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Pavin calls on the military for Ryder Cup preparations

US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin invites an F-16 pilot to Wales to give a motivational speech to his charges.

Corey Pavin
Corey Pavin
Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

US RYDER CUP captain Corey Pavin has enlisted the help of the military to motivate his team ahead of tomorrow’s opening of the 2010 competition at Celtic Manor.

Pavin invited Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 pilot and the founder of a fund-raising organisation called Patriot Golf Day, to Wales to give a motivational speech to his charges.

The Guardian reports Pavin defending the decision which sparked memories of the controversy during the 1991 Ryder Cup – the so-called War on the Shore – when the then player Pavin stepped on to the course at Kiawah Island wearing a camouflage baseball cap.

Pavin defended the decision to extend an invitation to Major Rooney to come and speak to the team:

I think military awareness in the United States is probably at an all-time high. And I think people, certainly in the States and over here, appreciate the military and what they do for our freedoms – I think it is worthwhile to recognise that. Major Rooney is a very inspirational guy and a great patriot.

Whilst America called in the military, European captain Colin Montgomery called on former Ryder Cup player and captain Seve Ballesteros. The legendary Spanish golfer provided a motivational and inspiring phone call to the team this week.

Although Montgomery said the call was tinged with sadness given the health of Ballesteros, who is currently recovering from operations to remove a brain tumour, the current skipper said:

It was a real inspiration, especially for the rookies in the team, to speak to Seve and have Seve speak to them. It was on a speakerphone in our team room. We were just honoured to have him, have his presence in the room. It’s always nice to not ever feel that Seve is forgotten by us or by European golf in any way, shape or form.

There’s already been plenty of back and forth in the lead up to the Ryder Cup this week with Europe’s Rory McIlroy coming under fire after his comments about world number one Tiger Woods losing his aura following his much publicised personal troubles.

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Hugh O'Connell

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