Gleneagles role for PGA pro Taylor

2014 09 Ian Taylor1

If you see a man wandering around inside the ropes at Gleneagles this week brandishing a packet of dental floss, don’t be alarmed - that’ll just be Drumpellier head PGA professional Ian Taylor.


Confused? Allow us to explain.

Four years ago at Celtic Manor, Taylor, who will be among the referees at Gleneagles this week, was making his bow in the golfing cauldron that is the Ryder Cup when a small packet of the dental string came to the fore.

Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were swapping blows with Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan when Taylor stepped into the spotlight – much to the bemusement of the American Johnson.

“I was an observer with this match,” said Taylor. “We’d had take this match off the course the day before after five holes because it just wasn’t playable.

“The following day they’d got to the 16th green when the players were asking who was to putt first.
"Zach Johnson just looked at me and said ‘is that dental floss?’" - Ian Taylor

“The match referee was having some issues with his 'Gotcha', the device we use to measure the distance.

“I could see that the referee was having a problem and so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a packet of dental floss, which I always carry with me.

“I walked onto the green and then used it to measure the balls and who should putt first. Zach Johnson just looked at me and said ‘is that dental floss?’ I nodded in agreement. It was a pretty unique moment.”

Taylor ruled the Americans would putt first. Mahan sank the putt to win the hole - but ultimately lost the match.

Events at Celtic Manor also illustrated just how heightened the pressure is. Taylor was given the singles match between Miguel Angel Jimenez and Bubba Watson and reveals just how the occasion affects the players.

“As the referee, we meet the players on the putting green,” he said. “I said hello to them both and Bubba was so nervous he couldn’t tell me his name. That’s how the Ryder Cup affects you.

“I also left Jimenez speechless after he won his match on the 15th as I congratulated him in Spanish and you could see he wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Despite his experience of Celtic Manor and officiating at the PGA Championship, Taylor admits to being nervous about this week’s Ryder Cup as it is on home soil.
"There as we’re deemed to be the best in the world and so, once the matches start, your focus is on that." - Ian Taylor

“I’m incredibly proud to be asked to referee in Scotland but it certainly makes it more traumatic because there will be so many more people that I know in the crowd,” he said.

“Colleagues, family, friends and members from the club are all going to be there over the three days and that does bring extra pressure.

“But we’re there as we’re deemed to be the best in the world and so, once the matches start, your focus is on that.”

Taylor, who envisages being involved in four of the five sessions at Gleneagles, recalled an anecdote involving fellow referee and Blairgowrie PGA professional Charles Dernie when officiating Tiger Woods at The K Club in 2006.

“I know having spoken to Charles how nervous he was,” said Taylor. “We’re there because we’re seen as the best and some players will test you. That happened with Charles when, on the first hole, Tiger called him over for a decision. You know the eyes of the world are on you and you have to make the right call.

“It was an initiation test and after the ruling was given, the match went on with Charles having dealt with it.

“Players generally know the rules and also the courses are set up to avoid too many situations. But you will get instances like this where you will have to prove your mettle."

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Keep up-to-date with all the latest goings-on from the 2014 Ryder Cup with bunkered.co.uk. We will be reporting live from Gleneagles every day this week on this website, as well as on Twitter (@BunkeredOnline) and Facebook (Facebook.com/BunkeredMagazine).

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