CURTIS CUP
GB&I captain seeks advice from winning 2011 Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards January 30, 2012 By Tegwen Matthews

Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup captain Tegwen Matthews (right) sought advice from fellow Welshman and victorious 2011 GB&I Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards. (Courtesy Ladies Golf Union)

Nigel Edwards, winning captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team, very kindly met up with me at Whitchurch golf club in Cardiff, just two days after its inspirational and amazing win against the USA at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club last September.

Nigel shared his approach, preparation and things that worked well for him and his team, but fully appreciated that there are obvious differences between the dynamics of "his boys" and "my girls."

It was evident that Nigel had prepared thoroughly for his task in terms of both his and his team's performance. Nigel had specifically taken coaching lessons in public speaking and speech writing and felt this enhanced both his confidence and performance in this area....especially when it came to speaking to over 500 people at the welcome dinner, where he felt, as a result, that the GB&I Team was already 1 up.

The GB&I Team had also practiced at Royal Aberdeen on three occasions prior to the Match and, as such, Nigel felt that the majority of the team’s homework around yardages and course management had already been done, prior to arrival. Aside from the official yardage chart, which typically measures from mounds and bunkers etc, Nigel had also personally added exact yardages from other key areas, which resulted in the team, having a very comprehensive chart, along the lines of those produced on the professional circuit.

The team room was equipped with Playstation/television/DVD/music, etc and Nigel had also compiled a collection of short, snappy and inspirational and motivational DVD's.

Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland was also drafted in to provide the team with his insights and thoughts around playing in the Walker Cup and this appearance was apparently a big hit with the boys.

I asked Nigel about his approach to fitness/stamina/hydration/psychology/putting and short game.

In short, Nigel felt that every member of the team was already "golf fit", a statement borne mostly from the amount of golf they play, which will often be around six or seven tournaments in a row. The men's game is dominated mostly by 54-hole stroke-play tournaments on most weekends in season, which is a very different dynamic to that of the women’s game.

Nigel acknowledged and agreed, however, that we are both looking for passionate and gutsy match players, but he felt that the constant competition within the men’s game, delivered this.

Nigel and I were also of the same opinion in respect of not over golfing the team on the actual match course, prior to the bell. With arrival on the Sunday, four practice days and three match days of golf (only two for the men), is a long time on the same course and can invite boredom with the course, at the most crucial time.

A huge thanks to Nigel for sparing me precious time to share his magical moments with me, which were fresh and vibrant so soon from the win.

I am a firm believer in "fail to prepare...prepare to fail," so yes....I am putting a lot of thought into everything Nigel has shared with me. I often wake at around 3 a.m. with thoughts about my own master plan and I have no doubt that I am going to drive the Ladies Golf Union bonkers with my sometimes random thoughts.

I am focusing my attentions on the sharp short game which will be needed to win at Nairn and am currently seeking advice from some respected gurus of the short game.  

The LGU is totally supportive and committed to providing anything within its power to make the 2012 Curtis Cup at Nairn a total success on all fronts, not only for the teams but also for the supporters.

So...my dastardly plan is evolving and changing by the hour.

However, my totally focused vision and goal of lifting the Cup will not change. Second is last!

Tegwen Matthews represented Great Britain and Ireland as a player on four Curtis Cup teams from 1974-1980. The Wales native is making her first appearance as a captain. 

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