Caldwell to prove critics wrong

By Brian Keogh

Ulsterman Jonny Caldwell is determined to prove his critics wrong and let his clubs do the talking at Royal County Down.

Former skipper Garth McGimpsey suggested this week that Caldwell was "fortunate" to get his place in Colin Dalgleish's 10-man Great Britain and Ireland side.

But Caldwell is not bothered at all by what his fellow Ulsterman has to say.

And as he partnered Rory McIlroy in a practice round at Co Louth yesterday, he vowed that he's ready to show the world that he's more than just a foursomes partner for the Holywood hero.

Caldwell rapped: "I read what he said in the paper but it doesn't bother me at all. Playing with Rory in the foursomes at the European Championships obviously helped me get on the team.

"But that's only part of the story. I set myself a few goals at the start of the year and one of them was to play well in the British Amateur and the other was to do well in the European Team Championships.

"We won the Europeans and I played well. I set a course record there in Scotland too, so I don't think I have played that badly.

"There is no doubt that playing with Rory helped me a good bit in terms of getting picked.

"But there is more to the Walker Cup than the foursomes and I will be going for it in the singles as well, if I am asked."

Caldwell, 23, grabbed four points from six as Ireland took the European Team Championships for the first time in 20 years this summer.

And the Clandeboye ace will not be short of support when he will almost certainly tees off with McIlroy on Saturday morning.

He said: "I know I am going to be well supported when the matches start on Saturday. There will be between 300 and 400 members coming up from my club alone.

"As for nerves, I don't have any at all at the moment. But I am sure that will change on Friday night and it might be a bit tough getting to sleep.

"But I am not going to let what has been said affect me at all. I am just going to go out and do a job and see how many points I can get.

"It has been a great experience so far and we have been given first class treatment. It's something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Probably foursomes partner McIlroy knows that his fellow Ulsterman has the class to put on a super show at Royal County Down.

The pair are rooming together this week and have had a ball so far, making crank calls to fellow team members at the squad HQ.

McIlroy said: "We've just had brilliant fun so far, waking guys up with funny phone calls and generally have a great old time.

"And I think we will make a good team because we've had a pretty strong partnership in the past. We've only ever been beaten once playing for Ireland or Ulster.

"It's great for Jonny to make the team as well. He's played very well all summer and deserved it."