Ryder Cup, There’s Tension in the Air.

There is tension in the air as the Ryder Cup closed on the second day with the U.S.A. in firm command of the situation, with a little help from the officials and the rub of the green, which always went in their favor.

Jim Furyk first objected to a ruling given to Graeme McDowell on gaining relief from a sprinkler head, Furyk stated there should be no relief given and called for the head referee, who then subsequently changed the original ruling. Jim said of the affair;

“I looked over to see what was happening, I saw that he was going to get relief and get to probably drop the ball into the fringe so they’d be putting rather than chipping.  When I looked to see where the ball was, I believe it was a good four inches, I’m being probably conservative, four to five inches ahead of that sprinkler head. They were going to gain a big advantage by being able to drop that ball. He had a sticky lie and a very delicate chip and to be able to putt that ball would have been a huge advantage and I really didn’t feel in any situation, whether it be matchplay or medal play, that it could be deemed a drop.”

Europe's Graeme McDowell

Seems like Jim wants to win at any cost. What a different point of view than that of  Jack Nicklaus who 1969 conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin, to halve the entire match.  By giving Jacklin the putt, Nicklaus made the half look less like an accomplishment by the British (who had won the cup only once since 1933) than like a personal gift from Nicklaus. It also left forever hanging the possibility that the reigning British Open Champion might have gagged over his eighteen-incher. That’s one of the cool things about match play.

Later in the day Bubba Watson was given relief from the opposite side of the bleachers from the nearest point of relief, he chipped on and made birdie, any complaint from the Europeans, no absolutely not, the referee made a ruling and they got on with it. Justice was done in the end when McDowell and McIlroy won their match. But really sad to see the lengths some people will go to just to make sure they win. As they say in America, that was a win/win situation. The affair has put Jim Furyk into a bad place with regards good spirit and fair play, and how people all over the world gauge him as a man.

The U.S.A. finished the day still leading the Europeans by a comfortable margin, 9-4, and it will take a super human effort from the Europeans on the last day to change the course of this match. I just hope that tomorrow some of the decisions and bounces will go their way and make it an even contest. Tiger Woods suffered his third straight defeat in this Ryder Cup, eroding his record in this contest even further, his only chance of a point will come in the singles. Tiger is, and always has been a loner, and as such he will summon the effort required to win his singles match.

Europe managed to avoid a sweep, thanks to who else?  Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 1 up. Poulter has Europe’s best winning percentage in Ryder Cup play with a 10-3-0 record, and there was no way he was going to let the Americans take a point from his match.

“It was absolutely key, Jose put us out No. 1 for a reason, and that’s to get the point and put the point up on the board.”

If Ian’s fighting spirit becomes contagious, the Europeans do still have a fighting chance, but no betting man would put his money on them. In the afternoon Ian and Rory secured the last point of the day, with Ian’s 5th straight birdie.

Ryder Cup, Day One Belongs to the U.S.A.

Day one of the Ryder Cup belonged to the U.S.A. as they lead the Europeans by five Points to three at the end of the day, after dominating the afternoon fourballs at the Medinah Country Club.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley led the afternoon charge, and they were fully supported by an inspired Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. That inspiration gave the American hosts three of the four points on offer after lunch to open up a commanding advantage.

Both  teams were level at 2-2 after the morning foursomes, with the Northern Irish pairing of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy picking up Europe’s first point and Ian Poulter and Justin Rose providing the second. Controversially Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia were rested for the afternoon better-ball format.

Strangely for the U.S.A. the only pairing not to win in the afternoon was Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, they were beaten by an amazing performance from Nicolas Colsaerts, who the partner of Lee Westwood. Watching the play you would have thought that Nicolas was the seasoned Ryder Cup man, not Lee.  Nicolas Colsaerts was an absolute lion and his point with Lee Westwood at the end of the day could be huge come Sunday.

American Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love 111 was extremely;y pleased with his teams performance;

“Just everybody played real well and hung in there and had a lot of fun. Seemed like as the sun came out, we just got better and better.”

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s team will have to produce a major turnaround in order to claim the Cup for the fifth time in seven meetings. He commented;

“The afternoon was tough, that last point from Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood was very important.”

Tomorrow will be a very tough test for the European Team, it is probably going to be make or break day.

 

Greg Norman tries to Explain the Rory Intimidator comments.

Tiger Woods and Greg Norman probably won’t be playing golf together                              anytime soon. (Getty Images)

The recent comments by Greg Norman that Tiger Woods is now intimidated by Rory McIlroy, brought a backlash of vitriol in his direction. Most criticizers were  saying he didn’t know what he was talking about and that he had no right to speak on such an issue. The real questions boils down to, Is Tiger intimidated by Rory?  Has Tiger ever been intimidated by anyone?  and then explain why the two of them have become such good friends in such a short amount of time?

In order to try and cool the situation around his Tiger comments, Greg posted on his Facebook Page;

” Got off the plane from Beijing this morning and my Iphone just blew up with emails and voicemails regarding my interview with Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports. It seems that everyone from Charles Barkley (no Charles I was not referencing or comparing Tiger’s record to mine) to John Doe has weighed in on my quote regarding intimidation. I stand by my comments and for those that choose to read the full article and not just “grasp” and “react” to one word will notice that the headline and byline were inconsistent with the content of what Robert wrote. When you look at my comments in the full context of the article, you will see that it provides a more balanced view of my sentiments on this topic. Which is, since the PGA Championship Tiger has not made any impact on the weekend in passing Rory for the title. This has not happened in his career prior to this run by Rory. During the PGA Championship broadcast I spoke at length about Tiger and I maintain that no one has swung the club better in the history of the game, especially during the year 2000. At the end of the day, Tiger is a great athlete and a great student of the game and he will continue to win, but we are seeing a transition away from his dominance. Rivalry and parity is great for the game of golf. Unfortunately for Rory, I think that the trademark for “The Intimidator” is already registered with Dale Earnhardt.”

It would appear that Greg has taken two steps back from his original stance on Tiger, and is trying to back pedal from what he said while at the same time maintaining that Rory currently has a better grasp of the game than Tiger, which is likely true.

Greg should not have come up with the intimidation comment, seeing that he was intimidated, and completely rolled over for Nick Faldo, as he  won his third Masters championship. Greg threw away a six shot lead on the final day at Augusta in 1996, he was totally intimidated by Nick Faldo. Perhaps that makes Greg an expert on this subject, he has experienced it so many times, his record of only 2 Major wins will always be tainted because he should have won at least 10.

Luke and Lee, beat Justin and Ian during Medinah practice round

The Ryder Cup European boys are in the mood at Medinah where Luke Donald and Lee Westwood took the money off Justin Rose and Ian Poulter in a practice round. Team Luke and Lee were an amazing – 13 under par while playing a best ball format.

Team Europe golfer Lee Westwood of England sits in a golf cart with vice captain Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland during a practice round at the 39th Ryder Cup matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuters/Jeff Haynes

Lee Westwood had Ryder Cup Vice Captain Darren Clarke as chauffeur.

A smiling Lee Westwood told reporters;

‘ It was only a practice round on the first day, I wouldn’t read too much into it. We came out fast and we were just way too good for Ian and Justin. And they are a lot lighter this morning in their pockets.”

Luke Donald joined in with the jokey banter;

“It’s always pleasing when you’re able to take cash out of Poulter’s wallet. A few moths fell out at the same time, but it was fun, we both played well. We certainly have a good chemistry between us.”

I guess the good chemistry remark means these two will paired together on Friday. Check out Ian Poulter’s twitter account to read how badly he is hurting from handing out hard cash to Luke and Lee.

The Medinah Country Club course has been expunged of all the punishing rough around the edges of the greens and along each side of the fairways. This tinkering with the course set up is supposed to encourage the big-hitting U.S. players to lash out off the tee, but straight-driving Westwood said finding fairways was always an advantage.

“I’ve played here pretty much all year, and I haven’t seen a golf course that’s had no rough and no rough around the greens. This is not a golf course that either team is particularly used to, and I can’t see how it suits one team or the other to be perfectly honest. I would say that the last time I played a golf course set up like this with no rough around the greens and no rough down the side of the fairways was The Belfry in 2002, and we set that up for ourselves.”

The dry conditions they experiencing at Medinah, and with no rain in the forecast for the biennial event, stopping balls on quickening greens would be far easier from the fairway, as it always is. Lee said finding the fairways was all important;

“I think there’s still a big advantage. It was certainly yesterday, I felt there was a big advantage to hitting the fairways still. The greens are not going to get any softer. They will firm up. It will be an advantage to hit fairways. Always is.”

Tiger Accepts Responsibility for The U.S Lean Spell at the Ryder Cup.

U.S. captain Davis Love III poses with Tiger Woods and the Ryder Cup during the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Tiger, Davis and the Elusive Ryder Cup, at Medinah/Reuters/Jeff Haynes

For a while Tiger  Woods reigned supreme over the golfing  world, winning  his 74 PGA Tour titles, including 14 Majors, but he has been unable to extend his golfing panache to the biennial competition that pits the U.S. best against Europe’s best. His performances at the Ryder Cup have been pretty average, some have even labeled him, Mr Joe Average, and on Tuesday Tiger accepted the responsibility for the dismal U.S. showing for the past 15 years. Tiger’s mediocre record of 13-14-2  from six Ryder Cup contests does not enhance the otherwise brilliant resume of  Eldrick Tont Woods, who has only  been able to celebrate just one team win from six Ryder Cup appearances. Tiger reported;

“Well, certainly I am responsible for that because I didn’t earn the points that I was put out there for. I believe I was out there, what, in five sessions each time and I didn’t go 5-0 on our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that’s part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team and I didn’t do that. Hopefully I can do that this week, and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling. I’ve always loved coming here, I enjoy playing in Chicago and for some reason, I’ve just had a lot of success here. I don’t know what it is but I seem to be very, very comfortable here.”

As they say in America, Bring it on.

Ryder Cup Crowds Will Be Hostile, says Davis Love 111

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III (left) and European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal (right) pose with the trophy in front of the clubhouse at Medinah

Team Captains Davis Love III,  USA and Jose-Maria Olazabal, Europe.

US Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III has intimated that Europe’s players should be prepared to expect a fiery reception from the packed home galleries as the USA Team battle to win back the Ryder Cup. Davis is a veteran of the infamously hostile crowds at Brookline 13 years ago, he said;

“When we travel over there it’s tough on us, and when they travel over here it’s tough on them. Chicago is an incredible sports town, and they are going to be fired up. The first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever seen. I expect a lot of passion, if we’re winning holes it’s going to get pretty loud out there, and that’s what home-field advantage is all about. We’ll try to get them going loud in our favour.”

Davis replied to suggestions that he has set the Medinah course up to favour his team;

” How do you get an advantage? we have 24 of the best players in the world, they are all pretty good at adapting to conditions. One thing I’ve never liked is rough. But the fans want to see a little excitement. They want to see birdies. We want to let these unbelievable athletes free-wheel it a little bit and just play. Medinah is such a big, long golf course, and I don’t think we wanted a lot of rough. It’s still going to be tough. But without the deep rough, it saves us the chip-outs and the grinding-it-out style of golf.”

Jose Maria Olazabal Ryder Cup Captain Europe,responded with these comments;

“I don’t see it as a disadvantage. We have always been a close team, and we have been in touch through the phone. They are all going to be there by the time I get to the hotel today. I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites. It’s obviously completely different to 15 years ago. Now they play over here, they are very familiar with the golf courses over here, with their opponents. They feel more comfortable about the whole situation of coming here to play the Ryder Cup. They realize that over the years they have been able to compete against the players here, and that boosts your confidence, which is a very important thing when you’re playing matchplay. This is a new Ryder Cup, we’re playing here against a very strong team, we’re playing away, the crowds will be rooting for the home team really strong so we have to be prepared for that. I’ve said it all along, I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites.”

There is a rumor that Jose will a pay a tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros by wearing Seve style trademark navy jumper and trousers and white polo shirt for Sunday’s singles matches, Jose did not confirm this story but simply said;

“I talked to Davis about that and he was very understanding. Seve is going to be there in our team in some way or form. We are going to miss him a lot. It’s the first time he is not going to be with us, and he was a special man.”

 

Coca Cola Tour Championship, FedEx cup. Snedeker Wins It All

Brandt Snedeker won the Coca Cola Tour Championship, and in doing so also won the FedEx Cup.

Emotions running high

Winner Brandt Snedeker/Greenwood/Getty Images

Brandt had a last round of   -2 under par 68  and a -10 under par total,  to easily win the Coca Cola Tour Championship by three strokes from second placed Justin Rose, who finished at _8 under par.

Luke Donald and Ryan Moore shared third place at -6 under par.

There was no “W” for Woods, or any of the other top five going in to the tournament, Snedeker was the only player who performed well on the last day.

Tiger Woods finished tied 8th at -2 under par, World number 1 Rory McIlroy was at -1 under par, Phil Mickelson at +1 and the other initial contender Nick Watney slumped big time to +13 over par.