A Q&A SESSION WITH ELITE CYMRU GOLFER, RHYS DAVIES
22-year-old Rhys Davies from Bridgend will be Wales' sole representative in next week's US Open. Here we ask the man himself how he got involved in sport and discover the inspiration behind his success.
How did you start in your sport?
When I was in primary school; I played lots of different sports – rugby, football, cricket, tennis and athletics. I first played golf on a small nine hole course in Barry when my father used to take me for an occasional weekend treat but I did not join a club until I was 11 years old.
Who were your main influences?
I was lucky at Oldcastle Primary School as I had teachers who were enthusiastic about sport. Mrs Ryder taught us (short) tennis and Mr Oldfield taught rugby. At Bridgend Cricket Club Charles Griffiths was our coach and Peter Evans was my coach at Porthcawl Golf Club. John Collins also helped me a great deal as he used to organise the junior coaching for Glamorgan. All of these people and others had a great influence on me and I will always be grateful for their support.
Who was your sporting hero when you grew up and why?
Like most young people television had a big impact and one of the first sports events I can remember was Ian Woosnam winning the Masters. I therefore wanted to be Woosie, but I was also wanted to be Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Steve Watkins and Darren Gough. Not a lot to ask for?!
Which sports occasion would you pay to watch?
That is easy – the Ashes. Even when I am in the States I still get texts giving me the cricket scores. Does anyone have tickets for the 2009 Ashes match in Cardiff?
And which you would not pay to watch?
The Derby or any horse racing!
What’s the best part of being a golfer?
Like any other sport the best part is playing well. I loved being an athlete / student at East Tennessee State University. Spending time practicing and playing with your team mates is great and I feel very lucky. I have recently graduated from my Business degree so I’ll miss this next year.
And the worst?
It will not surprise you when I say the worst part is playing poorly. Dealing with disappointment is very tough but I suppose it makes me appreciate the good times. Golf can sometimes be a lonely sport - especially when things go wrong. You do not always have team mates to share the disappointment with and that is why I think that young golfers should also play team sports to help them develop a perspective.
Who is your best friend in golf?
I have to say my best friends are my team mates at East Tennessee State University. We lived, ate, trained, practiced and competed together and so it is just as well we get on.
If you could change one thing about your sport what would it be?
The professional game would have more team events like the Ryder Cup.
If you weren’t a golfer what would you be?
If I have a choice the answer is a professional cricketer. I’d love to play cricket for Glamorgan and this was once my ambition when I was part of its academy.
How do you switch off from your sport?
I find this difficult especially when I have academic work to do, but I did have an opportunity to experience a little of the student lifestyle!