Ryder Cup boost for Open star Lewis

Skipper Olaz

Thu, 15 Mar 2012

Regardless of age and experience, advice and guidance from your colleagues can be extremely valuable.

But for Tom Lewis not a lot can compare to hearing words of reassurance and encouragement from one of the true greats.

No European golfer has ever made the transition from Walker Cup to Ryder Cup in a single year, but the Welwyn youngster is an outsider for the European squad this September after taking the Silver Medal at last year’s Open before winning the Portugal Masters in just his third start as a professional.

And the 21-year-old was given a huge boost of confidence when he played alongside the man who will lead the team in their title defence in Medinah.

“I spoke to José María Olazábal in Dubai and he told me to not try too hard this season,” said Lewis, who makes his PGA Tour debut at the Transitions Championship today.

“I know for a fact there will be times when I’m trying too hard, but that’s only because I want to succeed.

“He said that if I play well and keep on doing what I’m doing then there is no reason why I can’t be there.”

But despite an incredible debut season, which ended with the Rookie of the Year crown, Lewis admits the Ryder Cup is a tough ask – especially with so many fellow Europeans on the top of their game.

“The Europeans are showing that they are the best players in the world at this time,” added Lewis.

“I’m going to have to win at least once or twice this year and compete in a few more to have any real chance of making that team.

“For me to be one of them is a long way away, so I need to really perform well in the next six months.”

Also on the young Englishman’s mind are the major championships. And again, Lewis knows his form on the course will be the key factor.

“I’ll have to play well in the next few months to guarantee my spots,” he admitted.

“I need to improve my world ranking by competing in some of the top tournaments and maybe get another win – hopefully that would push me into some of the majors.

“To play in just one or two of the majors this year will be a great experience for me, but next year there’s no reason why I can’t play in all four majors.”

“I’m disappointed I haven’t started the season as well as I wanted to, but hopefully it will make me a stronger player.”

Lewis is undoubtedly a future major champion and Ryder Cup star, but whether he can pull off an almighty shock this time around remains to be seen.

One thing is certain; he has the right attitude to succeed.

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