practice on a sun-kissed day at Gleneagles.

"It came as a big surprise when I got the call from Paul but it was a very happy surprise.

"I never imagined I would be in the team room again. I played in the Ryder Cup twice and this is my second time as a vice-captain so it's been an absolute joy."

The players were smiling and relaxed as they strolled the spectacular rolling hills of the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course but Smyth said their demeanor would change when the golf started for real in Friday's opening fourball matches.

"It's only practice today so you don't look too deep into it but watching their body language and the way they are playing, they are enjoying themselves," he said.

"It won't be like that on Friday morning," laughed Smyth. "But it's the way we want the team to be in practice.   Continued...

Ireland's Des Smyth tips his hat to the crowd after sinking a putt to save par on the 11th green n Kettering, Ohio. REUTERS/John Sommers II