- 24 Sep 06, 09:31 PM
K CLUB – So much has happened here in the last two hours that I almost don’t know where to start. What I do know is that the much-maligned Weston Aerodrome car park is scheduled to close in an hour and a half so I better get on with it.
Perhaps the biggest revelation of the last two hours is that the rumours were true – Guinness really is free in the press tent. Can you imagine how rude about the opening ceremony I would have been if I had known that earlier?
Anyway, back in July at Hoylake, Rob and I inaugurated a younger, hipper rival to the very staid Association of Golf Writers. We called this thrusting new body the Royal Order of Golf Editors and Reporters (ROGER) and we dished out some awards, the Rogers.
We all know that Ian Woosnam and Europe have held onto a certain little trophy but who else will be leaving here with an award? Read on for the full list of Ryder Cup Rogers.
- 24 Sep 06, 08:53 PM
K CLUB – Admittedly, they had mostly had a few drinks, and Ian Woosnam more than made up for those who hadn’t.
But the European Ryder Cup team demonstrated in their final press conference the togetherness and camaraderie that swept them to victory.
And they proved the perfect finale to the Dublin comedy festival. In fact they stole the show.
Forget Little Britain, Ross Noble and the rest who played the capital this week, these guys do gags AND golf.
- 24 Sep 06, 05:42 PM
K CLUB - Sensational scenes from the clubhouse balcony as Ian Woosnam's band of brothers showered themselves in champagne.
The sight of Darren Clarke downing a pint and then saluting his public will live in the memory and most likely feature on every front page tomorrow.
No-one drank more than captain Ian Woosnam, who unfortunately jettisoned some bubbly back out of his nostrils before following Clarke in draining a glass of the black stuff.
Not being privy to the inner circle of the team, we'll never get to hear some of the best lines from the party. (And if we were there, I doubt we'd remember them)
So instead we'll have to make do with the official stuff. Still, sums it all up nicely.
- 24 Sep 06, 03:46 PM
K CLUB - So there is to be no Irishman in a lake scenario this time...but who cares!
The soft, rookie underbelly of the US team always looked vulnerable and once their top order had been dealt with it became a race to the line for Europe's middle order.
The crowd wanted an Irishman (and ideally a certain Northern Irishman) but will definitely settle for a Swede. Well done Henrik Stenson.
Having won "only" half a point prior to the singles and struggling early on against opponent Vaughn Taylor, the 30-year-old from Gothenburg finally started to open his shoulders and justify his world ranking of 11.
- 24 Sep 06, 03:12 PM
K CLUB - Oh Woosie, you old romantic, you!
Sharon Ni Bheolain, the single saving grace of the opening ceremony, said you were "a Celt..from across the Irish sea!" and she was clearly on to something. Talk about giving the paying public they want.
In putting Darren Clarke seventh in your singles line-up you sent out a message to your top six - get our boy into position for the story and photo that will define this weekend.
As things stand, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey have done their bit, and Luke Donald and Paul McGinley are scrapping away to tee Clarke up for yet another Irish victory jig at a Ryder Cup.
- 24 Sep 06, 12:34 PM
K CLUB - Rain alternating between heavy and torrential is not enough to douse the smouldering fires inside every single spectator at the K Club on Sunday.
The first tee grandstand is already packed and they huddle five deep behind the practice ground, waiting, hoping, dreaming. Soaking.
It’s 1020 BST, less than an hour to go before the first singles match tees off and there’s not a player in sight. Not on the range, the chipping area or the putting green.
- 24 Sep 06, 11:17 AM
K CLUB – Top of the mor…(only kidding, Irish readers), how is everybody feeling today? Confident? Nervous? Depressed?
Rob and I have just walked past Colin Montgomerie doing his cabaret act on the practice range – the Scot is first up today and watching him stride around like lord of the Ryder Cup manor it seems that everything is right in the world.
Not that my American compadres would agree. I have just walked past one who was giving a very forthright interview to Irish television. Over-paid, over-hyped and it’s so over seemed to be the gist of comments on the US team.
I think he’s right…with one caveat, the “B” word.
- 23 Sep 06, 07:46 PM
K CLUB – Anyone not feeling just a tad revved up for Sunday’s singles?
YOU BET WE ARE. And that’s meant to include both sets of supporters.
Sure, Europe are in the hot seat, but we’ve been here before, think Brookline 1999, and the Americans can halve the lead very quickly. And then anything can happen. Game on.
And, as usual, there was some great chat behind the scenes. Here’s the quotes of the day:
- 23 Sep 06, 03:28 PM
K CLUB – So what have we learned since lunchtime (there’s another meal reference for you, Garrett!)?
One, Tom Lehman doesn’t read this blog. Or if he does, he doesn’t care for its opinions.
And two, either NBC Sports or the staff in the media centre do because our audio feed to the US TV coverage has been stopped. This is a shame because Johnny Miller and the gang agreed with me about giving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson some Ryder Cup rest.
So what did Cap’n Tom do this afternoon?
- 23 Sep 06, 12:21 PM
K CLUB – Absorbing, illuminating, tense, amusing. And a massive privilege. Not many Saturday mornings come close to leaning against a tree just yards from the action as four Ryder Cup matches unfold in front of you.
The tree in question, an oak, stands behind the par-three 8th hole in one of the most picturesque corners of the K Club beside the River Liffey.
It’s 0930, the grandstand is full and an expectant crowd stands patiently in broken sunshine waiting for the fourballs.
- 23 Sep 06, 11:53 AM
K CLUB – Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, JFK, Richard Nixon, Mike Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, we are beating them all! George Bush, can you hear me? George Bush, your boys are taking one hell of a beating! One hell of a beating!
I have just returned to the media centre after watching two hours of the worst golf played by Tiger Woods in these islands since the world number one got blown off course at the 2002 Open at Muirfield.
After 27 holes of fourball, the American superstar has carded only three birdies. There have also been at least three bogeys. And that is with matchplay “gimmes”. But he is far from being the only US banker to fail to show up for captain Tom Lehman this weekend. Phil Mickelson has delivered only one birdie in 28 holes with his own ball.
Tom, time to think the unthinkable, old chap. Bench your top two and unleash Vaughn Taylor.
- 23 Sep 06, 08:15 AM
K CLUB – Morning! Day two has dawned dark and broody but the course is buzzing with expectation.
Europe lead 5-3 and could, theoretically, surge to within one point of retaining the Ryder Cup today. No-one in their right mind expects that to happen of course.
Except, that is, for my esteemed colleague here Matt, who confidently predicted over breakfast, “If we win this session, it’s all over”.
Ian Woosnam, looking more chav than captain with his baseball cap perched on the back of his head, said: “I’ll be happy with 2-2 this morning.”
- 22 Sep 06, 08:07 PM
K CLUB – Seven of the eight games go to the last, all 12 of Europe’s players feature, all of them contribute at least a half and Monty holes a clutch putt on the 18th. What a day!
Sergio Garcia was at his sparkling best, Tiger Woods toiled and Darren Clarke delighted the home fans with an emotionally-charged display of skill and determination.
European captain Ian Woosnam could hardly contain himself he was so excited at the end, but he will know the Americans showed plenty of quality and heart themselves on this first day – there is plenty more meat on the bone of this Ryder Cup.
But if the Europeans shaded the matchplay honours on Friday, who won top chat award? Here are our quotes of the day:
- 22 Sep 06, 04:21 PM
K CLUB – We’ve just kicked off again after the interval on day one and there are a few things I noticed out on the course.
One, the Americans are here. They had been a bit scarce during the practice days but they’ve pitched up today. I know, I was standing behind two of them at the 12th as they billowed cigar smoke into my face.
And I’m fairly sure they were Cohibas…aren’t they banned in the US? Oh well, getting a decent smoke is probably worth the journey, never mind the golf.
Michael Jordan was chugging away on an enormous cheroot too as he watched Tiger & Jim take on Monty & Porridge. But I couldn’t get close enough to tell if he was busting any sanctions or not.
- 22 Sep 06, 01:27 PM
K CLUB – How can you not be gripped by this?
The morning’s fourballs have epitomised what the Ryder Cup is all about. Two matches were seemingly home and hosed, three up with holes running out.
But four men, two from each team, found the inspiration to mount a fightback against overwhelming odds.
Was it sensational golf? No, but who cares. It was drama, and that's what we like.
- 22 Sep 06, 01:07 PM
LONDON - George Bush senior was in jovial form as he bantered with BBC Five Live Sport's John Inverdale at the K Club.
The former US President showed off his Ryder Cup and PGA badges, admitting: "I can’t play golf worth a damn but I've got all these pins going on!"
Bush, 82, used to play off 12 but admitted these days his creaking joints had taken his handicap into "the stratosphere".
Bush, seen here at the K Club with Amy Mickelson (L) and Amy DiMarco, partners of US team members Phil and Chris, said:
- 22 Sep 06, 07:41 AM
K CLUB - Oh lordy, here we go.
Channel 4's inspired scheduling of Happy Gilmour last night has teed things up perfectly at a K Club that is becalmed weatherwise but utterly bongo golfwise.
Just scoffed a bacon roll but before I dash off to see Tiger & Jim get things rolling against Monty & Padraig let's get a few things down in black and white.
Rob is going for a 15.5-12.5 win for Europe with Sergio top-scoring for us and Tiger for them...the git. I, obviously, have to say something different so I'm going for 15-13 to us with Padraig and DiMarco leading the way. Let's get it on!
- 21 Sep 06, 07:18 PM
K CLUB – It seems a sporting event can’t start these days until 60 dancers have re-enacted a piece of literature, a crazy-looking “world musician” has performed a medley of his or her “hits” and a local television personality has spent an hour telling us how great the host country is.
When even last weekend’s West Brom v Southend game had some Andy McNab-type abseiling from the top of the stand to deliver the ball I suppose the Ryder Cup’s opening ceremony was always going to be more than a brass band and handshakes.
But did it meet its objective of “establishing the benchmark against which all future opening ceremonies and host nations of the Ryder Cup will be judged”? Wales might be worried but I think America, with its legions of Disney employees, will be OK.
Somebody asked us earlier to call things as we see them, so here is my blow-by-blow account – and tribute to Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses – of Thursday’s extravaganza (fans of art installations or contemporary dance may want to stop reading here).
- 21 Sep 06, 05:49 PM
K CLUB - Warm and fuzzy, forget that, let’s get going!
We have dealt with the warm and fuzzy 'crap', let’s get down to business. It is great to see the mutual admiration the players from each side of the Atlantic have for one another. But, is that why we are here? The answer to that is a resounding, NO!!!
I, for one, am ready for tomorrow morning’s play to get going. I am tired of this big build-up. I, for one, am ready for some blood!!! I am ready to see who can handle the pressure of the most intense golf event in the world.
Will it be the Europeans, who on paper, should win? Or will Tom Lehman’s underdogs pull out an unexpected victory?
- 21 Sep 06, 05:32 PM
K Club - Mind coach Jamil Qureshi popped in to see the blog this afternoon and spent some time answering some of your questions.
Jamil is a top sports psychologist, and he is at the K Club this week to help out the European team.
His role is to help captain Ian Woosnam and his assistants get their points across effectively in speeches and meetings, and to support the players with relaxation and stress-busting techniques, using a mixture of hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming.
But he is also a professional magician and often gets roped into the performing the odd trick, such as earlier this week when he got the players to draw Colin Montgomerie and then accurately identified who had drawn which picture.
"That was just a bit of fun," Jamil said. "I'm not really here to entertain, I was bullied into it more than anything else. But when people hear you also do magic for a living you're always going to hear, 'Show us a trick'."
- 21 Sep 06, 04:31 PM
K Club – Ryder Cup captains Ian Woosnam and Tom Lehman have laid their opening cards on the table. And what hands.
The debate has less than 24 hours to run before we find out what beats what.
Both skippers have gone for arguably their trump cards first up.
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk against Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie is a mouth-watering clash to kick off the 36th Ryder Cup at the K Club.
- 21 Sep 06, 01:09 PM
K CLUB - Hot news, There's a special treat in store for us all later today.
Mind magician, conjurer and all-around psychic supremo Jamil Qureshi will be joining us LIVE on the blog about 1630 this afternoon.
Jamil, the mental coach for a host of top stars and a key cog in the European camp this week, will be answering your questions, so fire them in now, using the usual comment form below.
Remember, this is the man who earlier this week asked the Europeans each to draw a picture of Colin Montgomerie, and then correctly stated who had drawn what.
So get your questions and we'll chat to Jamil later on. (Mind you, if he's any good he'll already know what you're going to ask him!)
- 21 Sep 06, 11:48 AM
K CLUB – Nine more practice holes, a two-hour opening ceremony, a night’s kip and then it all begins. Hooray.
All this speculating, postulating, ruminating and mischief-making is all very well.
But when the first shots are hit and the scoreboard begins to tick, the electricity already running through the K Club will surge off the scale. And that’s nothing to do with Friday’s forecast thunderstorms.
Before then, though, there’s just time to squeeze in a bit more cogitating on the outcome.
- 21 Sep 06, 11:08 AM
K CLUB – A couple of weeks ago I immodestly claimed this was the blog that moved markets, as the price on an American win plummeted after my plea for Europe to return to their time-honoured underdog status.
But after a lengthy editorial meeting in our Dublin HQ – “Ireland’s largest genuine Irish brewery”, The Porterhouse – we decided that we would no longer write about traffic, tickets, security or the weather. We also decided to wait a bit longer before retiring as it was “80s night” and they still hadn’t played “Ghostbusters”.
We should, however, close this chapter by giving credit where credit is due. Today’s “North Car Park” experience was first-rate. No idea if we had anything to do with that – we did make the Irish press and radio, after all – but well done to all involved. Now let’s get on with the golf.
- 20 Sep 06, 07:21 PM
K CLUB - It wasn't all queues in the car park, American golfers skimming golf balls off the water like pebbles and Irish satirists upsetting the world's most famous sportsman, there was some excellent chat too.
With actual golf being not such an attractive proposition for the players today the assembled press were treated to a steady diet of press conferences and interviews.
The general themes? The Americans are having "a bunch of fun", nobody wants to be favourites and Brett Wetterich is actually a bit of a card.
Here are some of the best quotes that Rob (when he wasn't appearing on national radio programmes to defend his comments about the organisers' door policy this morning) and I heard at Ryder Cup HQ.
- 20 Sep 06, 05:25 PM
K CLUB – To many British golf writers and commentators Ian Woosnam, in his current capacity as European Ryder Cup captain, is an accident waiting to happen.
To the rest he is even worse than that.
Flailing and failing, the general consensus has been that any success the Europeans enjoy here this week will be despite Woosie rather than because of him.
But now, midway through the pre-event practice sessions, could the Welsh wizard have finally pulled a trick on his seemingly savvier American counterpart?
- 20 Sep 06, 05:14 PM
K CLUB - “Park-and-ride-gate”, as virtually no-one here is calling it, has taken another twist.
As well as fighting the fires of this morning’s debacle at the North car park, where spectators had to queue for hours in the rain to board a bus, Ryder Cup organisers have had a bigger Irish stew on their plate.
- 20 Sep 06, 12:06 PM
K CLUB - Inefficient, badly planned and poorly run - the Ryder Cup experience will be turning sour for many people today as the flaws in the public transport system hit home.
Thousands of paying spectators have been left high and not very dry as the weather-hit opening of the K Club caused interminable queues in the public car parks.
Anyone pitching up after 10am might as well have gone home as the line edged forward at the pace of a snail with a heavy head after a night on the dark stuff.
- 20 Sep 06, 10:05 AM
The smart move would be not to let the players out on the course today - stay in the hotel and just kick back and relax, as the forecast 30 – 40mph winds will not help anyone’s game in the coming days.
It's not like these guys have not prepared and been playing all year. I think it'll be interesting to see what the respective captains do today, will they send them out to play/practice, or will it be a day of bonding and relaxing? (Have a look at the latest photos).
This morning at the media hotel, the buses were not even running to the course due to the gales and poor weather. I hope this is NOT an idea of what is to come for the rest of the week!
- 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.
- 19 Sep 06, 04:03 PM
THE K CLUB - Team bonding is what it's all about and we've had an insight into what happened last night when the entire European team got together for the first time.
Aside from the motivational video, exhortations from captain Ian Woosnam, wine tasting and dinner there was a conjuring show from the team's mind magician Jamil Qureshi.
I've witnessed his phenomenenal powers before. He can recite the first line from a random page of a random book picked by a random stranger. Spooky.
Last night he made the European team all draw caricatures of Colin Montgomerie and just by looking at the drawings he was able to tell which player had drawn which picture.
- 19 Sep 06, 01:06 PM
K CLUB - Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke embraced on the K Club practice ground as the pair met for the first time since Clarke's wife Heather died of cancer last month.
Woods, the only player hitting balls, walked from the left edge of the picturesque range to greet the grinning Northern Irishman, who was approaching from the right.
The pair, long-time friends, shook hands and immediately hugged, holding the clinch for a few seconds.
The heart-felt exchange was greeted by rapturous applause from the sizeable crowd.
- 19 Sep 06, 11:31 AM
K CLUB - I love the smell of a golf course in the morning.
Especially a lush green one with mature trees, a magnificent clubhouse and the River Liffey running through it.
First impressions are that the K Club is a pretty sumptuous venue, the sort of place to bunt it round with a couple of friends on a quiet midweek summer's day.
Well, it is Tuesday. And it is sunny.
- 19 Sep 06, 11:23 AM
STRAFFAN - I promised not to talk about the traffic in the Dublin area so I won't say anymore about the French farmers' style roadblock that is the M50.
I will say, however, that this is Dublin Mobility Week. I wouldn't want to be here - in any kind of a hurry - any other week of the year.
But far more interesting than traffic is the Irish reaction to the arrival of the two teams on Monday.
That reaction, as far as I can tell, is a mixture of amusement and horror. But I don't blame them...did you see those tweed jackets/tank tops the Americans were wearing?
- 19 Sep 06, 10:08 AM
LONDON - US skipper Tom Lehman spiced things up when he suggested tortilla chips had delayed the team's flight into Dublin.
But just how much tortilla and what type was on board has been the subject of much discussion.
What we do know is the flight was delayed by more than three hours because the American party, including officials, wives and girlfriends, had too much luggage.
And for the record, here's Lehman's account of the tortilla trouble...
- 18 Sep 06, 11:57 PM
DUBLIN - Did you notice that? "Dublin", as opposed to "London"....it's the blog equivalent of the wedding standard, "my wife and I...."
Yep, we've made it. I won't go over the same ground as Iain in his earlier post but yes, the traffic is going to be an issue this week (that 900 euros by helicopter to Straffan is going to look more and more reasonable - is that a crescendo of reasonable-ness? - as the week goes on).
But that's it for traffic talk. I promise not to mention it again. Unless we're late for something. And then it wasn't our fault.
First impressions from Ryder Cup central? Loads.
- 18 Sep 06, 07:19 PM
K CLUB - So we’re here - at last - and I can’t pretend it’s been easy.
As we drove out of a heaving late Sunday night Dublin airport, the road signs flashed “Welcome to the Ryder Cup”. The next road signs were for roadworks.
For some reason they’ve decided to dig up the Irish capital’s equivalent of the M25. Work started three weeks before the biggest sporting event ever to be staged in this country. I hope Europe’s timing off the tee is a bit better!
Our midnight journey wasn’t too bad, but this morning as we headed back to the airport to greet the Americans, was a nose-to-tail nightmare.
- 18 Sep 06, 10:01 AM
LONDON - The final pre-event tournaments have been played, the Sunday papers have made their predictions, Tiger Woods has been to Stamford Bridge - the Ryder Cup silly season is finally over and a week of crescendoing excitement awaits in Ireland.
I've just been going through the pre-journey "passport, press pass, pants" mantra and can now consider myself ready to report for Ryder Cup duty.
Just waiting for the armoured van full of BBC spending money to arrive now. Apparently, the Celtic Tiger is hungry for licence-fee cash. Let's hope we - and the golf - are worth it.
But before I set off here are a few things that struck me during this weekend's golfing action:
- 17 Sep 06, 10:55 AM
WENTWORTH - You know something big is just around the corner with a single glance from my radio booth to the rest of the media centre here.
There are a few relatively unfamiliar faces. All the usual golf correspondents are on duty but they're supplemented by the feature writers - particularly from the Sunday papers. They've been here preparing their Ryder Cup preview stories.
So you need ears like those of Monty just to stay in touch with where the news agenda is going.
This week there were a couple of rumours that made me think we were on to significant stories only to be swiftly countered.
- 15 Sep 06, 02:20 PM
It was not a dissimilar performance to his missed cut at the US Open in June. And remember, he then went on a 2nd, Win, Win, Win, Win, Win streak!!!!!! Let’s hope that Tiger will be similarly inspired for next week's Ryder Cup.
Tiger HATES to lose, probably more than anyone, partly because he has less experience at losing.
I expect Tiger is hidden away practicing with his coach, Hank Haney, at one of the more private clubs in the Surrey area. I would love to be a fly on the wall and know what they are discussing and/or working on!!!!
- 14 Sep 06, 02:04 PM
WENTWORTH - Hunting for some Ryder Cup clues at the World Match Play at Wentworth I happened upon Denis Pugh, coach of European talisman Colin Montgomerie.
So I asked him how Monty was and what he was expecting at the K Club. And nice man that Denis is, he told me.
To find out his answers, read on. But suffice to say, I don't think there is any danger Monty - and the rest of the European team for that matter - won't be busting a gut at the K Club next week.
- 14 Sep 06, 12:54 PM
WENTWORTH - Even when there’s a £1m first prize to be played for the Ryder Cup can be an overshadowing presence.
I spent Wednesday morning at Wentworth ahead of the World Match Play, which boasts golf's biggest individual prize and has its strongest field in years, and what did we talk about? You guessed it.
We chatted about it with David Howell, with Colin Montgomerie and with Tiger Woods. Yes - Tiger Woods, with whom I spent a very enjoyable 10 minutes or so in a conversation you’ll be able to hear on BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday afternoon (1600 BST).
Of course we spoke of the World Match Play, his run of five straight wins and the loss he feels after the death of his father.
- 14 Sep 06, 10:32 AM
WENTWORTH - Like a famous journalist once said about far more weighty matters than golf, I've counted them all out and now I'm going to wait roughly 36 holes each to count them all back in.
The World Match Play got under way at 0736 BST at a dank and soggy Wentworth this morning with defending champion Michael Campbell against England's Simon Kahn.
It certainly promises to be a fascinating event, with a pretty stellar line-up compared to some recent years.
Six of the world's top 10 are here, including that man Tiger Woods for the first time since he lost in the final to close pal Mark O'Meara in 1998.
- 13 Sep 06, 05:55 PM
FLORIDA - It seems Tiger has taken the team by the tail and is ready to lead the way.
He told the press as much this week, and has revealed he has taken some of the American rookies out to dinner to make them feel comfortable with being on the team.
He also dished out some tidbits of advice to help them cope with the whole situation.
- 13 Sep 06, 04:15 PM
LONDON - The Five Live Breakfast show will be broadcast from the K Club for the duration of the Ryder Cup - and they're looking for your Good Luck messages to pass on to the teams.
Post them on the Breakfast blog and they will be broadcast on Five Live between now and the start of the event.
Presenter Nicky Campbell, who will be on the course from 6am on the first Friday as the excitement mounts ahead of the first tee off at about 8am, will take them to Ireland to hand over to the teams.
Five Live will be at the course throughout the event, with Campbell also presenting Saturday and Sunday's Breakfast programmes from the K Club as the tension (hopefully) builds. John Inverdale will host most of the daytime output, with resident blogger Iain Carter leading the commentary team.
- 12 Sep 06, 06:09 PM
LONDON - Tiger Woods amuses me. He’s desperate to have us believe he has transformed from ultimate solo sportsman to the beating heart of the US Ryder Cup team.
Woods says he is keen to finally take on a leadership role at the K Club.
But he’s been the best player in the world for nigh on a thousand years, and yet only now does he decide to come in from the cold and embrace the team ethic of the competition.
- 11 Sep 06, 11:31 AM
LONDON - As much as I would like to bill this blog as the one that moves markets, I'm not sure I can. What I can say is that my prayers for Europe not to be favourites for the Ryder Cup might have been answered.
Most Ryder Cup-related talk in the last two weeks has been about one of two things: will Ian Woosnam join Hal Sutton in the Mainwaring Museum of calamity captaincy and are Europe really the pre-event favourites?
For what it's worth, I'm plumping for a maybe-maybe double (and no, there is no fence in Christendom too slender for this hack to perch on).
But what I will say with rather less jesuitical ambiguity (you'll have to forgive the religious tone...I went to a wedding at the weekend and it was the full Catholic monty) is that Europe's status as favourites is under siege in the betting markets...and it is a development that neither surprises nor alarms.
- 8 Sep 06, 04:20 PM
LONDON - It's tee minus 14 days to the K Club clash and we have already seen/heard the American team dismissed as callow nonentities and then hailed as brothers in arms, and European morale destroyed by a disappointed Dane and then patched up again with an apology and under-the-radar bonding session.
Not bad for less than a week since the cast was finalised.
So where does the hullabaloo of the last week or so leave us? Exactly where we were before.
In the red corner, one half of an excellent matchplay team and six makeweights. In the blue corner, 12 good men. I know where my money is going.
- 7 Sep 06, 04:36 PM
CRANS-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.
- 6 Sep 06, 03:50 PM
CRANS-SUR-SIERRE - So Thomas Bjorn apologises to Ian Woosnam and the Tour fines him £10,000.
I’m finding that locker-room opinion on 'Bjorngate' is split. Two senior players I’ve spoken to believed the Dane had every right to speak out and didn’t deserve his punishment.
Moments later, I spoke to a couple of the more rank-and-file members of the Tour who were outraged at Bjorn’s reaction.
- 6 Sep 06, 01:00 PM
LONDON - Phew. I’m glad the Thomas Bjorn affair’s over. Now we can get back to talking about the golf.
But that brings us to another worrying issue - if you’re a European fan that is. Not that I’m at all biased, you understand.
And that issue is Tiger Woods.
The world number one has won his last five tournaments in a row and added two more majors this year.
- 5 Sep 06, 06:27 PM
USA - So the European team has been finalized. The 12 chosen sacrificial lambs have been named……..
Oh, sorry, that is for my blog in America. Just kidding!!!
The European team looks very good top to bottom. Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are very solid captain’s picks, although both come with question marks, especially if you believe what Thomas Bjorn had to say about Westwood being chosen.
- 5 Sep 06, 02:54 PM
CRANS-SUR-SIERRE - Having decided on taking the train from the BMW International in Munich to Crans-sur-Sierre, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing journey through the Alps to this idyllic destination.
But perhaps an incident, as we changed trains at Karlsruhe station, should have been taken as an omen that the peace would soon be shattered.
We needed to change platforms. Heavily laden reporters, players and caddies were descending on an escalator behind a ceremonially dressed African gentleman.
He appeared to have his lifetime possessions stacked high and wide on an airport-style trolley.
- 4 Sep 06, 06:41 PM
LONDON - Oh dear. Ian Woosnam has only read out the names of two players and he seems to have sparked off massive negativity among European Ryder Cup fans.
Everyone's going to have their own views on who should/should not make the side, and that's fair enough, but following up Iain Carter's thoughts from Munich, many of you seem worried by the captain's conduct so far.
He doesn't come across particularly media savvy, as seen last week when he accidentally let slip that Darren Clarke was a distinct wildcard possibility.
And his style of man-management may appear less-than slick, such as informing Thomas Bjorn in the hotel bar he had missed out.
- 4 Sep 06, 08:47 AM
MUNICH - So Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are Ian Woosnam's two wildcard picks.
I have to admit this is the second time in which I've been surprised when the captain has announced his picks.
Two years ago, rumours swept the press tent that Freddie Jacobson was going to get the nod from Bernhard Langer at the expense of Luke Donald.
It's a fascinating time after the BMW International has finished. We're all left waiting and wondering in the media tent and rumour and counter rumour abounds.
- 1 Sep 06, 04:43 PM
LONDON - They say that you either love golf or hate it. But I reckon the detractors are really just people who haven’t realised they love it yet.
I do, and I’ve been stuck on the same 18 handicap for 20 years. I’ve had to endure watching the mates I grew up with surge into single figures and boast of backspin. I’m still scuffing woods, chunking irons and yipping with my chipping.
But being rubbish doesn’t stop me appreciating the nuances of the game. My current favourite topic of golf-related bar chat is that the sport is not about hitting a ball into a hole.
- 1 Sep 06, 04:18 PM
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- 1 Sep 06, 03:39 PM
Welcome to BBC Sport’s Ryder Cup blog.
We aim to provide daily news, views, behind-the-scenes gossip and anecdotes from the highly-prized biennial matchplay tournament between Europe and the United States, from 22-24 September at the K Club, Straffan in Ireland's County Kildare.
But the build-up to the much-anticipated transatlantic contest has already started.
Our bloggers include Five Live's Iain Carter and Jay Townsend, providing his unique American angle, while Matt Slater and Rob Hodgetts will be your eyes and ears at the K Club. To find out more about them, check our About the authors page.
For the uninitiated, blogs (or weblogs) work like this:
- 1 Sep 06, 03:30 PM
This will be my second Ryder Cup as BBC Radio's Golf Correspondent.
All I can remember from the first was that the only time I relaxed in the entire week was playing table tennis of an evening with the rest of the Five Live team - and that commentator John Murray is the most negative ping ponger I've ever met.
- 1 Sep 06, 10:08 AM
I’m Matt’s caddie on the BBC's golf website, and like all good golfing partnerships, when things are going well WE'RE a great team.
If there’s a problem, HE’S the one who carved it out of bounds and then three-putted for a triple bogey.
The Ryder Cup actually sparked my career in journalism. I was temping in some mundane City job and glued to the Valderrama tournament on a cleverly concealed radio.
“Why am I here shuffling these numbers around in a grey office when there are people out there who get to work at these events?” I wondered.
- 1 Sep 06, 09:55 AM
I (with lots of help from Rob) look after the golf coverage on the BBC website, although I also sometimes update the baseball tables and speedway results on Ceefax so I'm something of a Renaissance-style all-rounder.
I wasn't really into golf as a nipper as none of my immediate family or friends were (although I do remember caddieing for my uncle once as a "present" from my mum on his birthday and then playing pitch and putt til the wee hours in The Greyhound in Chalfont St Peter) but the sport, like my hairline, has crept up on me to the point where I often talk about little else.
- 1 Sep 06, 09:37 AM
I think of myself as one of the luckiest people on earth.
Heck, I used to play golf for a living and now I get to travel the world and report on the best golfers on this planet. On top of that, I get paid to do it. OK, now pinch me to let me know it is real!!!!
- 1 Sep 06, 09:21 AM
This will be my second Ryder Cup as BBC Radio's Golf Correspondent.
All I can remember from the first was that the only time I relaxed in the entire week was playing table tennis of an evening with the rest of the Five Live team - and that commentator John Murray is the most negative ping ponger I've ever met.
If he's a blocker, I guess I'm now a blogger.
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