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Louisville Lip (part three)

Rob Hodgetts | 14:50 UK time, Friday, 19 September 2008

By Rob Hodgetts and Alex Trickett

Sermon on Fourth Street
Hats off to the US Ryder Cup team - they are determined to whip this town into a frenzy.

The Lip was enjoying a beer in Louisville's covered entertainment district called Fourth Street when an Azinger storm blew threw.

There had been chat of a US pep rally and sure enough at 2115 local time, up sprung Captain Azinger, looking like a cross between an over-excited preacher, a disgruntled Jerry Springer guest and a jack-in-the-box.

zingerpep438.jpg"USA, USA, USA," screamed the skipper, punching his fist in the air to cheerlead a delighted American crowd (and slightly bemused European one) in a manner that couldn't have been further removed from his measured and dignified speech at the opening ceremony.

You could argue that he crossed the "etiquette" line when he twice urged the baying masses to "cheer when they (the Europeans) miss a putt". This, despite having signed a statement on the back of one of the official guides saying, "While all good shot making should be applauded, the prospective misfortunes of an opposing player should never be celebrated."

Maybe he didn't suspect there would be spies in the area.

But you had to admire the enthusiasm when every one of the US team joined him on stage, resplendent in white "13th man" T-shirts, and started firing more shirts into the crowd.

Azinger then told the crowd that his team would be in blue on Saturday and red on Sunday and urged them to dress accordingly.

The Americans are set on recreating the fervent support seen for Europe at the K Club at their Valhalla and who can blame them.

As long that is, as cheering the other team's misfortune and other Brookline-isms are kept to a minimum.

Tales from the tee
It's funny what you hear at the tee.

Besides the standard "Geddinthehole", "You're the man", "Be the right club" shenanigans, you have the eagle-eyed golf gallery pros kindly sharing their expertise with anyone who will listen.

As Westwood drilled his tee shot at the 11th, Lip heard in this order:

"Nice shot", "It's going left", "It's going right", followed by applause as it almost hit the pin before rolling on by. Thanks for the insight lads!

That's not all.

Group Mickelson and Harrington were momentarily startled at the same hole when a fast-breaking golf cart started to slide down a steep bank adjacent to the tee area.

No harm was done, but it caused a few titters. Time to ban buggies (like phones) from golf courses?

Song for Europe
Football (sorry, soccer) fans have their detractors but their love of a good song or chant has its uses.

In the grandstands surrounding the 1st tee on Friday morning, the European fans were in good voice.


The home spectators were treated to such classics as "Walking in a Faldo wonderland", "Super Ian Poulter" and "Where's your Tiger gone?"

Even "Ole, Ole,Ole" has a certain ring to it. The American crowd had to make do with the tried and trusted "USA, USA, USA". Attempts to sing "Kenny Perry, Kenny Perry, Kenny Perry" died a bit of a death.

Look-alike (part two)
How about Soren Hansen and Marcus Trescothick?

Who's that hairy bloke?
While half of the Lip was making a name for himself in the Louisville newspaper, the hairier half was gaining local recognition for altogether stranger reasons.

It went something like this...

I was weaving through the eastern edge of downtown Louisville, close to the Ohio River, when I spied a rural looking chap in a red cap working in a yard with his mate.

I walked on by and suddenly heard the words: "You're a sissy" follow me down the street.

At first I assumed they were directed at his pal - what had I done to deserve them? But then I patted my head and remembered my long hair. Flowing locks for lads is just not how they "roll" in Kentucky and I clearly stood out a mile.

It was the matter of fact delivery (without an ounce of aggression) that totally disarmed me and meant that I wasn't the slightest bit offended by the episode (and I'd also like to point out that every other Louisvillian has been nothing but charming).

It struck me that after dozens of visits and a couple of stints living here, it is this sort of random encounter (for better or in this case worse) that fuels my continuing love affair with the States.

Only in America. Speaking of which...

Country croon (part three)
Cue soppy face and heartfelt expression:

"The best view in the world is on my front porch looking in."

You need to get out more.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm appalled to hear of Azinger's behaviour.

    To cheer poor shots at any golf tournament is disrespectful, both to the player and the game, but at the Ryder Cup, with all that it stands for, it's completely unacceptable. In Europe, we always allow a respectful silence after a bad shot, making it clear that any subsequent applause is for the winning play of the other team.

    So what kind of leadership is it when the captain himself urges the crowd to cheer missed putts?

    This kind of 'whipping the crowd into a frenzy' behaviour smacks of desperation, if you ask me!

  • Comment number 2.

    Azinger's reported comments re "cheering" the Europeans' missed putts is way way out of line.The European press should jump all over him at the next press conference.That way it may not develope into another "war in Kiawah" IF he then apologises!!! (Some chance-eh?).

  • Comment number 3.

    Couldn't agree more parLyn.

    The one thing that has really bothered me watching the Foursomes today has been the cheering when Europe have made mistakes. When Europe have hit the water the crowd have been cheering as loudly as they have done for a winning putt by the US.

    Very disrespectful and pushes the atmosphere from fiery to offensive.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Samarins' grubby post serves only to reaffirm the importance of sporting behaviour on and off the field of play. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a golf crowd to respect the ettiquete of the sport; this is not professional wrestling or soccer after all. As for the tired "whinging pom" snipe, it would be interesting to hear Samarin's view on Retief Goosen's reaction to losing at the last US Open (accusing Tiger Woods of flambing-up his injury for effect). Then again, I suppose he would not consider that as whinging but as admirably gruff South African candor?

  • Comment number 6.

    It should be said, after spending the past two hours on the course, that crowd conduct has been very good. The Americans I have seen have been respectful of the visiting golfers. And while they clearly cheer louder for their own, I'm not sure Azinger is getting the boisterous 13th man he wanted. Not yet that. It could all change if Boo and JB start making some putts!

  • Comment number 7.

    We would kindly ask the Brits to quit your bloody whinging and get over yourselves. As a South African, I am enjoying the morning and so tired of wimpy British "oooh, he said something I didn't like and unsportsmanlike " crying.
    There a few choice terms to describe the whingers...

    But I liked the article in general (it's the disgusting whinging I can't stand...).

    I will say Azinger is an over-zealous "God-Squad" boy but when have decided to annoint another St. Nick (and a Saint he ain't!!!)???

  • Comment number 8.

    Retief was an embarrassment at the time. There's no room for excuses or whinging.
    But the Brits go out of their way to look for any tidbit to declare "Foul, Foul!!!, you hurt my feelings and I now declare this match unfair as a result of it". Let the games be played. As the other posts state, let us witness the total behavior before we condemn the one indiscretion as a behavior of all...

  • Comment number 9.

    Love the new Euro Ryder qualifiying system,eh,how come Monty and Darren are'nt playing?Scandinavians in particular are listless and useless,need a bit of lump ginger up somewhere.I see this going very poorly indeed.Westwood and Weekley for a gummy Sunday match up.

  • Comment number 10.

    Glad you are enjoying Louisville. May I recommend that you get out of 4th St. Live and hit Bardstown Road. Louisville was built on booze, horse racing, and tobacco. The people here know how to have a good time. 4th St. is fine, but a touch antiseptic. Bardstown Road is full of great bars and restaurants (remember there is essentially no closing time here). It is where the expression "Keep Louisville Weird" was born. Enjoy yourselves.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am shocked to the core to hear that the Americans would stoop so low as to cheer missed putts. What is the world coming to? It simply isn't cricket to cheer an opponents' misfortunes.

    Why oh why do we continue to play the Americans when they behave like this? It is time to take a stand and pull out of this Ryder Cup competition. That would be the correct response to the uncouth excesses of the American public. Pack your clubs away and bring them home to Europe - the last bastion of decency and sportsmanship.

    This whole affair has the potential to do even more damage than another recent example of American disregard for accepted standards of behaviour - which caused the credit crunch. It's a disgrace.

  • Comment number 12.

    (correction) an opponent's

  • Comment number 13.

    louryder - You can indeed recommend Bardstown Road - anywhere in particular for me to watch LSU at Auburn?

  • Comment number 14.


    Molly Malone's, Big Dave's, O'Shea's, The Outlook Inn. All should have that game and many others on offer. Enjoy.

  • Comment number 15.

    Latest song from Bubba - its topical ....

    ' I sold my shack to pay for gas, those gasoline guys are muthas,
    I hope we win the Ryder Cup..come on Tom Lehman Brothers '

    Aw shucks Simon Cowell thinks its great ...

  • Comment number 16.

    Can we honestly say we're surprised by Azinger's comments - American crowds are renowned for being fiercely partisan and have got away with antics like this for years, so they'll need little encouragement - shouts towards Colin Montgomery of 'Mrs Doubtfire' are still pretty fresh (although I can't recall whethter that was in the Ryder Cup or not).

  • Comment number 17.

    Rob /Alex - love the blog

    Look alike ( Part 3)

    I've never seen Justin Leonard and HRH Prince Andrew in the same room together.... they're both golfers.. spooky eh ?

  • Comment number 18.

    Benfraesurb - you are absolutely right. The Lip has not spied them in the same room either - not that the world of English royalty and Texan golf crosses over all that often.

    Good one.

  • Comment number 19.

    As an American and an avid international golf fan, I fear there is a middle ground argument that is being missed here. An argument that only American fans are partisan is absoulutely ridiculous. Isn't every fan partisan? It's a fundamental characteristic of being a fanatic. I do agree there is no place in golf for applauding an opponents misfortunes, but on television I did not notice it at all. Sound editing might have been to blame, but I doubt it. It does seem that whenever an American athlete or team of athletes defeats Europe we are constantly having to answer to what Europeans deem as excessive celebration. After reading some of these posts, Europeans are not making a very good argument for sportsmanship to clear up the international whiner stereotype.


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