Welshman Jamie Donaldson feels this week’s ISPS Handa Wales Open presented by The Celtic Manor Resort will be the perfect preparation for his Ryder Cup debut, as he looks to fine-tune his game alongside his European team-mates Thomas Björn, Stephen Gallacher and Lee Westwood.
Donaldson will attempt to become the first home winner of the Wales Open in its 15th edition, and The Twenty Ten Course – venue for Europe’s victory in the last home Ryder Cup in 2010 – provides the ideal setting before attentions turn to Gleneagles next week.
He said: “I thoroughly enjoy playing in the Wales Open, so it’s a perfect tournament to play here in preparation for next week. I’m very excited for both weeks. I’m a 38 year old rookie, but I suppose you never know when you’re going to play your best golf. It’s taken time for me for one reason or another, but my time is now. I’ve played better each year building up to this to get on the team. Irrespective of how old I am, I’m ready to play. That’s just the way it’s happened and I have to keep improving from this point.”
Lee Westwood said: “The last time I played here was The Ryder Cup in 2010. It’s very different – it’s a lot drier and there’s a bit of run on the ball out there, which we didn’t have in 2010. There’s a few less people as well. Walking down the 16th and 17th, with the big hill on the side there, that was just full of a mass of people the last time I was here. So it’s nice to come back, and part of me is Welsh, so it’s nice to play the Wales Open for the first time.”
Defending champion Grégory Bourdy will attempt to become the first player to successfully defend the Wales Open title, while Paul Casey, winner of last week’s KLM Open, is also in the field.
Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com