Louisville Lip (part three)
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.
"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.