Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image The 2004 European Junior Ryder Cup team celebrate their victory at the Westfield Center, Ohio.

Ivan Lendl Steers Daughter to Success

Ryder Cup week gets underway with the Opening Ceremony for The Junior Ryder Cup on Sunday at The Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales.

Rod Williams, Press Officer
16 September 2006

Ryder Cup week starts on Sunday afternoon when the flags are raised at the opening ceremony for the junior version of the biennial competition, an event that offers a potential match-up between one of Britain’s brightest young golfing stars, Scotland’s Carly Booth, and Isabelle Lendl, America’s number five girl golfer and the daughter of eight-time Grand Slam tennis champion Ivan Lendl.

The 2006 Junior Ryder Cup is being held at the impressive Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, where the teenage teams from Europe and the United States will contest a series of fourballs and mixed fourballs played over two days on the Roman Road championship course, which has hosted The Celtic Manor Wales Open on The European Tour.

Each team comprises 12 players – six boys and six girls – and provides the prospect of an intriguing fourball involving Booth and Lendl.

Isabelle, aged 15, has undoubtedly inherited her father’s impressive hand-eye coordination and Ivan appears delighted that she is excelling in golf rather than tennis.

He said: “There were no golf courses in Czechoslovakia when I was growing up so I was never around golf, although I wish I had been as you never have to quit – just look at Gary Player. Don’t get me wrong though, I was more than happy with how my career turned out.”

Nowadays his attentions are focused on helping Isabelle make the most of her talent. “I stay away from the golf aspect as she has a coach who knows far more than me. What I do help her with is the preparation: I teach her how to be mentally tough; how to eat properly; and about the importance of concentration,” added Lendl, who is also a decent golfer himself and plays on professional mini tours in the US.

Carly, meanwhile, is able to draw upon a rich sporting heritage of her own as she aims to carve out a career in professional golf. The 14 year old’s father, Wallace, is a former wrestler who won silver at the Commonwealth Games in 1966, while her brother, Wallace Jnr, is an aspiring professional golfer who attends Augusta State University.

Carly’s own potential became public during the British Masters two years ago when, as a diminutive 11 year old she played with Sandy Lyle in the pro-am and won!

Within a few months Nick Faldo had signed her up to his Junior Series and her development duly quickened. The youngest ever club champion in Great Britain, she plays off plus-one and can carry the ball 260 yards with remarkable ease.

She was crowned this year’s Scottish Under 16 Girls’ Champion and finished as the highest placed Under 18 golfer in the British Ladies’ Open Stroke Play Championship – all at the age of 14.

The 2006 Junior Ryder Cup is preceded by an opening ceremony on Sunday September 17 and concluded by a closing ceremony at 5pm on Tuesday September 19, at which six-time Major Champion Nick Faldo will present the trophy to the winners.

Faldo’s appearance at the event is entirely appropriate given that he will Captain the European Team for The 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, while The Celtic Manor Resort is preparing to host The 2010 Ryder Cup over its revamped Wentwood Hills course.

Ian Woosnam, who will lead Europe at The K Club next week, said: “I’d just like to wish all the talented young golfers the best of luck in the Junior Ryder Cup. It’s a great experience for them and I’m sure they will enjoy the tournament. Hopefully we can both win.”

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