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RYDER CUP BLOG

FROM OUR REPORTERS AT THE K CLUB, IRELAND

Woosie's half a dozen

  • Iain Carter - Radio Five Live golf correspondent
  • 7 Sep 06, 04:36 PM

Iain_carter55x55.jpgCRANS-SUR-SIERRE - Today was to be the day when I wasn't going to think too much about the Ryder Cup - this was Michelle's day as Wie was making her European Tour debut.

I was all set to get out onto the course and be in position to analyse the merits of the 16-year-old wonderkid - but the K Club can't be ignored.

The call came in that, yes, Woosie had taken half of his team over to the Ryder Cup course for some golf and team-building.

The captain and his assistants Peter Baker and Des Smyth were being joined by Harrington, Olazabal, Clarke, Howell, Donald and Casey. It seems it was all arranged at fairly late notice and they're staying overnight and flying home in the morning.

Even so, it seems odd that there was no pre-publicity. Surely this was a great indication that Woosnam's captaincy is in full swing and his team are coming together, the ideal riposte to Thomas Bjorn's early-week rant.

So while I was concentrating on the latest Ryder Cup developments, I was missing Wie - mind you her scorecard told the tale that she's clearly out of her depth at this level.

Mind you, losing an earring at the fourth and being put on the clock on the fifth didn't exactly help.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:46 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Don Noble wrote:

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry reading about the latest Ryder Cup Captaincy exploits. On Sunday the strategy seemed to be turn up on the Monday of the match & everything will be OK. Now I understand half the team have been over to Ieland. Who is planning all this? Are we copying the USA? It still all seems deeply embarrassing!

  • 2.
  • At 07:51 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Alan Oliver wrote:

A great call by the management team if you ask me and why not take those that do not already have previous commitments over to the K Club to scope it out and have a bit of pre-Ryder Cup 'craic'. I suspect that this is exactly what Darren may need right now. No press, no pressure, just a few holes with some mates on a course he is comfortable on. Play for a few "Euros" and have a couple of Guinness later on. Also, a good chance for the Captain to see how the course is being set-up as per his specs with a few 'senior' player opinions being considered.

  • 3.
  • At 08:01 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Kevin Clark wrote:

Is anyone concerned about the arrival of their tickets for the event?
I managed to get tickets for the Saturday and Sunday through the official channel, we were told that all would be sent out wk/comm 21st Aug. As of today I am still waiting, on all the websites etc. there are no contact nos onlu a "Contact us" mail service to which you get no response.
This is a poor way to treat the paying fan who had to pay for these tickets a year ago!!

  • 4.
  • At 10:13 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • DW Roberts wrote:

I totally agree with Alan Oliver. It seems Woosie can't do right in some eyes. He's acknowledged he didn't come across well in his wildcard PC and now has arranged a low-key get together for the Ryder Cup players who are free. I think that's a great move to get Clarke and some of the other boys together.

No doubt the same nay-sayers would have critcised him had this not been done, citing an 'ideal opportunity'.

What the hell is there to criticise about that? Despite his exposure as a player and vice captain, Woosnam is no doubt learning as he goes along. Cut the guy some slack.

The US team bonding is a necessity if they want to compete - they lack the intangible present in all European sides - true camaraderie and now the gulf in class has been gradually eroded from years gone by, they had to try something.

I applaud Tom Lehman for what he has done but a few get togethers, dinners and phone-calls doesn't overcome the relative detachment US tour players seem to have relative to their European peers with regards to their playing partners.

Get behind the team, let's enjoy the golf. Bjorn and Woosie seem to have put their differences aside for the cause. I personally reckon Europe will win by a couple of points.

  • 5.
  • At 10:15 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Tommy Nicolson wrote:

I'm getting all rather excited again. I rather like the thought of 'the boys' having a swing having a drink together behind closed doors. They're probably having a game of Tiger Woods on the playstation, all each playing 'as themselves' against Tiger Woods and subsequently debating who wants to play him in the singles on Ryder Cup Sunday. Anyone else feeling the buzz yet?

  • 6.
  • At 11:37 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

I am getting tired of Wie playing in men's events. How many will she play before she realises that she is not good enough. Sure, on a good day she may be able to scrape into the weekend. She has yet to win a ladies event, so why not try accomplish that first. Anika Sorenstam has won numerous events and given more guff than Wie for trying her hand at the men's game. She is also taking the spot of some journey man trying to make it on tour.

Michelle, go prove yourself on the ladies before wasting time on the men's circuit.

All this pre-Ryder cup stuff will mean little when the ball is tee'd up on the first day...

  • 7.
  • At 11:58 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Bisset wrote:

I think the familiarisation excerise can only be good for europes cause. Any more knowledge they can gain at this stage of the preparations must be more valuable than the americans could gain 2 weeks ago.
I am sure the other players who couldnt make it will be kept informed of how the course is being set up etc etc.
Good luck to our team, play well for Europe and play well for yourselves

  • 8.
  • At 12:29 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Phil Carter wrote:

As Iain Carter has rightly pointed out in his blog, Miss Wie is clearly lacking the standard of play rquired to compete in the European Tour. Her gender is not the problem, it's just that I'd like to see her set the female side of the game alight before being lauded as the next best thing in the male competitions.
After all, her standard thus far has been nothing short of abysmal but if she is supposedly a 'star' attraction for the paying gallerie's then I'm sure they must be feeling they are not getting what they paid to see i.e. a good standard of competitive golf.

Only half right by Woosie. Lehman got Woods and Mickelson there, our most experienced players are Monty and Ollie (who have just had a spat) but only Ollie was there.
Why no Monty to get team building going?
If Woosie was really a strong leader he would have made the calls early on Sunday before announcing the team, told everyone I'll see you tonight at the K club and last Monday could have been spent bonding in Ireland as opposed to getting into a spat with Thomas Bjorn.

  • 10.
  • At 01:22 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Marcus Chee wrote:

The ordinary person can never understand how these professional golfers, in particular the Americans, can fly from North America to Ireland to spend just 3 or 4 days "bonding" before returning back to North America for tournament play (Tiger Woods). My point is the travelling hurts more than helps the Americans to prepare for the Ryder Cup. Could they not have done it closer to home? I guess they have too much money. The "pros" play so much golf, I don't think it matters whether they go there now really makes a difference (in fact, the weather was lousy when the Americans were there). It was a poor choice from Tom Lehman part; Pacific Dunes, Pebble Beach or Whistling Straits would have been a better choice.
And I also think that Ms. Wie should stick to the Ladies PGA...enough is enough (publicity stunt). When will her parents and more importantly Ms. Wie learn? There is a big difference between Mens' and Womens' golf.

  • 11.
  • At 01:56 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Bill Watson wrote:

I think its great news that half the team decided to pop over on a day off. For me the biggest fear is of european complancey ..... the sooner we start to stop taking the Americans for granted the better.
Only a shame the whole team was not there.

  • 12.
  • At 01:59 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • charles wrote:

Just the right stuff, fully agree with Alan Oliver's post, no frills, just quiet efficiency.

  • 13.
  • At 07:27 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Derek Smith wrote:

Never mind Wie being out of her depth in her first European event,you only had to watch her in the Ladies open to see that she is a long way from the finished article.

  • 14.
  • At 08:32 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Jelmer wrote:


Hello Ian, How long/far does Michelle hit it of the tee. Is she really as long as the male professionals?
How would you rate her game technically?

  • 15.
  • At 08:43 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Jonesy wrote:

A bit like your post then DN.

Give Woosnam a break.

Criticised if he picks Westwood, criticised if he picks Bjorn, criticised if players dont go to the K Club, criticised if some players do go there.

The players that have gone this week are largely those that play a lot in America and who are not so familiar with the place, including Darren Clarke.

What an earth is wrong with that?

  • 16.
  • At 09:04 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Graeme Singleton wrote:

I was fortunate to be at the K Club yesterday and from what I could tell there seems to be a great atmosphere between those who were there I was especially pleased to see how relaxed Darren Clarke is looking. The course is as you would expect looking fantastic

  • 17.
  • At 09:58 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • chris ramsdale wrote:

Iain.

Michelle Wie - Political correctness gone wrong, AGAIN!

My brother is a professional playing on the europro tour, and along with all his other fellow tour members, they slog their guts out every week to be fully prepared for tour qualifying school come September. So what do they european pga tour committee do? - hand out invitations to an american teenager, probably at the request (£££) of her sponsors.
How is this good for european golf and the ryder cup team of ten years time? Has she ever made a cut at a mens event? - She should attempt to dominate her own tour first, before embarassing herself on the mens, and coming out with comments like "id like to play in the ryder cup one day".

Anyone else want woods,mickelson and donald to play on the ladies tour?

  • 18.
  • At 10:41 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Allan wrote:

Yes, she's only made one cut so far and yes a lot of it is all about publicity. But what people seem to be forgeting is that she is also still a 16 year old school girl! If you put a 16 year old boy with a +3 handicap in a European Tour event then he would most probably miss the cut as well! Anyway, as I understand it, Wie cannot play on the LPGA Tour properly yet because she isn't 18, I think thats right anyway! At the end of the day its getting her experience of playing in tournament golf, so I dont blame her. Plus, the sponsors are happy!

  • 19.
  • At 10:44 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • jimbo wrote:

If Bjorn's comments did nothing else then they may have spurred Woosnam into action. If i were fortunate enough to be able to choose my captain then i would have to go for Lehman, already he has shown his mettle and leadership qualities, the Yanks are up for it.....The most important elements are of course the golfers, when the going gets tough and inspiration and motivation are required, i am not convinced Woosnam is the man to provide that.

  • 20.
  • At 10:47 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Ray Penny wrote:

Is Nick Faldo involved in anyway with the preperations for this years european Ryder Cup team ? surely his experience and standing within the game of golf would be a great asset to the team. I know he will be captain in 2008 and may not wish to be seen to steal Woosnam's thunder but I would have thought we should be thinking about the good of european golf rather than an individual preference. Faldo may have had his critics down the years but he is the greatest golfer the U.K. has ever produced and his Ryder Cup record speaks for itself. In preperation for 2008 I would have thought Faldo as one of Woosnam's assistants would be common sense to most of us.

  • 21.
  • At 10:52 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • verney wrote:

+14 after 9, second round not complete. I am sorry but I wouldn't be far off that mark on an average day. I feel bad for the lads who are trying to cut a living out of golf. Annika S did a once off I think and that was entertaining and a novice idea. I am now seriously worried that the PGA allows this and note how common this is occuring. I never thought I'd say this but the PGA needs to take a leaf out of the MCC (yes, cricket) mentality. Chris is right in saying the men who make way for the woman, should take THAT place on the ladies tour. Could you imagine the nadbags; this would never be accepted.... back to the point, atleast Woosie is making an effort, will he be having caddie roll-call's in the morning to make sure they all turn up?

  • 22.
  • At 11:01 AM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Scott wrote:

I agree with the points about Ms Wie being out of her depth, but the problem isn't totally of her making. The LPGA of America will not currently allow her to play a full season. Because of her age she is limited to, I think, 10 events, so left with not much to do if she wants to play in a tournament. Omega, who are one of her megabuck sponsors say to her 'It would be cool of you could come over to Switzerland..' she says 'do they have a mall?', they send a jet for her and there she is.

I think it may change when the LPGA let her in, and she realises there's more to life than trying to compete with the men - which she must know is in reality impossible.

  • 23.
  • At 12:19 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Breffni wrote:

Chris,

I hate guys like you going on about Michelle Wie taking a spot that a journeyman pro could be taking & them losing out on income. If these guys are gonna criticize Michelle for not being good enough they need to take a look at themselves! Why are they journey men? Because they aint good enough either at the moment.

There is no difference except for the fact that having Michelle in a tournament provides more sponsorship, which means more prizemoney so that off the few journey men that did get in, they'll now get a little more cash if they make the cut. Wake up dude, it's clearly a benefit for the majority of pro's!

  • 24.
  • At 12:22 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Darren Thomas wrote:

I'm another supporting Alan Oliver's views. Surely it matters not a jot whether the get together is publicised. In fact, it may have been better not to be. Darren Clarke would no doubt have been delighted to get together with some old friends.

As for Thomas Bjorn moaning about having a better ranking, ryder cup ranking etc. Sorry Thomas, that only applied to the first five in each category. You knew that before you started the campaign and the two wildcards are exactly that! If Woosie based those on rankings he might as well had the top six in each list.

As for the Ryder Cup. I think a big bonus for the European team will be if Tiger Woods and partner are beaten in the first game they play. That would really knock the stuffing out of the Americans.

  • 25.
  • At 12:42 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Iain Lightbody wrote:

I agree with Phil Carter that Michelle Wie is making a mockery of the men's tour...if you want to see a sideshow then go to the circus!! This is not a male/female issue it is purely about golf and 'cutting it' at a certain level and on the current evidence she clearly can't!! Prove yourself on the LPGA tour and then...who knows. As for Ryder Cup aspirations what a complete joke... I hope Nike don't live to rue a $10m dollar bad investment! All mouth and no trousers so far!!!

  • 26.
  • At 12:50 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Ben Holland wrote:

I see this Ryder Cup blog has gone a Wie bit off the fairway if you'll forgive the pun.

On the K Club visit. It just looks to me like it is a bit of a last minute thought perhaps motivated by criticism of too impersonal an approach by Woosie. When all's said though I think Lehman has done a fantatic job but his efforst shouldn't be enough to overcome a fundamentally different tour approach between European Pros and our American friends so Europe to retain but not without a few grey hairs popping up on our heads methinks.

As for Wie I think the argument should not necessarily focus on her ability - or not - to win a man's tournament. Her LPGA results show an inability thusfar to close out a win which, if being generous, is down maybe to a lack of maturity but to be ungenerous suggests her mental game may not be there and all this pressure is probably more likely to induce burn out.

A different perspective is that her attendance, as does Tiger's presence, boosts spectator numbers and TV audiences and while to many that is all about generating ££s or $$s, to others it is about raising the profile of golf as a game and getting more people involved in it, more young people and more females. I'm a 30 something male but i dislike nothing more than golf to be thought of as elitist, snobbish and an old man's sport. And if that means a wunderkind at the expense of a journeyman to change that perception then so be it. Sponsor's exemptions are just that and its the same as Woosie picking Westwood, there's only the privilege to invite, not right to be asked at work here. So one journeyman would be picked over another as a favour or similar and would he have any more chance than MW of winning. Probably not.

  • 27.
  • At 12:57 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Trevor Hawkins wrote:

Get off woosnams back.
He is the captain. He makes the decisions. Let him get on with it.
The 12 that are playing appear to be happy with the situation and arrangements so lets get our voices in tune and give the lads the support they deserve. I for one am really looking forward to this competition. GOOD LUCK TO ALL 24 GOLFERS. Lets hope golf is the winner.
As for Miss Wie the less said the better. I watch her antics on the 18th on day 1. How on earth does she not know where the hole is on the 18th green. She asked for a ruling instead of walking up the fairway to look for herself. Go and establish yourself on the Ladies tour and then think about the mens tours. Remember the best lady golfer (annica S) only needed one go to realise she was out of her depth..

  • 28.
  • At 12:58 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Scott Davies wrote:

I agree completely with the political correctness gone mad that is Michelle Wie this week. Without wanting to come across as sexist in any way I think the professional ladies in most sports should (and probably do) realise that they will never be able to compete with men at the same level. Golf, Tennis, Football, Athletics and more are all sports where physical strength plays a part and this will inevitably see the men come out on top. Men are not necessary more talented we are just physically stronger. Please come to terms with this or suffer the consequences when men infiltrate the womens events, as I'm sure we will be entitled to do, and clean up.

  • 29.
  • At 01:03 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Roger wrote:

All references about Michelle Wie taking the spot of a journeyman pro are completely wide of the mark.

Michelle was given a sponsor's invite to the event, and the sponsors are free to invite excatly who they like, seeing as they are paying for the whole shebang in the first place. It's great business for them also as the interest in Michelle puts thousands on the gate.

Whether she's good enough to compete at this level is an entirely different debate.

  • 30.
  • At 01:59 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • claire wrote:

are you blokes so insecure you get offended by one female attempting to break down some barriers and see if she can cut it at a higher level?

no chris ramsdale, allowing "woods,mickelson and donald to play on the ladies tour" is not an equivalent argument - just as allowing a talented 18 year old to play in an U21 team is a good idea for his/sport's development - but allowing a 21 year old to play in an 18 year old event, isn't.

and this argument that she's talking places from journeymen is nonsense. she plays on a sponsors invite - not qualification - and they're free to invite whoever they like.

three-day eventing is a mixed sport, but zara philips any many others have proved they are good enough to win against male riders.

maybe golf could be too - I guess we'll never know while we continue to - in Britain - allow the sport to continue its elitist/sexist practices that actively hinder its development.

it is hard not to feel that these arguments against Wie come from the same amateur golfers who vote at their own clubs to keep in place those rules that blatantly discriminate against women (and juniors for that matter) - and therefore actively hinder the development of the women's/junior game - for instance limiting the times they can play (and the parts of the clubhouse they can use).

i love the game of golf but hardly play now because this kind of stuff makes me sick.

  • 31.
  • At 02:29 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Stuart Thomson wrote:

Well isn't Alan Oliver and his comments flavour of the month.I have to say I'm gonna jump on that band waggon because Alan makes total sense. If some of the guys are available then why not. DC probably liked the fact that there were no press or cameras just so he could get a feel of a team environment and see the guys. The bloke deserves a few pints with them too. It really is about time people let the boys and the captain get on with the important task in hand of giving the US another spanking and bringing home the cup!

  • 32.
  • At 02:53 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Greydog wrote:

On the Thomas Bjorn topic - as far as I can see, he wasn't next in line on either list. I think Paul Broadhurst, Carl Pettersen, John Bickerton, Johan Edfors and possibly one or two others were ahead of him in the queue! And then Ian Poulter probably has a good shout too.

  • 33.
  • At 03:10 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Jonesy wrote:

31 & 32 - both very good posts.

  • 34.
  • At 03:45 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • ben jankowski wrote:

what noone has mentioned that I have seen about the Wie thing is she sells tickets. I'll be she had a bigger gallery than other players of similar scores. I wouldn't be surprised if she got an appearance fee if not from TOUR than from sponsors. Forget that she's not competitive, it's all about the Benjamins, as American's say. if anything, sponsors and organizers are exploiting a girls ambitious dream in order to sell tickets.

  • 35.
  • At 04:32 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • James wrote:

re:34 ....sell tickets to a men's event. Money that could otherwise go into women's golf. Even if Wie were good enough to win on the tour she shouldn't be there. Should it become standard for decent women to move over (even for only a few events) to the men's tour it would completely devalue women's golf. With the top women playing in men's golf the attraction of women's golf to the sponsors would markedly decrease. It would be viewed as second-rate rather than equivalent (although with poorer golfers on the whole). With less money the exposure of women's golf would fall. The number of girls taking up the game would then fall. The quality of the women's game would then also fall, reducing the sponsorship money, exposure, etc. etc. Ultimately, allowing women to play on the men's tour is going to do nothing other than stop women playing golf - something no-one wants.

  • 36.
  • At 04:41 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Nick Bayly wrote:

Michelle Wie counts Omega as one of her main sponsors, and guess who's sponsoring the European Masters? All title sponsors get one or two sponsor's invites, so Wie was an obvious choice. The space was never up for the next non-qualified player in line, so no-one has lost out. The reason why companies like Omega get involved in golf is publicity, so Wie's presence in Switzerland will benefit all players in the long run, as businesses will only put prize money up for events when they are sure to generate public interest.

  • 37.
  • At 08:02 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • ben jankowski wrote:

James: I don't disagree with you about where the money SHOULD go but if YOU were the director of tournament x and you want to sell tickets, you do not care about the distribution of funds (women's vs. mens). Arguably if more woman were marketable enough to sell tickets and increase ticket revenue AND felt like doing it (again one could argue Team Wie and Michelle's dreams are being exploited)they would, trust me. In todays day and age, the almight euro/ dollar/ yen is almighty. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • 38.
  • At 11:29 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Gaida wrote:

I think it's a great idea to head over early, in particular it will be a great relief to Darren Clarke.

Our golf group, all in our 40's, band together when there's a loss in the family. It's an important part of the healing process, he can be with freinds, have a beer, have a laugh and have a cry with his mates.

Well done Woosie. Go Europe, best wishes from OZ.

Peter from Sydney

  • 39.
  • At 06:35 AM on 09 Sep 2006,
  • J Slade-Baker wrote:

Woosnam pre tournament does not give me the confidence that Bernhard or Sam gave,with regard to getting the team together.

The wild card idea is to put into your team two players that, irrespective of their position in the rankings, will do the business for you on the day.

With due respect to Clarke one has to wonder if he is in the right frame of mind. Westwood would have been one of my choices and the other from Bjorn,Broadhurst or Poulter.

  • 40.
  • At 11:15 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

Regarding Michelle Wie, I agree she has been given a sponsors invite which, as she is limited to a certain number of starts on the LPGA, is bound to accept.

However, this does not make the situation acceptable. Other than the increase in gate and tv revenue caused by people watching a "novelty", who benefits? Michelle can't be benefiting from the negative coverage she receives or from the confidence bashing she must feel by not coming close to showing her potential. She's a 16 year old - negative attention must be getting to her. Her sponsors will surely start to see the coverage as negative eventually, not all press is good press.

It certainly is not helping the game of golf either. By showing women that they are not able to compete live on television does not help. Showing Annika representing womens golf on her own tour with displays at least as impressive as anything Tiger has done over the last 10 years is surely a better roll-model. The novelty has worn off in my opinion and, judging by most of the posts above, I'm not alone.

The fact a sponsors spot would not go to a guy struggling to pay his mortgage is a fair point but Wie has stated she has asperations of playing regularly and winning a card and a Ryder Cup spot. She can, and hopefully will, make a career and fortune on the LPGA tour. Men can not. It's as simple as that. She has the opportunity to have financial and golfing success in a tour that men can't play on. Why should she be allowed to also have another pot to pick from? If it's about success, and let's face it, it won't be about money, then if she ever gets bored of winning the Ladies' Majors, we can think again.

Women and girls are actively encouraged at many clubs and especially in national junior coaching schemes. Golf is moving away from the old boys image. Positive roll-models for girls are essential and a young, succesfull, female Tiger, beating all the older generation of women and bringing a new generation of women through with her is surely the path tho be encouraged.

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