EXCLUSIVE Scot revels in side’s victory over US at Walton Heath.
ANDREW COLTART has hailed the ‘adaptability’ and course management of the European team he led to glory in this year’s Palmer Cup at Walton Heath.
The two-time European Tour winner, a member of Europe’s Ryder Cup side in 1999, saw his young side claim eight-and-a-half points out of ten on the final day of the three-day tournament to win 18½-11½ and avenge last year’s defeat.
Key to their success, said Coltart, was their attitude and application in wearing down an American side that struggled to adapt to the vagaries of the Surrey host club.
“Our boys were much more multi-faceted about their games than the US lads were,” revealed the Scot. “ Their adaptability, compared to ours, wasn’t as good.
“They tried to play a typically ‘American’ style of golf, going with driver on just about every hole but our guys knew a little better than that. Sure, they made the occasional daft mistake but they didn’t lose holes cheaply.
“I’m so proud of the way they kept their patience and waited for the Americans to lose theirs. They played the course brilliantly and deserved their win.”
He added: “There were times that some of the American lads were attempting to drive greens that you’d do well to hit one time in ten and where, if you miss it, you’d be struggling to make bogey.
“Rather than accepting how golf used to be played - and, arguably, how it should be played - they tried to overpower the course. Even when 5-iron would have been enough, they were still going with driver, and that played into our hands. We just knew how to play the course better.”
Coltart also reserved some words of praise for the three Scots in his side, Jack McDonald, James Ross and Grant Forrest. All three secured vital wins for Europe at the front end of the singles matches, which gave the team much-needed momentum early on the final day.
“All three of them played some great golf,” noted Coltart. “They did themselves, Scotland and Europe proud and demonstrated the strength in depth in Scottish golf at the moment.”
The Palmer Cup has been played every year since 1997, alternating between venues in Europe and the US. This was Walton Heath’s first time hosting the competition between the best college golfers from both sides of the Atlantic and, based on this year, Coltart reckons it won’t be the last.
“The course was in impeccable condition,” he said. “It really couldn’t have been set up any better. The greens were sensational and the whole team there prepared it beautifully. It was a magnificent setting.”
Coltart also revealed that he has no plans to re-assume the captaincy for next year’s match.
“I’ve done my two years now, so I expect that’ll be that,” he said. “It has been a fantastic experience, though. It was wee Dean Robertson that got me into the job and I’m very grateful to him for that. It’s been a huge buzz and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The 2015 Palmer Cup will take place at Rich Harvest Farms, near Chicago, a former host venue for the Solheim Cup.
Despite Europe’s win this year, the US still leads the overall Palmer Cup standings, having won nine of the 18 matches so far. Europe has won eight, with the 1998 match ending in a tie.
Several high-profile players have competed in the match in years gone by, including Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson.
A trio of recent US Open champions - Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson - are also previous participants in the match.
Three Scottish courses have played host to the contest, namely the Old Course (1998), Prestwick (2006) and Glasgow Gailes (2008).