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Tom Lewis for Ryder Cup?
13th March 2012

By Matt Dodd
Twitter: @mattdodd11

Tom Lewis in 2011 - (photo Tom Ward and EGU)

Never has a European golfer made the jump from the Walker Cup to the Ryder Cup in a year.

But that is, by no means, beyond the realms of possibility for Tom Lewis, who is already being tipped to become the next Rory McIlroy.

Fresh, ambitious and talented, Lewis has the right components in his locker to hit the high expectations already placed on his young shoulders.

After lighting up the Open in July last year, followed up by his maiden title in Portugal three months later, the 21-year-old needs to perform to the high standards he places on himself in order to be selected for the prestigious Ryder Cup team.

America's young star Rickie Fowler lead the U.S. to amateur success in the Walker Cup back in 2009, and flourished, earning a call up to Corey Pavin's 2010 Ryder Cup squad a year later.

However, the same feat has never been achieved by a European. It's something Lewis desperately wants to add to his CV, and thinks he has a good chance if he can play well in certain events.

"I really want to go from the Walker Cup to the Ryder Cup in one year," Lewis declared.

"If I can play well in the right events, and finish high in the majority, then I have a good chance.

"But it's something I can't control," he admitted. "For that to happen, I need to take one week at a time and see what comes of it by September."

Lewis' incredible 2011 began to accelerate after winning the St Andrew Links Trophy in June, before winning the Silver Medal at the Open a month later.

Tom Lewis at the 2011 Open (Photo R & A)

He then went from strength to strength after helping GB&I to Walker Cup success before turning professional and claiming his first title at the Portugal Masters on only his third start.

The Welwyn Garden City golfer admits that nobody could have scripted his amazing year, which he says he'll always remember, but wants to focus on the challenges that lie ahead in 2012.

Lewis insisted: "You can never predict the future. I always felt I could have a good year and that I needed a good year for the Walker Cup.

"I don't think anyone could have planned the way my golf went after the St Andrews trophy. It was something that was destined for me.

"Obviously 2011 is going to be a year I'll always remember but for me, 2012 is more important.

"I felt I did the right thing which was to end my season early, recharge for this year and work on the things I felt I needed to.

"I'm looking to do as well as possible in 2012. I need to move forward and so do others.

"If I perform to my best, I can give myself more chances to win and it will be nice to take one or two of them."

In December, Lewis was awarded the title of European Rookie of the Year - a fitting acknowledgement of the achievements and the potential of the young man.

But though Lewis - modest as ever - was honoured to lift the Sir Henry Cotton trophy, he believed he did not deserve it and apologised to his competitors.

"Rookie of the Year is something you can only win once and I was honoured to be chosen as that," he said.

"I feel sorry for the guys who finished above me in the order of merit. I felt they deserved it more than me as they've been out there all year, so I apologise to them.

"But obviously it's a selection and the people felt it was me. So to have that honour is outstanding, and I'm very pleased to have my name on that award alongside so many great players."

While Lewis may be hard on himself at times, he is fully aware of his ability and the expectations that come with it.

The expectations can only increase when Colin Montgomerie, captain of Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup champions, says that "he has every opportunity to make you-know-what come September".

And while some golfers and sportsmen are suspect to crumbling under pressure and hype, it is something that the Hertfordshire man thrives on.

 "Of course, I have a reputation to live up to. It's something that I can't control," he said.

"But I know I have that now, and I like it. People are comparing me to Tiger, Rory and I'm one of the top under 25's to watch out for.

"I just need to perform. I have an opportunity now to become one of the best and I want to take that.

"Not many people get an opportunity like this in life. I'm very lucky."

Lewis knows exactly what he has to do, and has a determination and drive for success which is palpable.

It's certainly not a bad thing that he has a 'take each event as it comes' attitude, but the youngster must have the thought of making history in the back of his mind.

And it would be of no great shock if we are to see Lewis board that plane to Illinois with European captain José María Olazábal come September.

About the author of this article

I'm Matt, 21 years old and in my final semester at Staffordshire University studying Sports Journalism. With a keen interest in golf amongst other sports, writing is my passion as I aim to build a career in the world of sports journalism.


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