September 21, 2006

America's Ryder Cup team in unfamiliar position as underdogs.: John Hawkins offers 10 reasons why the U.S. team, although weaker on paper than usual, may surprise this week. Did the Irish tabloids tug on Superman's cape?

posted by mjkredliner to golf at 07:31 PM - 23 comments

I was hoping JJ would post his usual good stuff, and if he does, please delete this, admin.

posted by mjkredliner at 07:33 PM on September 21, 2006

Win or lose (for the U.S.), it's still probably the best golf spectacle to watch in the world. This will probably be another year where the Americans do something special again on Sunday, because I'll be sitting in Ralph Wilson Stadium watching the Bills struggle with the Jets. The great matches take place when I can't be in front of the tube watching.

posted by dyams at 07:43 PM on September 21, 2006

Just to clarify, the magazine that published the picture has apologised, but it was never meant to come across as the truth. The Dubliner is all about the satire and I don't think any of its readers would've believed the story. The Daily Star, or whichever of the tabloids it was, well, that's a different story. And, afaik, they haven't apologised yet. Woods should sue them.

posted by Fence at 03:22 AM on September 22, 2006

This will probably be another year where the Americans do something special again on Sunday But still can't make up the deficit from the first two days, leading pundits to wonder why Tiger still gets picked for foursomes. Oh, and there'll be an obscure European (Stenson or Karlsson) who takes a major American scalp in the singles.

posted by etagloh at 05:02 AM on September 22, 2006

I don't know many men who will take someone saying his wife "can be found in a variety of sweaty poses on porn sites" lying down. (rimshot) I'll be here all week, try the veal. The bit about David Toms' wife finding it "liberating" to wear her bikini around the house is funny. What I don't understand -- maybe one of the Euro-SpoFites can explain it to me. You always call us Americans prudes when it comes to our bodies (I agree with you) but now or golfers' wives apparently can't keep their clothes on and that's a bad thing? Which is it? Gotta love the Ryder Cup.

posted by SummersEve at 05:34 AM on September 22, 2006

She's not American, nor prudish. Her husband is and is. I liked the article, but the guy missed off one very important factor that almost assures an American win - Ian Woosnam. His wife was taken ill on Wednesday morning? No one knew what was wrong with her, but she's OK now? Really? Nothing to do with the fact that the Woosnam's were rolling around the clubhouse shitfaced on Tuesday night I'm sure.

posted by JJ at 05:57 AM on September 22, 2006

If you want to follow the action from your desk, I can recommend the Guardian's text coverage, or, if you have the facilities, the radio coverage on the official website is good too. Simon Barnes has his usual superb observations in the Times, Nick Pitt, writing for the same paper has some interesting things to say about "The Problem with Tiger Woods", and Lawrence Donnegan offers a nice preview in the Guardian.

posted by JJ at 06:34 AM on September 22, 2006

I think the American wives won the morning matches with their European counterparts , due in large part to the matching go-go boots worn at the opening ceremonies, and Mrs. Woosnam's lack of ability. The thought of Mr. and Mrs. Woosnam being less prude than your average American kinda gives me the heebi jeebies. (Mandatory insult completed, awaiting retort.) Thank you for your input, JJ.

posted by mjkredliner at 08:22 AM on September 22, 2006

Great start by the Euro's, Clarke and Westwood played their hearts out, and the New Spanish Armada is as formidable as the old. Great playing, Euro's, and the galleries are awesome, thank you, Ireland.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:37 PM on September 22, 2006

Anyone trying to avoid spoilers here? (Since US coverage is on tape delay?)

posted by YukonGold at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2006

John, don't forget about the wind factor; the harder it blows, the more it favors Europe, as most Euro players get more tournament experience playing in it. Don't expect a U.S.comeback Saturday in the predicted 15 to 25 mph winds. Perhaps during Sunday singles the wind will back off and Tiger and the boys will play the target golf that Hawkins believes can happen.

posted by judgedread at 11:38 PM on September 22, 2006

I believe if this tournament was about money the Americans would dominate, I think we have become so spoiled that we've forgotten how to play for pride and the team spirit that unite's the Euro's to beat us now. Don't get me wrong I think the best golfers in the world come from the U.S. but when it comes right down to it I think they have forgotten why we play these matches, but if there is money to be had we would take the trophy everytime.

posted by jknemo at 03:11 PM on September 23, 2006

Oh, I disagree a little. I do think it's a testament to the homogenisation of American golf around the multi-round medal tournament, played at pristine courses that look good on television, where bad weather is more often a show-stopper than a natural hazard. The (excellent) online commentary team was talking on Saturday about how American golfers tend to be pushed towards card-marking at all levels, while you're more likely to see social foursomes on European courses. But there's something else: in an era when the equipment and physical fitness of players threatens the dynamics of some of the greatest courses, the Ryder Cup is old-school golf, and golf with a real connection to the game played by amateurs.

posted by etagloh at 02:50 AM on September 24, 2006

I believe if this tournament was about money the Americans would dominate I'd believe that if we were talking about struggling PGA pros who are looking for their next paycheque. Except that most of the US players are already multi-million dollar winners on the tour, and I can't see how another $50,000/person (or more) would be that attractive to them. I'd think that "national pride" and "historical significance" would have more draw (in the same way that the Master's is the biggest golf tournament, but not the highest paying one).

posted by grum@work at 10:27 PM on September 24, 2006

"the Master's is the biggest golf tournament" Easy there, Tiger.

posted by JJ at 03:55 AM on September 25, 2006

"the Master's is the biggest golf tournament" Easy there, Tiger. What would you suggest then, JJ? The Open? The US Open? The PGA Championship? The World Golf Match Play? By default, it has to be a major. Nobody really cares who holds the record for the most Buick Classic titles. So if you limit it to the 4 majors, which one hold more prestige? The only one that I can think of that can compete with the Master's is The Open, and that's simply based on age. I guess it might be a Euro/Americas thing, but on this side of the pond the Master's champion always gets more attention than The Open champion.

posted by grum@work at 11:06 AM on September 25, 2006

I think the Masters is brilliantly marketed and has bucketloads of prestige (way more than its older cousin the USPGA), but I think the Open Championship, in terms of national pride and hsitorical significance, has to be the "biggest" - at least in my mind. Then again, you weren't talking about my mind, were you? I've noticed a fly in my logic there. In that 8th pint conversation "You only get to win one major - which one would you want to win?" I was always a bit split. The answer has to be the Open, and it has to be followed by the US Open - but there's an undeniable something about the Masters (perhaps the fact that in the UK it heralds the start of the golf season and it's on at night when it's still dark rather than while I'm at work or while I could be out playing (as is the case for the US Open and the PGA)). I don't know - maybe for me, and dare I say, for us on this side of the water, there is something fundamentally Disney about the Masters, whilst there is something fundamentally raw and real about the Open. And it's ours. Like the Ryder Cup. *smirk* Not that I'm gloating - my predictions were that Woosnam might as well be playing for the US and would be hopeless (he wasn't), that Garcia and Olazabal don't get on and wouldn't play well together (they don't, but they put that aside and played brilliantly), and that Clarke and Westwood were bad picks, the former being too fragile emotionally to be able to handle it (more fool me for thinking so) and the latter simply not as good as several other people that might have been selected ahead of him (I suppose you can't prove that either way, but I think Weswood's points tally for the week does enough to hammer the final nail into the coffin of my golf punditry).

posted by JJ at 11:26 AM on September 25, 2006

The things that were confirmed for me over this past weekend: - It's easier to appear to commentators that you're "having more fun" ... when you're winning - Although I'm tired of this "the Euros have more fun" business ... something is very clearly different within the team environment and I'd like to see someone in the US figure it out - Phil needs still more time to recover from his US Open collapse - Paul Casey can PLAY GOLF (I can't say this was "confirmed" for me - I hadn't previously realized how strong a player he is) - Tiger needs to be told before each match "forget you have a partner - don't talk to him - don't let him give you reads on putts - just act like you are playing by yourself, since that's clearly the only time you're worth anything to this team". - I really like Darren Clarke - before and after his wife's tragedy - Most of the Americans were pretty non-descript. I liked Henry in particular. DiMarco, you need to make more than one putt before pulling out the fist-clenching "that's what I'm talkin' about" attitude - The majority of the rest of the Euros were likable, or at least tolerable - Sergio acts like a 4-year-old when he's winning - but it's charming, so everyone smiles with him. Sergio stills acts like a 4-year-old when he's losing - but this time it's a "you just took one of my toys, things aren't going my way, so now I'm going to scowl at you", and you want to throttle him.

posted by littleLebowski at 12:35 PM on September 25, 2006

*L* I loved that list and couldn't disagree with a single thing on it. There was someone writing in the Sunday Observer here in the UK this weekend suggested that the Europeans have better team spirit because they mock each other (privately and publically) and generally "take the piss", while the Americans do team building exercises (like singing songs) and try to be supportive of one another. To quote from memory: "The Europeans look like brothers in arms, the Americans look like reluctant brothers in law." I'm being lazy - I'll find the article online. Here it is. LL, you pretty much sum up the rest of that article with you comments about Garcia.

posted by JJ at 02:18 PM on September 25, 2006

Good article, JJ - thanks. I wonder - because I don't know much about the European Tour ... is it possible that the American players beat up on each other more during tournaments and therefore aren't as leisurely about "coming together" in spirit. I'm not at all saying that the Euro Tour isn't competitive and I personally think my own explanation is hogwash - it still boils down to a fundamental difference in personality/character. But, I'm trying desparately to find an excuse. Two other things that became abundantly clear over this weekend: - the Irish galleries deserve a lot of praise - I didn't catch a whiff of any boos or unpleasantries. They even waited an extraordinary number of several seconds before cheering on their Euro team after the US would miss a key putt. I can only hope that the favor is returned in a couple years. - The US team misses the likes of Payne Stewart dearly (or at least I do)

posted by littleLebowski at 02:52 PM on September 25, 2006

Congratulations to the European team, and even though we had our asses handed to us again, there were a lot of great things about the event. The Americans clearly are not as versed in the art of four-ball or foursome matches, and they clearly do not have players that step up every time like Montgomerie, Clarke, or Garcia. (What is it about those Spanish pairings?) When Tiger snap hooked his first tee shot, and Clarke striped it 305 down the center, the tone of the match was set for the duration it seemed. I have no reasonable explanation, other than the Europeans were far better. The US team misses the likes of Payne Stewart dearly (or at least I do) Yeah. I think we all do, littleLebowski.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:22 AM on September 26, 2006

Another article disecting what's wrong with the US team dynamic (this time from an American journalist). I think what's missing is a Payne Stewart, or a Corey Pavin. Chris Dim is trying to be that guy, but the passion needs more talent behind it than I think he has.

posted by JJ at 05:22 AM on September 26, 2006

We should get that Unicycle Fascist a SpoFi account. He seems nice.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:53 AM on September 26, 2006

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