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Andy Sullivan (Getty Images)
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Europe

Sullivan determined to make first impressions last

Andy Sullivan is hoping to make his Ryder Cup debut a memorable one after climbing 119 places up the World Ranking over the past two years to catapult into Darren Clarke’s European team.

Sullivan was 163rd in the world in September 2014, but three European Tour wins in 2015 proved the springboard for the Englishman to climb to his current position of 44th and qualify for the European team automatically.

Given his startling rise, Sullivan admitted he is still coming to terms with the fact that he will line up against Davis Love III’s United States team in two weeks’ time.

“I still can’t quite believe I’m in the Ryder Cup team,” said the 30 year old.

“Two years ago I was nowhere in the world, sort of in the wilderness, and now to be in the Ryder Cup team is unbelievable.

“It all seems so surreal and to actually finalise it and say you’re in feels like a massive relief.”

There will be some familiarity for Sullivan, though, given his relationships with many of the other 11 men who will comprise the remainder of Clarke’s side.

Sullivan believes that playing in Europe often alongside the majority of his team-mates bodes well for the team spirit within the camp when play gets underway on September 30.

“I’ve played amateur golf with Dan (Willett) and Woody since we were about 18 years old, so I know those two pretty well,” he said.

“I’ve played a lot of practice rounds with Rory (McIlroy) in the Majors this year and feel like we’ve got on really well. But the good thing about playing in Europe is everyone knows each other well and it’s like a family.”

After finishing second to Willett in Dubai, Sullivan went on a run of eight tournaments without a top ten, something which the Nuneaton native admitted began to irk him.

However, Sullivan believes taking a share of fifth at the 100th Open de France was the catalyst he needed to go on and secure his place in the team.

“I just got back to being Andy Sullivan and went out there and played golf the way I do, and then the results started to come back,” he said.

“I started to put myself in a position to win again and finishing 12th in The Open was massive. To get my first top 20 in a Major was really good and I thought that cemented my place.
“A few of the guys had a run at us at the end, but luckily I managed to hold out.”