Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts has 'the time of his life' on Ryder Cup debut

Nicolas Colsaerts admitted to having the time of his life after producing eight birdies and an eagle as he and Lee Westwood defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

The Belgian, making his Ryder Cup debut, was a captain's pick for the event by Jose Maria Olazabal. Colsaerts sat out the Friday morning foursomes but appeared in the fourball session to produce one of the finest maiden performances ever seen in this competition.

"It was a lot of fun," Colsaerts said. "I've never had so much fun and I want to have more. "I dreamt about this."

Unsurprisingly, then, Colsaerts ranked his first Ryder Cup round as the best of his career.

"Under the circumstances, without a doubt," he said. "When you get to play on a stage like this and you show the world

that you've got this, it has to be the best round I ever played in front of such a big stage and with everything about it.

"The 11 other guys I'm playing with, vital point, last game of the day, first day of Ryder Cup, my first, yes, this has to be the best one.

"On the 18th, when somebody like Tiger Woods looks at you and says 'Great playing man', you understand you have done something pretty good.

"I was so focused and I was having my eyes, as I call it; it felt wonderful to be able to produce and deliver on such a big stage with a lot of eyes on you and this unbelievable atmosphere. I also felt very comfortable going out there with Lee."

Colsaerts, 29, pictured right, is routinely famed for being one of the biggest hitters in professional golf but it was hit putting which worked to such devastating effect at Medinah. "It's difficult to imagine you're going to do so well, but this is what matchplay is," Colsaerts explained. "You have to hole it because you know the other guy is going to get it on top of you. So your focus gets very intense, and I'm proud that I played the best way I could.

"Just don't think I'm going to putt like this every day."

Westwood's score counted only four times in the match. Woods, who had struggled earlier in the day, rallied in the closing stretch and missed a putt on the 18th green which would have halved the match.

"I didn't play my best but Nicolas Colsaerts was brilliant to watch I must say," said Westwood. "I tried to support him whenever I could but it was one of those amazing days. We didn't just want the half, it was vital we got the win and the full point.

"It was a pleasure to watch. I tried to stay in holes and play along, but it was one of those amazing days. Nicolas will look back on that and smile.

"I had the best seat in the house for the whole thing. I don't know what he did this morning that set him off, but I've got to find it tomorrow."

Davis Love III, the United States captain, added: "Tiger played great this afternoon, but Colsaerts played unbelievable golf. "Tiger would have beaten anybody else."

Colin Montgomerie, the former European Ryder Cup player and captain, was also full of praise for Colsaerts in his current role as an analyst for Sky Sports. Montgomerie also highlighted the scale of Europe's Saturday task if they are to retain the Ryder Cup.

"It was eight Americans against one European out there today and that why it was 3-1 [in the afternoon]," Montgomerie said at the end of the day. "We were lucky to get away with 3-1 to be honest and Nicolas Colsaerts, all credit to him.

"We have just got to get in and regroup tonight, if America can do that we have got to do the same tomorrow.

"We cannot go into the singles down here, we know that ourselves and we have to win 5-3 tomorrow."

Powered by article was written by Ewan Murray at Medinah, for The Guardian on Saturday 29th September 2012 01.44 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Eugene Goh