'Team spirit was great'

'Team spirit was great'

 Peter Hanson is probably the biggest foreign attraction in the Indian Open that will kick off at the Karnataka Golf Association next Wednesday.

Apart from being a part of the successful European Team that retained the Ryder Cup where he won both his matches, Hanson has been enjoying an excellent 2012. With one victory and two top-10 finishes in majors, the Swede is reaping the benefits of a wonderful short game.

In an e-mail chat, the 35-year-old talked about the Ryder Cup and his game.
Excerpts:

You were part of the European Team that retained the Ryder Cup. Your thoughts on that unthinkable victory...

To be part of the winning Ryder Cup team at Medinah, Illinois, is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. We had so much fun on and off the golf course and it felt like the late Seve (Ballesteros) gave us a helping hand on that special Sunday.

Trailing 6-10 on Saturday, did you ever think Europe will pull off the stunning turnaround on the final day?

It was (Ian) Poulter’s five birdies on Saturday that gave us the confidence. We came off the course on Saturday with a good feeling and that was very important. We never lost hope and didn't give up. That was the key to turn the match around.

Your take on Europe’s domination of the Ryder Cup since the turn of the century...
I would say team spirit and great players. Over the last few years European golfers have dominated the world rankings with players like (Luke) Donald, (Lee) Westwood, Rory (McIlroy) and (Martin) Kaymer. If you mix that up with the energy that (Sergio) Garcia and (Ian) Poulter bring, it’s a winning concept.

Apart from the Ryder Cup, you’ve had a fantastic season so far. One victory, two top-10 finishes in two Majors and six other top-10s on the European Tour. What has been the key to your success?

I have worked very hard to improve my putting this year and it has really paid off. My win in Holland (KLM Open) and my third place at the Augusta Masters came because of brilliant short game and putting. Short game is very crucial at the top level.

From nearly withdrawing because of your son’s illness to winning the KLM Open with a sizzling 35-foot putt on the closing hole, you must have gone through a gamut of emotions. How did you manage to stay focussed?

Holland was a good example of concentrating on the right things at the right time. I managed to focus on the right things when I stood over the ball and then in between shots, I thought about my family. My wife talked me in to staying in Holland and finish the tournament, so I've got her to thank for that victory.

Finally, you went into the final round of the Masters as the leader. What went wrong?
I went a little bit defensive with my putter, that cost me the green jacket. But overall it was a great experience to finish third.

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