Rafa Cabrera-Bello loving life on the big stage as Ryder Cup beckons

It’s been quite a month-and-a-half for Dubai’s adopted son Rafa Cabrera-Bello. The former OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic winner represented Spain, alongside Sergio Garcia, as golf made a return to the Olympic Games in Rio for the first time since 1904 in August, and finished in a share of fifth place.

This weekend he has the small matter of competing in his first Ryder Cup, perhaps the biggest stage of them all, as Darren Clarke’s Team Europe prepare to take on a strong-looking American side at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.

This is what I have worked really hard for during my golf career,” said the JA Resorts & Hotels Ambassador who spends much of his time in Dubai when not on Tour. “To represent Spain at the Olympics was very special and to be part of golf’s reintroduction after 112 years!

“The Ryder Cup is the pinnacle of our sport, with its tradition and position on the world stage of golf and in the sports world.”

Cabrera-Bello is one of six rookies in Team Europe and despite forging a reputation as one of the game’s calmest players, the Spaniard admits that he has no idea what to expect when he stands on the first tee on Friday with a raucous partisan crowd of USA fans whipping up a frenzy behind him.

“That’s a great unknown – I don’t know,” said Cabrera-Bello. “I will do my preparations as best I can in the lead up but I am very confident I can handle the pressure – this is why I play the game. For me it is a great opportunity to show my skills under the spotlight – bring it on!”

Having been with his team mates in Minnesota since the beginning of the week, Cabrera Bello believes that the Europeans have a wonderful camaraderie and a nice balance to their team, with Ryder Cup regulars like Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson complementing new comers such as Matthew Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett and himself.

In Ryder Cup veteran, Darren Clarke, along with his Vice-Captains, Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter and Sam Torrance, the two-time European Tour winner also believes they have the perfect individuals to help them upset the odds against a USA team competing on home turf which contains five of the world’s top ten players.

“Darren has been magnificent and his Vice-Captains as well,” said Cabrera Bello. “He is a great captain to challenge the Americans on home soil. I think we have a great mix of experience and youth in our team. The rookies will provide an engergised enthusiasm to the team.

“Its history (which we’re creating). I’m looking forward to forming lasting memories and friendships from both sides.”

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Once the dust has settled on the world’s foremost team golf event, the big occasions will keep coming for Cabrera Bello as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai reaches its climax with the big money Final Series, culminating in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai taking place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 November.

The 32-year-old will be joined in the field by every member of the European Ryder Cup team, along with Patrick Reed from Team USA – with each of them already comfortably within the Race to Dubai’s top 60.

“I’m looking forward to playing the Final Series and competing in one of my favourite tournaments the DP World Tour Championship,” he said. “It is a great venue and the tournament gets better each year.

“I’m currently fourth in the Race to Dubai and it should be an exciting finish to a very special year for me.”

Register for free fast track entry tickets to the 2016 DP World Tour Championship at www.DPWorldTourChampionship.com

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