Scraps from the captains’ table
- 19 Sep 06, 05:53 PM
K CLUB - The first official day of practice for the 36th Ryder Cup is almost over so it is time to jot down a few things we have learned in Straffan on Tuesday.
First, Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam may well have plenty in common – golf, for starters – but they speak completely different languages. Never has Winston Churchill’s adage about two nations being divided by a common language been better proved than at press conferences held by these two men.
Second, Chad Campbell’s wife Amy is, according to A&R man Lehman, a phenomenal singer – “recording quality”.
And third, Woosnam spent “six months” just getting the Europeans’ water-proofs “right”. We did not learn if Glendryth Woosnam helped her husband with the sewing.
Among other tidbits picked up at the course were the nugget that Stewart Cink won the most skins (at $100 a pop) in his fourball with rookies JJ Henry, Vaughn Taylor and Zach Johnson, and Tiger Woods’ singing is so bad that Lehman could not recognise the tune – “I was completely lost,” the skipper admitted.
Most of this frat-boy hokum came from Lehman’s press conference and if there is a theme here in County Kildare this week it is “togetherness” – as in which team has more of this undeniably attractive but sorely elusive property.
Woosnam bangs on about a great spirit existing amongst the lads (is that spirit 80 proof, Ian?) and how they have shared “a few beers”. And then Lehman comes back with “Irish barbecues”, “guys bonding” and having “a really great time with our wives and families”.
Let’s hope if they have any more barbecues they make sure there are plenty of those redoubtable Irishmen “patio heaters” (say it with a silly Irish accent) on hand to keep the chill off.
And all this talk of togetherness just reminds me of that advert with Mark Williams which ended with him saying, in a thick Brummie accent, "...but most of all, we want to be together."
When Tiger’s name comes up, as it inevitably does, Lehman says the world number one has gone from wanting to escape to his hotel wing on Ryder Cup practice days at 1.30 to wanting to hang around “with the guys” until 5.30.
Well that settles it. The Americans definitely love each other more than the Europeans do. Or maybe not.
What I will say is that the Irish plus Lee Westwood fourball that practiced together on Tuesday was the most relaxed and chatty group I have seen on a golf course since Bruce Forsyth, Chris Evans, Meatloaf and that bloke from the West Wing played together at the All-Star Cup last month.
Maybe the Europeans don’t need to keep telling us how friendly they are because they just are that friendly with each other.
The other thing to say about Woosie’s words of wisdom is that he is clearly relaxing into the job of captaincy. He held his hand up about the nervous display he put in at the wildcards press conference but he has been pretty much word perfect here this week.
Get him on to touchy-feeling man-management stuff and he struggles (that’s more Lehman’s domain). Stick to golf and he seems to actually enjoy it. Well, not hate it, at least.
That’s probably enough from the captains, and me, for one day.
I’ll just sign off by saying I can’t see where the pre-event criticism of the course was coming from. It looks great and will no doubt look even better on television.
The closing holes, in particular, are superb. But with the course as damp as it is now (and set to get wetter) they are playing very long indeed. Only the very long Henrik Stenson went for the green in two at the par-five 16th and he put it in the Liffey.
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