Posted: 8 February 2013
by Michael Smyth
Jesper Parnevik has told Golfmagic he would jump at the chance to captain the European Ryder Cup side one day.
The eccentric Swede accumulated six points from a possible 11 during his three Ryder Cup appearances as a player, helping Europe to a one-point victory at Valderrama in 1997 and at The Belfry in 2002.
But the 47-year-old, now fully fit after spending much of the last four years in the golfing doldrums through injury, told us he would love the opportunity to become the first man from his nation to receive the armband.
“Absolutely,” he said when we posed the question at the recent PGA Show in Orlando, where he was showing off his new Cobra Puma gear. “It would be a great honour for me. To become Ryder Cup captain is one of the greatest achievements in golf.”
The golfer they call Spaceman rose to fame in 1993 when capturing the Scottish Open by five shots over the late Payne Stewart and then rocketed to a total of four European Tour titles and five on the PGA Tour, with his last win dating back to the 2001 Honda Classic.
But it was his second Ryder Cup appearance at Brookline in 1999 alongside a fresh-faced Sergio Garcia that most people remember his impressive career-to-date.
“I have great memories of the Ryder Cup as a player, particularly at Brookline with Sergio,” he added.
“Obviously we lost to the United States in pretty dramatic circumstances at the end but I personally had a great time playing with Sergio. We played every match together and went undefeated as a team with three-and-a-half points from four.
“Sergio was like an energiser bunny that week and he got me pretty excited out there at times. I had a job to calm him down, though. The chemistry we had out there was priceless.”
Chemistry and the element of team bonding is something Parnevik clearly thrives upon - something vindicated during our recent chat with 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.
“There’s no doubt had Jesper not spoken to me before I went out to play in my singles match at The Belfry in 2002, I would not have gone on to win the Ryder Cup for Europe,” McGinley told us.
“I was worried that as I was out at No.9 nobody would be out there watching me. And I sort of felt that I was going to be worthless. I actually think there were about five people watching me by the time I reached the third hole.
“But Jesper, who had already played in two Ryder Cups at the time, sat me down before we went out there and put me straight, telling me huge crowds would be flocking to my match around the turn.
“I really valued his insight that week. He would no doubt make a great captain should he be given the chance one day.”
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