Peter peaking once again
Having contributed a valuable point towards Europe's dramatic victory over the United States at The Celtic Manor Resort in his maiden appearance in 2010, Sweden's Peter Hanson is ready and raring to go at Medinah after claiming his latest European Tour title in the Netherlands.
Peter Hanson has made something of a habit out of holing crucial putts in the build-up to Ryder Cups, and the Swede admits he would relish the chance to actually clinch the winning point for Europe in Chicago.
Hanson holed a dramatic 35ft eagle putt on the final hole of the KLM Open to capture his fifth European Tour title in his last appearance before The 2012 Ryder Cup, providing a timely confidence boost both for himself and José María Olazábal’s European Team ahead of Medinah.
The 34 year old also holed a decisive 18ft putt to clinch his previous European Tour title in a play-off at the 2010 Czech Open, on that occasion to effectively seal his Ryder Cup debut as part of Colin Montgomerie’s victorious team at The Celtic Manor Resort two years ago.
Hanson went on to win a vital point in Wales, joining forces with Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenéz to defeat Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton in the Third Session Fourballs, and he once again appears to be hitting peak form at just the right time.
With his putting ability evidently able to withstand the intense pressure, and with top ten finishes in both the Masters Tournament and US PGA Championship to his credit this season, Hanson returns to The Ryder Cup fold ready to face anything it might throw him – including standing over another daunting victory putt, just as his compatriot Henrik Stenson successfully did at The K Club in 2006.
“When it is a team event you just want to bring home the trophy, but would I like to hole the winning putt in The Ryder Cup? Absolutely. And then I would probably jump around even more than I did in Holland,” said Hanson, currently ranked the second best putter on The European Tour according to Genworth Statistics.
“It was so nice to get that confidence boost of winning two weeks before The Ryder Cup. With Sergio and Rory winning in America, and myself and Paul Lawrie winning in Europe, it was a timely boost for the team.
“It’s great that a few of us have won in the build-up. The US PGA Championship was a big event for the European team, with Rory winning, Ian Poulter playing well, Justin Rose finishing third, and me in the top ten.
“Quite a few guys had been playing slowly over the summer and were running low on form. When someone wins it always seems that others follow in his footsteps and we are now going into the Ryder Cup in good form.
“Last time when I won in the Czech Open it was to make the team. It’s always nice when you can pull it together when you need to, and really need both of those wins.
“It had been a bit of a slow summer for me. I showed signs of form at The Open Championship and the US PGA Championship. But the win at in The Netherlands came at a perfect time and gave me some confidence back going into the Ryder Cup.”
Hanson’s Ryder Cup debut two years ago continued a proud Swedish tradition in golf’s premier team competition, and his presence as part of the European set-up this time round means his country will have been represented in eight out of nine Ryder Cups between 1993 and 2012, with 2004 the only exception.
At Celtic Manor he became the ninth Swede to play in The Ryder Cup, following in the footsteps of Joakim Haeggman (1993), Per-Ulrik Johansson (1995, 1997), Jesper Parnevik (1997, 1991, 2002), Jarmo Sandelin (1999), Pierre Fulke (2002), Niclas Fasth (2002), and Stenson and Robert Karlsson (both 2006 and 2008).
Second time round, Hanson feels he has even more to contribute to the team than in Wales, and the World Number 23 intends to be a more central presence in the team room than on his debut in 2010.
“It is going to be a bit different for us this time,” said Hanson. “We had a lot of rookies the last time at Celtic Manor and I would sit at the back of the room and take it all in and listen.
“This time I feel we are very experienced and age-wise we are very solid. Most of us are in our 30s, and of course we have young Rory and then Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood with a lot of experience.
“But if you look at Graeme and Sergio and Ian and Justin we are all at the peak of our career, between 30 and 35 or so when they say we play our best during that time. So I see a very strong European side and I think we will all play a bigger role.”