Peter Hanson celebrates his victory in the Czech Open to seal his Ryder Cup debut (Getty Images)
Hanson continues rich Swedish tradition
Swedes have played a crucial role in recent Ryder Cups and Peter Hanson will continue that tradition at The Celtic Manor Resort.
By Steve Todd, europeantour.com
Peter Hanson’s late run to force his way into Colin Montgomerie’s European Team means a proud Swedish tradition that has developed in recent Ryder Cups will continue at The Celtic Manor Resort.
There has been at least one Swedish player representing Europe in seven of the last eight Ryder Cups, with 2004 the only omission since Joakim Haeggman became the first in 1993.
Hanson will become the ninth Swede in total to play in The Ryder Cup, following in the footsteps of Haeggman, Per-Ulrik Johansson (1995, 1997), Jesper Parnevik (1997, 1991, 2002), Jarmo Sandelin (1999), Pierre Fulke (2002), Niclas Fasth (2002), and Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, who represented Europe in the past two Ryder Cup.
Stenson secured his place in The Ryder Cup annals when he sank the winning putt the last time the contest was held on European soil at The K Club in 2006, memorably holding his putter aloft in celebrating of his 4 & 3 victory over Vaughn Taylor to ensure Ian Woosnam’s Team retained the trophy.
Now Hanson has his own opportunity to enter Ryder Cup folklore in Wales after finishing in the ninth and final automatic qualification spot and he is fully aware of his role as the Swedish torch-bearer.
“Qualifying for the Team is a major thing and I had a lot of attention from the Swedish media who were hoping to get a Swedish player on the team, as we have had one for so many years now,” said Hanson. “The Ryder Cup is a very big thing, especially for Swedish golf now.
“We have been lucky to have Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson playing the last two and before that we had great players like Jesper Parnevik and Per-Ulrik Johansson, so there were a lot of questions asked of me being the closest player to making the team.”
The 32 year old produced a magnificent victory in the Czech Open 2010 to play his way into the Team after only deciding to travel to Eastern Europe at the last minute.
Buoyed by his eighth place finish in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and an encouraging display – putter aside – at the US PGA Championship, Hanson requested a sponsor’s invite on the Monday of the Czech Open 2010.
It proved a sage decision, as he went on to be in contention from the outset, defying jetlag to lie one shot off the pace from round one and leading after the both the second and third rounds.
He took a four stroke lead over Ryder Cup rivals Simon Dyson and Miguel Angel Jiménez into the final round but after three successive bogeys from the second hole saw that advantage quickly evaporate.
Hanson thought his chance of victory had passed when he double-bogeyed the 12th hole but a crucial birdie on the 16th meant he tied with Gary Boyd and Peter Lawrie. With his Ryder Cup place in many respects hinging on it, Hanson displayed the sort of mettle that could serve him well in Wales when he holed an 18ft birdie putt on the second extra hole to capture his second win of the season, following the Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca in May.
“It was a very special week in making a late call to try to get in and getting the invitation, and then to go win in the end was a big thrill, definitely,” he said.
With four European Tour victories to his credit and a steady improvement in both his World Ranking, which currently stands at 42, and Race to Dubai position over the past nine seasons since graduating from the European Challenge Tour, Hanson feels he is now ready to step up to the pressure cooker of The Ryder Cup.
“I have played three Seve Trophies now and I really enjoyed it,” said Hanson. “Colin was down watching the last one in France and I love match play. There's a little bit of a match-play situation in play-offs, and I've been lucky enough to win three now.
“When you stand on that tee and you know one player is going to win and one is going to lose, it's a bit of a match-play situation.”
Such a competitive mindset will ensure that Hanson is the latest in a long line of formidable Swedish Ryder Cup players when he steps on the first tee at The Celtic Manor Resort.