Team behind the team

The stories of experts and organizers who help
the European Team and make The Ryder Cup happen

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In September, 12 golfers from Europe will assemble at Gleneagles, in Scotland, to take on their counterparts from the US. But building a winning Ryder Cup team, and hosting a successful event, involves more people than just the players. Many others provide the insight and expertise that create the conditions for success.

So, as we look forward to the 2014 Ryder Cup, EY will be meeting members of this “Team behind the team”. We will find out how they are contributing to Europe’s bid for victory and to the organization of an event that will capture the attention of sports fans around the world.

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EY Ryder cup - Andrew Jowett

Andrew Jowett

The Ryder Cup: atmosphere and anticipation

Posted: 1 September 2014

Andrew Jowett is the Head Golf Professional at Gleneagles.

Gleneagles was announced as host of The 2014 Ryder Cup before I came here. So the event has been on my mind all the time I’ve worked at Gleneagles.

Preparing for a match of this size is a bit awe-inspiring, given the audiences that it attracts in person, on television and through social media. ↓ [... more]

Paul McGinley has played here in the Johnnie Walker Championship for a number of years and has a good understanding of the golf course and the resort itself.

His team record, whether playing or being a captain or vice-captain, is phenomenal. So I think in that respect he’s got all his ducks in a row. But if he wants any local advice, I’m more than happy to help.

The European players will have a good insight into how the golf course plays. I’m sure there will be an opportunity for them to play the course before the event, just to make sure that they know exactly how it’s set up and how it’s going to play.

At the beginning of Ryder Cup week itself, my team will be running the driving range for the players.

We’re relocating the range for the actual event. We’ll use the first hole of the King’s Course as the range.

I will have a few media commitments to fulfill during the course of the week. And I’ll be assisting with any operational or logistical questions and jobs that might crop up.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to be a professional at such an iconic resort during such an exciting time. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere.

We’re exceptionally fortunate to sit within grounds that afford some of the most stunning views in the world of golf. When you combine the views with 45,000 knowledgeable spectators each day, I think the atmosphere is going to be absolutely spine-tingling.

I’ve been to a couple of Ryder Cups before. I first experienced it at The Belfry.

As a young fan at the time, I just loved every element of it. The fact that it’s a different style of event – a team match play event – gets the passion going and the juices flowing.

The atmosphere at each Ryder Cup that I’ve been to has been fantastic. And I’m looking forward to being that little bit closer to the action when it’s happening within our grounds. ↑ [... less]

EY Ryder cup - Andrew Grimstone

Andrew Grimstone

Serving the Ryder Cup team – and the individual

Posted: 28 August 2014

Andrew Grimstone is Managing Director of Level 4 Golf Ltd. Level 4 provides licensed Ryder Cup merchandise and supplies the European team with their golf bags. Andrew worked with Europe’s Captain Paul McGinley to design the bags for 2014.

Level 4 Golf has been involved with The Ryder Cup since 1997. As well as the bags, we make the matching club head covers, umbrellas, towels and headwear for the players, the caddies and the official party.

And we do a range of accessories for the players, such as pitchforks, ball markers, tees, pencils, anything that they need in the club room.
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In general, golfers don't tend to have any real influence over golf bags. It's the caddy who looks after them, and they're given a bag by their hardware sponsor.

They don't have any great experience or expertise on what's going to be best. So we offer as much advice as possible.

For example, there's a very good chance that it's going to be damp at Gleneagles, like it was at Celtic Manor. So we're going for a bag that's sturdy and will keep the water out.

Whereas at Valhalla, in 2008, there was a good chance that we were going to get good weather, so we had a lightweight nylon bag.

Our biggest challenge is the fact that there are 12 golfers in the team – and all of them are different. They have their own views about what hats they like to wear, what they don't like to wear, what a golf bag should and shouldn't do.

So for us to get accessories that satisfy everybody is a major challenge. But we do listen to everything that we hear. We have great feedback from players and caddies, and we try to be responsive.

For example, we’ll do six different fits of headwear for the team members. We need to cater to every player's personal style and preference.

So you may all see them wearing what appear to be the same white hats, but they will all be different fits. ↑ [... less]

EY Ryder cup - Roger Hawkes

Roger Hawkes

Healthy inside and outside The Ryder Cup ropes

Posted: 26 August 2014

Roger Hawkes is Chief Medical Officer of the European Tour.

I’ve been European team doctor for the last four Ryder Cups. Over this time, I’ve learned that it’s important to remember the basics.

As well as working to prevent infections, we make sure that players have diet advice, and we help them to enter the match in a fit and healthy condition.

We also pick up on local climatic conditions. For example, in Valhalla in 2008, it was very hot and humid, so we had to look out for dehydration. ↓ [... more]

Research shows that if an athlete’s hydration level drops 2%, it can lead to a 10% reduction in performance. So the relationship between dehydration and performance is clear.

At Valhalla, some of the players were sweating and losing four or five kilos in weight during a round. In addition, if you’re a high salt loser, you may become salt depleted gradually over the course of the week.

This can be crucial to the match result, when you consider that all the critical matches occur on the last day of competition.

We make sure that the players get carbohydrates soon after they finish their round. If you don’t load up on carbohydrates soon after exercising, it can take a lot longer to get your glycogen stores back up to normal.

And, if you’re playing a number of rounds over the three days, this delay may lead to reduced performance.

The Race to Dubai physio bus comes to most European Tour events. It’s got a treatment area with three physio beds, a warm-up area, a private room with diagnostic ultrasound and examination facilities, and a consultation area.

It will be stationed at Gleneagles for The Ryder Cup, and the players can use it to help them prepare for their matches. It’s an environment that allows them to have some private time, which is in short supply at a Ryder Cup.

Another part of my role is overseeing the medical provision for the crowd at the event. At Gleneagles, we’ll have three teams of fully equipped doctors and paramedics who can get about the course on buggies.

Our on-course facilities cater for minor injuries and general practice needs. We have a big medical center in the middle of the site and various posts out on the course, so we won’t need to transfer patients off site in most cases.

This is important because the medical facilities in the local area would have difficulty coping with such a large influx of people.

For about two years, we’ve been working with the local NHS, accident and emergency centers, the Red Cross, the ambulance service, the police force and local authorities to prepare contingency plans for any eventuality – from injuries that might occur from slipping over in wet weather and minor illness, right up to and including a major incident.

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EY Ryder cup - Mikhel Ruia

Mikhel Ruia

Knitting the Ryder Cup team together

Posted: 21 August 2014

Mikhel Ruia is Managing Director of Glenmuir, suppliers of shirts and knitwear to the European team.

Glenmuir has been crafting golf wear in Scotland since 1891. As a Scottish company, it’s important for us that all the knitwear is made in Scotland.

Glenmuir is a family-run firm, and our Scottish heritage is something we value highly. So with The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland, the home of golf, it’s a special year for us. ↓ [... more]

Being involved in The Ryder Cup really motivates the team at our headquarters in Lanark, Scotland. Many of our staff are going to be attending the event, given that it’s so close to home.

A lot of planning, precision and passion go into creating the team shirts and the knitwear. We are all excited to see the final output at Gleneagles – and we’ll all be rooting for the European team.

It is imperative for the Glenmuir team that we get the team shirts and knitwear just right. Every little detail counts.

It’s a lot of hard work, but it really is worth it in the end. It’s very satisfying to contribute, in our own way, to the European team and to the wider game of golf.

There is always a lot of interest in what the teams are wearing, so it’s important that we keep the designs under lock and key. It’s a very special moment when the players go out on the first tee and the uniforms are revealed.

A great bond is created when all of the players are in the team kit – and we truly believe the team clothing can inspire too.

Of all the European Ryder Cup team outfits we’ve been involved with over the last 27 years, the one that gives us the most satisfaction is the navy sweater and white shirt that the players wore at the final day in Medinah, in honor of Seve Ballesteros.

There are iconic photographs of the players kissing the Seve logo. And for us, bringing the team together in that way symbolized what The Ryder Cup is all about. To be part of that was very special.

It’s a real team effort among all the European suppliers. We support each other and get behind the team.

As suppliers, we keep each other updated, and share ideas and designs so that the players look coordinated and at their best.

There is a bit of friendly rivalry with our US counterparts, but it’s all in good spirit. There is no animosity at all.

We do wonder what the US team will be wearing, because we don’t want the teams’ clothing designs to clash on any day. The organizers cooperate to make sure that the teams don’t wear identical colors on the same day.

All of the team suppliers, whether they’re Scottish, from continental Europe or America, come together to support The Ryder Cup.

It’s a testament to the very nature of The Ryder Cup matches. Being part of this truly global sporting spectacle is a great honor for Glenmuir. And given that The Ryder Cup is in Scotland this year, it’s just that bit more special for us.

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