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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Few Ryder Cup Notes

Today I'd just like to sum up a few of the things that were said in the Tuesday press conferences at the Ryder Cup, in case you didn't hear much of them.

The rookies on both sides seem pretty loose. Monty remarked about the Euro Team during his conference, and the players on both sides seemed relaxed during their practice rounds. Phil even took a bet that he could hit one of the TV cranes... and did it, which the gallery seemed to enjoy a lot.

In fact, everybody seems relaxed. Luke Donald's comment was typical: He said reports that he flew over with the US Team were wrong -- they offered to bring him over, but that he'd have to ride in the toilet. He flew British Airways instead.

Padraig Harrington is probably going to play alright. Monty remarked that Paddy made 3 eagles on his own during the practice round, though his partner Luke Donald said the third one actually lipped out. Ian Poulter noted that he and partner Ross Fisher got soundly trounced by the pair.

The Euros may be expecting a Tiger bounceback this week. Shane Bacon has already said he expects a big week from Tiger, but Rory McIlroy's qualification of his post-Bridgestone comment that he "fancied" his chances against Tiger during his presser may indicate some second thoughts. Tiger, when asked about Rory's earlier comments, simply smiled and said "Me too."

As an aside... I know a lot of people think Tiger is just in denial about his play, but I disagree. Some people talk about confidence and belief in oneself, but what Tiger feels is better described with the word "knowledge." To Tiger, his ability to play well is as much a fact as the sun coming up tomorrow, even if he's struggling right now. He was clearly depressed after Bridgestone, but I think his work with Sean Foley has renewed that sense of knowledge. In Tiger's mind, his former level of play will return any day now... and match play is the perfect scenario for that, since a bad hole is just one hole lost. I wouldn't bet against him this week.

At least for the Euros, "tweeting" is not forbidden. According to Monty, it's more about "when" and "what." Poulter's apparently already tweeting, so we'll have to see what happens with the US Team.

The captains are still playing it close to the vest. While we can guess at some likely pairings (Woods/Stricker, Mickelson/D. Johnson, McIlroy/McDowell, the Molinari brothers) nobody on either side is wiling to admit anything yet. This is pretty much standard Ryder Cup posturing, of course.

And Sergio asked to be an assistant captain. I think this may have been the most surprising bit of news we learned... and it's good news. However depressed Sergio may be about his ability to play right now, he apparently hasn't lost his excitement for the game. In fact, Monty said quite a bit about Sergio's enthusiasm in the team room. As long as he hasn't lost that, there's still hope for his game to rebound.

Those are the things that jumped out to me from Tuesday's pressers. Did anybody out there hear anything important that I missed?


  1. I'm not convinced that Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are a match made in heaven. Mickelnuts can show up at any time and put his partner in some very tough spots. Johnson doesn't seem like the creative escape artist it takes to be a Mickelson partner in alternate shot. If they DO get paired together in better ball, it will be interesting to see what happens if both of them are having a tough time finding fairways.

  2. I agree with the Phil/Dustin pairing. It might work in alternate shot, since they play a similar game (aka "bomb & gouge"), but Phil and Dustin both need four-ball partners who hit fairways.

    Still, friends usually get at least a "test" pairing, and those two seem to want to play together.

  3. how about "bomb...look out women and children...where did it go...then pray for a miracle" instead of just "Bomb and Gouge" ? :-D

    The theory behind B&G is not carrying if you hit the fairway, but it has to be far enough down to have a short club in your hands and not so far off the fairway that you can't get to the green.

  4. I know that, in most cases, B&Gers don't care whether they find the fairway or not...

    But in this case it might be better termed "bomb & send a search team," based on descriptions of the Ryder rough. ;-) That's why I think a Phil/Dustin pairing might be ill-advised in Wales.

  5. Another good title - but whatever you call it - those two can put balls into some very bad places that will lose a match in a big hurry.