Welcome to Lost on a Continent, Know Your European Ryder Cuppers, the second in a series of brief articles that aims to explain away the confusion surrounding some of Europe’s more obscure Ryder Cup talent and leave you, if not fluent in European Tour, at least able to ask for directions without offending the locals…
From: Ascot, England
European Tour Victories: 4
Ryder Cup Anonymity Factor: 4/10 (“Didn’t he take an eight at The Open once?”)
Do you know who the most consistent player at the majors in 2009 was? That the answer, Ross Fisher, should seem so unbelievable is a measure of just how far under the radar of most golf fans the Englishman travels. Who, for example, remembers that he had a two-shot lead at one point in the final round of The Open Championship at Turnberry (before a snowman ruined his card) last year? Or that he was within a shot of Lucas Glover’s lead at the US Open before a three-putt at the seventeenth proved his undoing?
Unassuming in, eh, post-round, eh, interview and visually striking only insomuch as he’s occasionally guilty of fashion crimes against taste, Fisher’s golf game, however, is something to genuinely get excited about. Ridiculously long off the tee, he plays everything with a high, pin-seeking fade. His parallel-handed putting grip can occasionally look a little dainty and fragile, but when he finds his rhythm he has in the past proven himself unafraid of chasing a low score. Especially noteworthy in the context of the Ryder Cup is the fact that he was 2009 champion of the Volvo World Matchplay.
So if Ross Fisher is so freaking awesome and his golf game is crying out for major victories (which it is), why haven’t American audiences seen an awful lot more of him? Well, for a start, there’s nothing massively telegenic about the the cloud of English middle-class inoffensiveness that hangs over almost everything about him, from his slightly pigeon-toed walk to his monumentally unremarkable post-round interviews. That, and the fact that 2009 has proven a tough act to follow. Though slight burnout (Fisher arguably played more of the 2009 silly season than he should have) and the adjustments demanded by the birth of his first child in the latter part of last year have undoubtedly played their part, 2010 has been markedly low on fireworks, a win at the 3 Irish Open in Killarney (over local favourite Padraig Harrington) being the lone highlight.
Fisher’s a pretty versatile addition to the Ryder Cup and matter-of-factly confident in a way that makes him unlikely to need much in the way of hand-holding. It’s probably that very trait that’s proven the foundation for his unlikely alliance with Ian Poulter, whom Fisher partnered to a fourth place finish at last year’s World Cup in China.
Be on guard for a slightly surprised Johnny Miller referring to Fisher as ‘sneaky long’—the guy is a monster.