Richardson wants Ryder Cup played in right spirit

Former Ryder Cup player Steve Richardson
Former Ryder Cup player Steve Richardson
Scott Gregory. Picture: PA Images

Gregory starting to earmark his schedule for next season

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Steve Richardson wants to see the Ryder Cup played in the right spirit – as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Arnold Palmer.

One of the finest golfers of all time died this week and sent not just supporters of the sport into mourning but people across America and beyond as well.

Palmer’s death means the three-day showdown at Hazeltine Golf Club between the United States and Europe, which starts today, will be even more emotional than usual.

That is why Richardson, who was part of the Europe side who lost on American soil in 1991, is pleading for old-fashioned values to come into play when the matches get under way.

He said there is no place for gamesmanship and that supporters should refrain from hollering when players are about to play their shots.

The Hayling Island PGA pro knows how volatile things can get on cup duty.

He was a rookie in the team that was involved in the infamous ‘War on the Shore’ at Kiawah Island in 1991.

America won back the trophy, when Bernhard Langer missed his putt on the 18th and fans stormed the green to celebrate wildly.

Richardson, who did remarkably well to win two points in the fourballs with Mark James, said: ‘I hope everything is played in the right manner this time.

‘Yes, play as hard as you can but let’s show what makes golf a great game.

‘It is about sportsmanship and fair play, especially this week.

‘Arnold Palmer was a great player and someone who seemed to enjoy mixing with other golfers.

‘I met him once when I was playing in an Asian tournament and he came into the bar and bought everyone a drink. It was a nice gesture.’

Europe are aiming for their fourth successive win and Richardson believes it will be a close-run thing over the weekend.

He said: ‘I have heard some people say we have a weak team but I don’t buy that.

‘We have major winners in Justin Rose, who also won Olympic gold, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson.

‘My only concern is how the rookies will shape it. It is a big test for them.

‘What is without question is there are incredible golfers on both sides.’

Richardson will be looking on from Scotland as he’s playing in a charity event at the Archerfield Links, where he made his European Senior Tour debut in August.

‘I am looking forward to some competition and meeting old friends,’ he added.