Coronavirus: Cabrera Bello aims for Ryder Cup role

By Sports Desk April 17, 2020

Rafa Cabrera Bello is hanging on to hopes of making another Ryder Cup appearance this year.

The Spaniard achieved an unbeaten debut four years ago, taking one and a half points in tandem with compatriot Sergio Garcia before scoring a singles win over Jimmy Walker.

Victory went to the United States by a thumping 17-11 margin at Hazeltine, but it gave Cabrera Bello a taste for the competition that he hoped to enjoy again.

He sat 17th on the European points table before the 2020 season ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, needing a strong run to press a claim for selection.

This year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits is inevitably in some doubt due to uncertainty over when sport can resume, but golf's elite cannot allow their focus to completely slide.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Cabrera Bello said: "My goals at the beginning of the season when this wasn't planned was to qualify for the Ryder [Cup], for the Olympics, keep progressing in the world rankings, win tournaments, and those goals haven't changed."

He stressed priorities were changing and health was paramount, with the aim of returning "to normality or to the new normality as soon as possible".

"If I qualify for the Ryder Cup, I will of course play it," Cabrera Bello said. "And the U.S. Open, as a major, it is my intention to play it as well. I am at the disposal of the captain of the Ryder Cup. If he thinks I am the best complement for the team I will be there with the best possible spirit."

European skipper Padraig Harrington is sure to be monitoring the likes of 35-year-old Cabrera Bello, who is ranked 46th in the world and tied for fourth at the 2017 Open Championship.

A three-time winner on the European Tour, Cabrera Bello is a reluctant Florida resident at present.

His regular home is in Dubai, but Cabrera Bello elected to stay in the United States at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak due to concerns he would not be allowed to re-enter the country for the Masters.

The Augusta event was soon postponed, however, and is set to be played in November.

"If I had known that this stoppage was going to be so long, we wouldn't have considered remaining here," Cabrera Bello said.

"But at that stage the information was limited and the suggested suspension was going to last only three weeks and the Masters was still going to be announced.

"There already started being flight restrictions to Europe, so it worried us to go to Europe and not being able to come back or go to Dubai, where I live with my family, and not being able to return for the Masters because we had to pass a quarantine.

"So we decided to remain here and then the Masters was postponed.

"By then, Europe was in a delicate situation with an imminent quarantine and Dubai was not allowing entrance, not even to the residents, so we decided to stay here and we are in this process now."

At least he has a welcome distraction, after he and wife Sofia became parents last August to a daughter, Alva.

"I am doing maintenance work at the moment so my [golf] swing doesn't get rusty," he said.

"The rest of the routine is to stay at home, spend time together, enjoy our baby who is eight months old now. It is marvellous, playing with her every day and seeing her grow. It is the best thing in the world. Inside this difficult situation, to be able to spend time with my daughter makes it way more manageable."

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