Ross Fisher has vowed to put on a show in front of the Irish golfing public this week when he defends his Irish Open presented by Discover Ireland title on a course where he produced fireworks last year.
With Ireland’s four Major Champions – Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy – all in the field at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club there is set to be a festival atmosphere in Co. Kerry and Fisher hopes that will also inspire him to the heights he achieved 12 months ago.
The Englishman, who plays alongside McIlroy for the first two days, held off a final day surge from Harrington last year, closing with a superb 65 to finish two shots clear of the Irishman who fired a 64. Fisher had earlier shot a second round course record 61, the lowest round of his European Tour career, as he captured his fourth Tour title and effectively clinched his placed in The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team.
With those memories still fresh, Fisher is planning another title challenge this week and he admits he revels in the attention that the Irish quartet will bring to the tournament.
“I would rather play in front of 100,000 than a hundred as it makes me help myself focus more, and I want to try that little bit harder,” he said. “At the end of the day we are out there to win for ourselves, but at the same time, I feel like we are out there to try to put on a show for the crowd.
“That's what I try to do for them, and last year, I put on a pretty decent show, and hopefully can do the same this year.
“Last year, it was just a great week. Obviously shooting that course record on Friday, I left myself a really good chance for the weekend. To win in Ireland was very special, having Pádraig chase me down on the back nine on Sunday.
“It was a sweet victory and obviously it meant a lot, because it gave me a realistic chance of making that Ryder Cup Team, which I duly did.”
In shooting the course record 61 in the second round last year, Fisher had a chance of posting the first round of 59 on The European Tour and he confessed that he still thinks about his missed opportunity.
“Looking back, you know, it was definitely there for the taking,” he said. “I missed an 8 footer on the 15th, which would have really given me a really good chance.
“I didn't really think of a 59 until I was standing on the 14th green, because I just hit my approach in to about three feet, and Dave Horsey was standing there, and I was just waiting for them to putt and that's when it suddenly dawned: If I hole this, I'm 10 under and I have four holes to play and I need two birdies for 59.
“I immediately tried to scramble my mind and try to get 59 out of my head because the quicker you can get it out of your head, the more you can focus on the task at hand. I gave myself three realistic birdie chances on the last four holes but unfortunately I didn't manage to capitalise.
“If the weather is kind and the course is fair, there is that possibility that someone could go crazy, and possibly have a chance at a 59, and I certainly hope that's me.”