The Ryder Cup build-up and match thread

Oh come on, if there was one thread I had to start this month, this was it!

:lou_sunglasses:

Sport Channels filling every spare second with highlights of my greatest moment and other lesser Ryder Cup classics.

Team Europe have already started heading across the Pond, with Rafa being the first to be screwed over by British Airways and downgraded from his Paid For Business Class seat to Economy "because they forgot to load enough Stewardesses on the plane.

Tactics, Psychology, Behind the Scenes Stories, Debate on whether Bubba should be picked as the last US player, and no doubt a few anecdotes about the Players wives can follow.

(As a warning, our “Lodger” of the past few weeks finishes his stay tomorrow morning and I will be able to start dribbling some of his tales for you, unfirtunately due to Super Injunctions, most of them told outside the Pub would get Pap Jailed, but the Bar Room Brawl at Valhalla and Champagne Bottles at Medinah are classics)

I’ll see if I can paste some pics as well along the way

So

Team Europe have too many Rookies. They are all fine golfers but what you never see is the pure hatred and bile from the US fans. Pots of piss thrown at players and their family members, the verbal abuse and the noise while they are in their backswing.

“Oh no it isn’t” you cry oh yes - there are 3 days of practice open to the Puiblic to watch before the actual Cup Starts on Friday. The TV Production Company record the crowd noises and dub them in on many Tee Shots and Greens before switching to the live sound when the ball is in flight.

Why did Poulter whip up the crowd noise on the 1st Tee at Medinah? No, not for the “Passion” It was because of so many individiual whisltes and shouts that made it a nightmare when the crowd was “hushed”

Why did the organisers allow "Family Members, Celebrities and Sir Alex Ferguson inside the ropes at Gleneagles (approx 150 people PER MATCH)? Because in the US they had been physically and verbally abused by the crowd. You won’t see many Team Europe Players Mothers on Course over there - all of them were at Gleneagles.

So back to Team Selection. Europe has too many Rookies, Don’t think Rafa Chris Wood or Thomas Pieters have the mental strength for that (Chris once pulled out of DP World Season Ending Tournament after ALLEGEDLY rushing from a “Off Site Air Hostess Compound” to the 1st Tee following a trip to Barasti - (He made it to the 8th Fairway before he passed out)

USA have far too many players out of form - even Lefty is trying to fuck with his swing and clubs the week before the Cup.

It could be closer than I would have expected - Narrow Win to USA probably by 2 points

Oh and look out for Tiger - he’ll be prowling AND will be back playing very soon

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When does it kick off and times please as I need to sleep between the UK football and whatever other sport is on.

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Practice Days will be Tuesday Wednesday & Thursday so there will be non stop Interviews, speculation about Mind Games, Tweets will get more and more spicy (after the opening salvo from Lee Westwood yesterday, but WORST of all there will be numerous bloody Fashion Updates (Yeah that will follow in the week for y’all)

TEE TIMES | All times BST (That is UK Time for you Phil!)

Friday and Saturday

**Foursomes **

1.35pm

1.50pm

2.05pm

2.20pm

Fourball

6.30pm

6.45pm

7.00pm

7.15pm

Sunday

Singles

5.04pm - 7.05pm (11 minute intervals). Finish at approximately 9:55pm

DATE, TIME AND VENUE

The Ryder Cup will start on Friday, September 30 and run until Sunday, October 2 with play commencing at 1.35pm UK time on the opening day.

The Championship will take place at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, United States of America.

Europe’s Ryder Cup rookies will rock the United States, says Willett
Sky Sports will broadcast live coverage of this year’s Ryder Cup and will deliver 240 hours of coverage on a channel dedicated to the tournament at Hazeltine National.

Indeed, Sky Sports 4 will become Sky Sports Ryder Cup from Monday September

26 and run for 10 days, with three days of Ryder Cup competition shown exclusively live on Sky Sports in the UK.

FORMAT

On the first two days of competition there will be one morning sesssion and one afternoon session (both afternoon UK time), with Foursomes kick-starting proceedings and Fourball concluding each day.

The competition will finish on Sunday with 12 Singles matches.

Foursomes

Foursomes competition sees two European players compete against two members of the United States party with one ball is shared between each team. This format is sometimes referred to as ‘alternate shot’ as players take it in turns to strike the ball until it is holed.

Before a shot is played, both teams nominate a player who will tee off from even holes, while the other will play the opening shot on each odd hole.

The winning team is the pairing which has taken the fewest number of shots after 18 holes and will be awarded one point. There are eight points to be won in this format across the opening two days.

Fourball

Fourball competition again sees two European players compete against two members of the United States squad, but in this format each player has their own ball. All four players complete every hole to its conclusion and the lowest score for each side is used as the score for each hole.

The winning team is the pairing which has taken the fewest number of shots after 18 holes and will be awarded one point. There are eight points to be won in this format across the opening two days.

Singles

The final day of competition sees 12 one-on-one singles matches with the winner awarded one point.

There are 12 points to be won in this format on the final day.

If the scores are equal after 18 holes in any format, both teams are awarded half a point. There are 28 points up for grabs across three days and the holders will retain the Ryder Cup if the scores are level at 14-14 at the close.

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You can find this all over the place - the link doesn’t work but can be found here

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Sunday

Accreditation Day

Most golfers are still completing so today is when most of the 3,000+ Volunteers will be arriving on site to collect their accrediation.

Volunteer roles vary from Helpers - such as Car Park Attendant, to Programme Seller to Information Points through to actually working in the Merchandising Tent

Typically this is a 12 hour unpaid day - 6 hours Shift working 6 hours off. In return you get a free ticket (220 Quid’s worth, Car Park - worth 50 quid for nearby access, plus the full uniform which with Waterproofs etc would cost around 200 quid to buy (IF it was sold) In addition you get 15 quid a day in Vouchers you can spend on Food Drinks or in the Merchandising Tent.

The gang in the Shop were shifting Millions of Pounds of gear a DAY and were only allowed one break of 10 minutes per hour, and received NO Sales Commission. At Gleaneagles this became a BIG ISSUE with The Sun and others writing “Exploitation” stories. - The Marshals.

At Gleneagles Tournament Days saw something close to 250,000 people on site over the 3 days - in a normal tournament that numer is spread across 18 Holes. At the Ryder Cup on days 1 & 2 that number is spread across FOUR holes. This is a logistical and security nightmare let alone the Diplomatic Tact of dealing with 20,000+ Pissed Joscks a day.

Based on Experience, Volunteers were put into teams ranging from getting players between a Green and a Tee (ie Crowd & Traffic Control), To be on a Fairway to stop people with Cameras or movement, on a green - ditto or Tee Box. These were Static positions - ie you stayed in the same place all day for 6 hours while players passed by.

Each Player then had FOUR walking Marshalls - this was a GOOD JOB to get as you were actually inside the ropes and got to see every shot your player made to act as close support move people out the way etc and to act as a first level of security (each player had one Cop assigned). THEN you had the Creme de la Creme - the Media Marshalls - who’s role was to shepherd the 150 Press, Photographers, TV Crew, families AND celebrities around the course - all of whom knew what to do expect the SAF’s & Michael Jordans and BOY did I have a row with a certain American jerk by the name of Bush - stuck up prick.

The Walking guys were involved in getting signed shit abck to the fans

Media? We made sure the buys got THE photos but also avoided flattening the fans or players or fucking up the TV pictures

The Vice Squad

Also today, Darren Clarke and his Vice Captains will be on the course starting to take notes on the layout of the course, starting to create actually Course Management Strategies for each player, so for these guys it is a day of hoping that the Mother in Law has arrived to do the Babysitting (Bet Ian Poulter never mentions that in an interview this week) :blush:

Me?

I’m not there. I am of course a Golf Guru and I WAS invited - they wanted me in the US for 3 weeks BEFORE the event to train Volunteers. Fuck Yeah I said…

Then I discovered - No hotel accomodation available and worst of all I have to pay for EVERYTHING no flight, no accomodation, no local transport and much as I would have loved to be able to do my bit Mrs D_P was NEVER going to let me spend $5k AND burn my entire annual vacation on a trip like that - and anyway, Ryder Cups are like buses, there’s another one coming in 2 years

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RIP Arnold Palmer, a true Gentleman and such a huge influence on the game of golf. The first tee of the Masters will never be the same again.

Who to follow on Twitter?

Obviously most people follow the Players but David is THE best Sports Photographer in the Wolrd & The Official European Tour Snapper, and a Bloody Nice Guy. As Getty Omages Sports he will be tweeting stuff that does not get in the papers!

David CannonVerified account

@Cannonball63

David Cannon Retweeted Golf Monthly@ GolfMonthly Sep 15

Legendary golf photographer @ Cannonball63 tells GM his favourite holes in world golf http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/courses/courses-galleries/david-cannon-favourite-golf-holes-53289 …

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Arrivals Day

The Europeans all got together last night after the Porsche Open in Germany to stay up late wand watch Rory steal the Fed Ex Cup and $11.5million in prize money from Dustin Johnson.

As the picture says, One - Nil to Europe, a real kick in the guts for Dustin to drop 7 shots when he really had been the best US Golfer and a massive return to form for Rory at exactly the right time.

So what happened? He went back to his original coach, put in hours of practice but the biggest impact (that cannot be spoken about was?

Equipment

All Season Rory’s Putting has been pretty below average, suddenly he has two huge wins in 3 tyournament starts. Why?

Because he has thrown his Nike Putter away. He earns around $25 million in sponsorship from Nike a year and they let him switch to a Scotty Cameron Putter.

But Nike aren’t bothered, they are actually pulling out of the Equipment Business. They don’t even MAKE Golf Clubs! (They are made by Bridgestone)

A Tour Pro Set of Clubs costs GBP 11,000. Even the Tour Pro ranked 2,426th in the world (no not me!) is GIVEN clubs by a Sponsor. Basically, Manufacturers are LOSING money.

Adidas bought Rosignol, who owned Taylor Made who are up for Sale (With Tiger being in the mix to buy them in a consortium)

Ping are the only Independent Company left!

Meanwhile Mickelson played like a drain this week because he was testing a new driver for the Ryder Cup (Really seems odd a week before)

The Media Centre will come alive with Prima Donnas bithcing about the Bacon Sandwiches being cold :wink:

What to expect today

Lots of Tweets from the Chartered Flight that took the European Tour, Officials, Media Team and Press to the States overnight, Players are given the choice of rooms with their Wives UNLESS they have young babies, when they must sleep alone (Yeah as if… no names - super injunctions - ask me in Milan) :lou_sunglasses:

Bit of Gym work, them Team Photos and a walk on the course. Some (such as Rafa and maybe Justin) will actually sneak an early practice round in and get photo bombed

Plenty of Press Interviews for The Stars of the Show

And VVIP’s will get their first look at the course

Oh, and yes I have moved on from Tiger these days.

And Yes Tiger is back in Tournament Golf in a couple of weeks

That picture? February this year Rory is a Plastic Manc. The picture was taken one week after our second one nil win at OT.

His Caddy set that up. Rory’s Comment? Oh FFS not AGAIN, won’t happen NEXT year once we got rid of the xxxxxx and got Jose in.

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Sorry Phil I commented on the Death thread nothing against AP by the way.

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Wow £11,000 for a pro set of clubs! Maybe my £100 set is the reason I can’t break 90 :lou_sad:

That or my lack of discipline.

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Training Day

Virgin Atlantic delivered the Team safely to Minneapolis for their transfer to the town/suburb of Chaksa. Plenty of Tweets of vital team members such as Chubby Chandler all over the place. (Who’s Chubby? - think of him as Golf’s established version of MLT & Franny - Sports Management/Agent ex European Tour Pro and consumer of most of the Corporate Goodies). The evenings now are all about THE SPONSORS.

The Ryder Cup is “Sponsor Free” but behind the scenes it is AWASH with Corporate. Boxes on every hole, Sponsoring the Equipment, PAYING to put your product in the Merchandising Tent, Free Clubs for the Pros, Tour Sponsors like Fed Ex & Coca Cola (and Emirates) will all have a Box and a snout in the trough. The players will join many of the CEO’s who of course are spending their own money (not)

No doubt some of the golfers will be sorting out their fourballs or threesomes for the week. (Full story in Milan on payment of Beer)

A few Presidents will bumble past, meanwhile the Caddies will be on the Piss as always.

The next 3 days will be about how Darren sets the tone for his boys. They will play 3 practice rounds OR maybe play two x 9 holes 1 x 18. The 12 players will be sent out in groups that Darren thinks will gel, lark about and generally have a good laugh. It really is a day out with your mates. At Gleneagles the boys played for five quid a hole - Banter and Mind Set.

Practice Day they will hit maybe two different clubs off the Tees, they will drop 3 or 4 balls on the same putt. They will walk to the bunkers around the green, the run off areas

Meanwhile the Vice Captains will be clucking around like mother hens checking Stimp Readings, looking for weather trends and deciding where to go for dinner

Tom Watson chose the Together as one approach

This was a mistake from the first second of the week. It meant that the “BIG PERSONALITIES” dominated the entire group, the rookies such as Patrick Reid were left on the outside because there were experts at every turn, Jim Furyk stomping round a green to putt from 800 different locations while the newbies “kinda got in the way”

Also it was a FAIL with the crowds, a massed ensemble going from Tee to Green looked like a Roman Army Tortoiseshell, little or no chance to ask for Autographs. - Team USA was one down and the show hadn’t even started!

Team Europe were out in 3’s

The Banter was not only between each other but also with the crowds. # lads out having a laugh also meant they had time to stop and talk, pose for selfies and sign shit PLUS accept the Hi-5’s and Good Luck wishes

(I must admit to feeling rather chirpy myself when one of the lads said “You’re the Dubai Crew? How the hell did you blag your way in here?” ) (Cheers Ian but tbf the Saints Shirt was a give away)

Of course, not many spectators actually realise that Practice Days are when it all happens at every golf event. Be it a Pro Am or a practice the players are chilled they sign stuff but BEST OF ALL you can actually take your cameras / phones with you and take pictures properly. All the photos in this thread (apart from a couple of obvious ones at the weekend) were taken by yours truly.

Elsewhere on the course you’ll have the Press plpaying a few holes and of course the Celebrity Ryder Cup which will only go in one direction.

But Practice is important for a lot of other reasons - The Media need to work on their Angles, Lens sizes to pack, The Marshalls Teams and Security need to learn the course plan the assignment of resources so that we can get people to all sides/points of a golf hole

We also needed to work out REALLY important stuff, such as where to go to have a piss. May not seem much but we burn calaories and fluids like mad in such “Elite Sport” and while it may have been fairly peaceful during practice, with 50-70,000 people rammed around 4 golf holes while on duty just how the hell do you get out and not miss a shot! (Or a shit)

So today? Prepare yourselves for hours of documentaries and bland Press Interviews about blah blah blah.

Tomorrow thanks to the idea from PS we do the mental side and THE real reason Europe achieved the Miracle at Medinah…

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Lol - That is what a set of Lynx Clubs Cost. Not the Woods, just the Irons. Lynx are an up and coming brand pushing into the big time. Titleist Nike?..

At least they actually make their clubs unlike most the others…

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Head to head stats

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Mind Games

PS made a good point on the Death thread about the sad loss of Arnold Plamer.

Elite Sport is as we have heard in a million interviews about giving 110%. Golfers are a strange breed, (look at me FFS), their sport is about an insane amount of muscle movements, timings, wind, slope and what they did the night before coming together about 280 times in 4 days. Every tournament is different, grass, temperature, wind, even the “weight” of the air (High/Low Pressure systems) which is why as Arnold said, Golf is about losing well as you do it far more often than when you win.

Golfers try and tune their physical and mental peak to certain times of the year - their training whether they got pissed up the night before.

Here is Andy Sullivan working on reaching his peak

But at the Ryder Cup the intensity is very different. Instead of 140+ Golfers ther are 12 of them, instead of 50 people watching some tournament from Prague, there are close to 1 billion watching. The FOCUS is insane.

Arnold will be a HUGE motivator for Team USA, after all, the Europeans wrote that book with their Win it for Seve approach over the last few years.

Olly played the EMOTIONS card in Medinah - the shots of him unable to watch or in tears, the atmosphere in the Team Room was on EMOTION.

Thing is - (as Team USA may find out) for 2 days in Medinah it was NOT enough. Europe were getting smashed UNTIL the singles on the final day.

So what ACTUALLY happened? The missing piece of the Mental Jigsaw was simple - it was ANGER.

Team Europe came out of their Breakfast meeting to walk to their Team Room for the final days briefing and walked past Team USA’s room.

Outside the door of that room were 24 bottles of Champagne, each bottle with the individual name of a golfer and their Caddy, the label read?

Congratulations to XXXX Ryder Cup Winner Team USA Medinah 2012.

Poulter started the rot, he went absolutely BESERK, after this the story has to go a bit vague, but the bottles weren’t there when Team USA arrived and there was a “Show and Tell” speech in the Team room that was WAY more emotional than “Win it for Seve” and Kaboom, the rest is history.

Already the mind games have started, in the Celebrity Ryder Cup the “Starter” played One D at full volume just as Niall Horan stepped onto the Tee and of course the crowd went nuts and the poor hacker has to hit a golf shot. Last night the players had Dynamo the Magician playing with their brains

We will see how that metal preparation stands up when the Rookies understand what Ryder Cup in the USA actually means.

When their wife or mother has been deliberately impeded or tripped up by the crowd, or when a beer glass full of urine in thrown in their direction.

Of course the TV producers will have their Sound Editing teams ready to swap crowd noise from Practice day with the poisonous Hope your family die of Cancer screams that the getinthehole guys has been preparing all year.

The reason so many family & celebs were allowed inside the ropes at Gleneagles was because of these issues in Valhalla and Medinah.

The TV side of Ryder Cup USA will hopoefully be a truly wonderful spectacle. Wearing Team Europe colours as a fan at the event is "rather lioke wearing a Gooner shirt in the Home End at WHL at a derby match.

The EU fans won’t be as carefree as these guys were

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Not a golf fan D_P (though usually tune in for the Ryder Cup) but enjoying your insight.

I would probably tune in more often if we got to see more nastiness :lou_wink_2:

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Not sure I would chuck a cup of piss at someone holding a driver.

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Where to put your money

Obviously those who watched 2 years ago on TV had yet another epic “cut and thrust” of emotional roller coaster watching on TV. It should not be forgotten though at one point USA were ahead in all but 2 of the Singles Matches and as Tom Watson (no less) said to me (honestly) while walking down the 14th with Lee & Jimmy Walker “I believe Team USA is trending at the moment. I have no idea what that means but it sounds good”

(I had spent most of the week in The Niblick in Auchterader drinking Real Ale with his Son Nick who was a support driver, Nick introduced us and it was a “Moment”)

Anyway back on topic.

Will we see this type of thing on Sunday?

Well of course not. For one thing I’m not there so there won’t be a Saints shirt in the middle of the celebrations!

But seriously?

Put your money on Team USA to win by 2 points or more.

Why will USA Win?

Rookies for one thing, look they talk the talk and walk the walk in the build up but get away from the hype and let’s go through the players

Rory - He has had an awful year, Main problem has been his putting, he has changed his grip, changed his stroke, now those woes meant that he then puts pressure on his Iron shots. He KNOWS he has to get every shot to within 8 feet to have a chance of making a putt, yet many holes require a safety first strategy of getting on the green, When you take on EVERY pin you end up playing yourself into trouble. The GOOD news is his new putter is working, Two big tournament wins in the last 3 and he is THE form golfer. He SHOULD earn close to maximum points DEPENDING on who he is paired with.

Justin - A Fighter, not at the top of his game but we all saw in Rio what he can do, the forgotten man of British Golf because he is so quiet. When I spoke to him at the DP World Championships after Gleneagles (getting my Ryder Cup Flag signed by the whole team) and I said I was there his reply was… “Wasn’t that the most fantastic weekend of our lives? I keep saying that and my wife keeps saying But what about our wedding/birth of our kids… Women will never understand it will they…” Justin will hold steady expect hims to win more points than he loses

Henrik - A worry. He had a fantastic run of form in July, but then his dodgy knee flared up. It cost him his chance to win big bucks in the Fed Ex Cup when he withdrew. He NEEDS surgery, but has not had time. He has not played competitive golf for several weeks and was not playing that well with his knee twinging. They will manage the pain but will he be on top form? Europe need him to be in the positive points zone, is he sharp enough?

Danny - Interesting one - He won down here in Dubai (and bought us a beer) but while he had been playing well he was like Justin under the radar. Augusta changed everything. He didn’t actually WIN the Masters, others LOST it. The problem is that Danny then became a Celeb, his Brother became a Twitter superstar (and got in trouble yesterday), and Danny & Nicole focused on their new Baby and being Celebs - attending Basketball Matches, Celebrity Chefs and being Pap’d. And his golf was actually shit for most of the summer when he bothered to play. He did return to form in Milan running Francesco a close second and of all the Rookies he has the experience to cope with the pressure. Think he will be in the positive points but only just

Sergio - Steady Eddie - done nothing of note, not been noticed much BUT won an awful lot of money by being consistent and in the Top 10 in many of the big tournaments. Like Poulter, he really comes alive at the Ryder Cup and will be a key team member positive points

Martin - Not a good year for him, His strength is his putting and short game and it has not been firing for him. Still cool under pressure and still likely to be a key player, but is his game sharp enough? Neutral or just positive in the points

Then we get the real Rookies

Andy - This kid can play. He did a Clinic down here with Darren Clarke where he could hit Fades, draws, cuts, stingers and even Flop Shots to order off the grass with a DRIVER! He has every part of the game, PLUS he is barking mad. He spent a couple of hours 2 years ago holding fort with the Dubai Saints crew after DP World and really is a genuinely GREAT LAD. He has the game for the Ryder Cup and he has the Mentality. The PROBLEM is that his form of late has been woeful, too many missed cuts and that lack of experience means he carries that from the Green to teh next tee and fucks up the next shot. IMHO the strongest metally of the Team and without a doubt he will be the next Poulter as years pass. Just don’t think his game is in shape, think he will be just negative on the points

Chris - Nice guy, and a lucky sod (anyone who goes to Barasti and pulls TWO Hosties must have something about him) Performed REALLY well at his first Open as an Amateur and has gradually become more consistent and picked up tournament wins after his maiden win in France. Being so tall he can caress the ball a long way, but he is “quiet” not sure he has the mental strength, think like Andy he will be neutral or just negative on points won

Thomas - Very good golfer who can hit a Long Ball and has a good short game, again has been in very good form winning in Denmark, just wonder whether this is too early in his career experience wise. Has the game and the previous Belgian Rookie fared well on his debut in US, again think he will just be negative

Matthew - Ah what a nice kid, trouble is he already looks like a rabbit in the headlights in many of the Tweets and pictures. Earnt his place with some fine golf earlier in the summer then fell to pieces. Got some form back in Switzerland. Matt’s problem is he is a tidy all round golfer, but he simply does not hit the ball far enough for Hazletine. It has the longest Par 5 in Ryder Cup history - 642 yards FFS. Hope I am wrong but think he will really struggle

Lee - Ah Mrs D_P’s boyfriend (Seriously another daft tale) Lee HAD to be in the team, missing Poulter GMac and the likes of Luke Donald, Lee’s experience was critical. The PROBLEM is that Lee has played shit this year (and the last few tbh) He always had issues with his 8/9 irons in the past and of late his putting has become weaker than it was. He did play better in the Mountains in Switzerland, but at Gleneagles in the Singles he was never in with a shout against Jimmy Walker. I would expect him to play well in the Doubles but depends who he is paired with Lee & Matthew could be a nightmare, Lee and Danny could be a dream team

Rafa - Strange chap seems most pleasant like all the Spaniards, but while Miguel bought $100 bottles of Rioja for anyone who would sit and talk with him at the Players party & Sergio challenged all comers to Table Tennis (Oh did you know Sergio plays golf Commando? Enjoy that thought when he is bending over a Putt this weekend!) Rafa just sat there and blanked everyone. Also a real grumpy git on the course. He always flatters to deceive, always plays “well” then invariably has one bad round. His Long Game is superb, but it is in his short game that he struggles, just doesn’t get the ball consistently close enough to the pin as say Rory does. Mentally not so sure he will hold it together. Obviously the Dream Team is Sergio & Rafa, but will he drag Sergio down?

If I could gamble down here I would bet on Team USA winning by 2 points or more

Darren - 9Wise head on those shoulders, not affected too much by years of swilling beer and chatting up other peopls wives (with Lee) (Mrs D-P got a slap for t hat but he did apologise and buy me a beer))

Picking the teams for days 1 and 2 will be key. Playing 5 rounds of golf under that pressure in 3 days would kill mere humans. Yet Rory Lee Sergio and Justin will no doubt be up for the fighth. Will Henrik’s Meniscus be up to that? Danny should be crucial but again he has never been there before.

One of the Key pieces of a Ryder Cup tactically is how you introduce the Rookies, do you leave them on the sidelines and ONLY put them out for their debut in the singles or do you try and introduce them in partnership with the old heads? It is a VERY dangerous balance. More than anything else team Europe cannot afford to leave the Rookies benched BUT will they then win enough points on Days 1 and 2 to scrape over the line?

I don’t think so.

Today’s ITK Story

Yesterday was all the Team Photo stuff. The World Press get to take pictures but the shoot is actually set up by David & Andrew from Getty Images. It kinda looks like this

So Team USA line up for their photo. One of their Vice Captains thinks he should be in at least one of the photos and "steps into the shot.

Andrew & David chirp up with “Oi Tiger, this is for players ONLY - get the hell out of the shot we haven’t got all day” They did it in a Brit humour way.

Tiger stormed off cussing and huffing.

Silly but that is how fragile the Mental Game is something so trivial can cause massive ripples through the camp.

For those in Milan, there are a few more details of Gleneagles Celtic Manor & Valhalla that simply can never be typed

Nice insights D_P, I particularly liked this description "a massed ensemble going from Tee to Green looked like a Roman Army Tortoiseshell"

Do you really think Europe have no hope? Any chance of another comeback in the singles if we struggle for the first 2 days(maybe fired up by the Yanks again)?

I’m a little bit pessimistic to be honest. The bookies favour the Yanks and your saying by at least 2 points.

How about a draw?

Personally I think we have a chance, but for the reasons I stated it is a very slim one. Medinah was down to something so simple as arrogance that pissed everyone off. (And in reality Olly’s emotional approach ALMOST lost us the Cup that year in the same way that Faldo’s inane Technical micro management caused the loss at Valhalla.

It is Technique and Mindset and Ego.

What I do know (and no doubt it will be reported on) is that one of the Vice Captains is an absolute nervous wreck - Poulter.

Elite Sport as we have seen at Saints needs Characters and Personality and Motivation but it also needs a lot of science and support. Perhaps twinning will be such a fine margin that it could come down to what they eat for Breakfast or how a Rookie responds to being soaked in piss.

Oh and Tour Pros? Well there have been a few over here this past month playing on the MENA Tour (Story for another day) but none of them think we will win.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful to be proved wrong around Midnight on Sunday!

I like the sound of DP World. Is it a theme park featuring Mickey Mouth?

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Oh Keep up GB, everyone knows that it is my personal golf event.

Hell, Saints fans even fly down especially to have the honour to walk round even with French Golfers

Sunday last match, need a point for a draw. Up steps? Who Phil, your our ITK and i like a risky bet. Also what a way to retain the trophy.