Once More, With Feeling
Nice story summarizing Anthony Kim’s 5&4 dismantling of Sergio Garcia, a match which kind of summed up the entire weekend in my opinion. Not only did Kim outplay the Ryder Cup wunderkind, who had a 14-5-4 Cup record heading into Sunday, but he also seemed to be in the Spaniard’s head as well. The Guardian also weighs in, concluding that Garcia’s “days as the youthful prodigy known as El Niño must now be consigned to history.”
Speaking of getting into someone’s head, Europe’s other hoss, Lee Westwood, never seemed to find his rhythm all three days, and also was clearly rattled Sunday by what he labeled as “abuse” from the raucous hillbillies patrons at Valhalla. Closed circuit to Westwood: Get over it. Boorish behavior at the Ryder Cup has historically cut both ways, and you’re not the first player, nor will you be the last, to have a grievance.
The Times’ Alyson Rudd pens easily the most entertaining column leading up to the Ryder Cup that I’ve read yet. Kudos. The only thing it was missing was more pictures (Jocelyn Hefner, fiancée of Paul Casey, is pictured right).
The deportment, style and aura of the golfers’ wives and girlfriends [GWAGs] will set the tone for the entire competition and perhaps determine who will win it.
You can tell by the way they smile and their body language as they sit together that the wives and girlfriends of the Europe team are friends. Their lunches are not exactly like scenes from Sex and the City, but they do meet to discuss GOLFAID, the charity established two years ago by players on the European Tour to help to raise money for children in need.
The Americans, by contrast, do not mix often socially, so keep a keen eye out for the fixed rather than natural smile and the flustering effect that it has on their spouses.
Seriously, what would the “run up” to these Ryder Cup matches be without the ever cheeky, ever snide British press? Quite a contrast from America, where the Sobel’s and Van Sickle’s of the world are trying desperately to concoct columns to get an ever-apathetic sporting public into the spirit of yet another Tiger-less golf exhibition championship. But the Brits genuinely seem into this thing, as evidenced by the Poulter-Clarke-Monty soap opera, and an eternal Queeg like obsession with Faldo. You get the sense that the next story in its endless quest to slice and dice poor ‘ol Nick will be a critique of Thursday night’s team supper. What’s that Nick? No sauce with those pork medallions? Tut tut.
Today, for example, the Guardian’s Lawrence Donegan got his knickers all good and twisted when–gasp–Faldo’s crib sheet of possible Friday morning pairings (see above) was snapped up by an opportunistic photographer. MI-5 defections don’t get this much hoopla. Donegan laments:
By any standard it was not an impressive performance. With one day to go before the first ball is struck, Faldo has the option of rejigging his pairings, which have to be publicly declared this afternoon, but if he does that he will then be forced to go into tomorrow’s foursomes with a line-up that was not his first choice.
Good god man, should we just spot the Americans all of the Friday morning matches? On second thought, would that even make a difference?
The AP reports that Woods has “no intention” of showing up at Valhalla this week. Said Tiger:
“I also don’t know who is playing well, who is injured, and have no feel for how the course is playing. But I’ll be happy to offer my opinion. I wish the American team well and hope they can bring back the Cup.”
Translation: No one’s playing well, the course is as rinky dink as it was in 2000, and in my opinion, I never looked forward to this event even when I was healthy. I wish everyone except Phil well, and honestly could not care less about some silly, jingoistic fueled Cup.
Jason Sobel’s Weekly 18 tackles the Ryder Cup and, per usual, Sobel has some amusing takes.
The American team’s demise in recent years certainly can’t be pinned on one player alone, but Mickelson has perhaps served as the poster boy for its futility. In the past three editions of the event, Lefty has posted a 3-9-2 record. Particularly troubling is his disappointing mark in four-ball matches — a format which would ostensibly suit his freewheeling style of play — because Mickelson hasn’t won any of ’em since Friday morning in 2002.
On J.B. Holmes:
Holmes owns only three top-10s all year — and none since May. The lack of strong recent performances plus the added pressure of playing in front of the home folks could be a fateful combination for the Kentuckians.
On Oliver Wilson (who?):
The young Brit (he turned 28 Sunday) has the unique distinction of being the first European player to make the Ryder Cup team without ever having notched a single victory.
And on the captains:
In Azinger and Faldo, however, this week’s event has been blessed by a pair of silver-tongued skippers who have spent time slinging arrows at one another over the years as players, as TV analysts and in the run-up to this week’s event. Don’t expect anything too malicious, but don’t expect the captains to roll over and play dead when it comes to taking on the tough questions, either.
Is anyone else feeling a U.S. upset at Valhalla? First there was the whole Ian Poulter kerfuffle, which gave the Faldo-hating British press a veritable buffet of cheeky quips and snide jabs to gorge over. Then Luke Donald bowed out. And now it appears that Lee Westwood is “‘not feeling 100%’ having been struck down by a bout of tonsillitis that forced him to miss the recent European Masters in Switzerland.” Add to that the energy and excitement that not two but four Paul Azinger picks brings (you know no one wants to play Chad Campbell, don’t you?), and well, perhaps Sunday will actually mean something this time around!
Someone gets a sibling!
This story actually interests me more than Paul Azinger’s captain’s picks, which are about as eye opening as a mega dose of melatonin. Heck, even Zinger admitted that “nobody really jumped off the page.”
Back to Tiger, however, blogger Geoff Shackelford has some fun with the announcement.