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5 live at the Ryder Cup

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Graham McMillan | 10:49 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2012

Rory McIlroy


The golden summer might be over, but there is at least one major sporting event to keep everyone glued to their radios. It's the Ryder Cup this week and 5 live will be there every step of the way.

We're at the Medinah Country Club, about 50 minutes west of Chicago for the 39th edition of golf's greatest event and there's a lot to live up to following the remarkable drama of two years ago at Celtic Manor.

From my point of view the work in the first part of the week is twofold. First, looking after all the build-up programmes and features we'll be producing on 5 live Sport and elsewhere. We'll be speaking to all 24 players in the first part of the week, plus the captains and vice captains - that's a lot of interviews!

Our commentary team will be scurrying around the grounds grabbing a few minutes with Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and the rest while our engineering team will be making sure we can commentate from all corners of the course come Friday. That's the second major part of work in the first few days.

It is a major technical challenge to be able to broadcast from all parts of a golf course on the other side of the Atlantic but I'm confident all will be fine. After all, we're due some luck; the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland was hit by the after effects of Hurricane Gordon, while it was the turn of Hurricane Ike to disrupt the build up to Valhalla in 2008, and biblical rain was the problem in Wales last time around.

However I've looked at the forecast. A lot. As far as I can tell - not being a trained meteorologist - I can't see Hurricane Bubba or any of his friends heading in the direction of the "Windy City" just yet.

Bernard Gallacher


On Friday the action finally starts and you'll get shot by shot coverage on 5 live. John Inverdale will present the coverage alongside Iain Carter, Andrew Cotter, John Murray, Alistair Bruce-Ball and Conor McNamara. I'm delighted we'll once again be joined by a man steeped in Ryder Cup history, Bernard Gallacher, plus Andrew Coltart, who went toe to toe with Tiger Woods in the infamous Brookline event.

We're also very pleased to welcome multiple European Tour winner Simon Dyson to our team for the first time, plus our regular US voice for the Ryder Cup, PGA tour player Andrew Magee. Also joining us is former women's British Open Champion Karen Stupples, who played for Europe in their victorious Solheim Cup side last year.

Karen Stupples


I hope you enjoy the commentary. Long before I produced it I was sitting listening on dark autumnal evenings, captivated by the drama of a sporting event from a far-away land; I'll always remember Alan Green using Seve Ballesteros as his analyst as the 1995 Ryder Cup reached its climax.

I recollect a fantastic former commentator called George Bailey who not only implored "come on Bernard" as Langer stood over the crucial putt in 1997, he then added "we've done it!" for good measure when the match was won. I can hear Ron Jones describing the American's "tumbling onto the green" when Justin Leonard holed that ridiculous putt at Brookline, and the excitement and enthusiasm of Tony Adamson as Paul McGinley won the Ryder cup back for Europe at the Belfry in 2002.

The Ryder Cup will always produce these moments. We've had just as many in the last four events which I've had the privilege of being involved in. I wonder what the defining moment of this week will be? Whatever it is, I hope you get the chance to listen to it on 5 live.


  • Comment number 1.

    Frankly can't wait.

    A golden summer of Invers.

    Please refrain from so much focus on Rory and place it equally over all the Europe team. You might have overlooked the success of Luke and Justin yesterday because on the sports news on 5 Live all of it was about Rory failing to win his $10 million bounty.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good news on 2 fronts that Inverdale's presenting the coverage.

    Firstly, he always makes any sporting coverage better and secondly it means there is no Chris Evans. I was fearing that he was going to appear for another major golf event and ruin the coverage with his constant irrelevant chat.
    Inverdale is excellent at letting the sport speak for itself.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can't wait for this, second only to the olympics this year for me. The coverage is always Five Live at its finest and I agree Invers presenting is one of the best parts of the coverage.

    I'm only slightly dissapointed that there is no Maureen Madill this year (the Ryder Cup has been event she continued to commentate on for Five Live since moving to BBCTV) or Paul Eales or Andrew Murray.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thankfully Evans wouldn't be welcome having broken the cardinal (golfing) sin of 'exaggerating' his handicap in a pro-am match (again)!

    On the engineers "making sure we can commentate from all corners of the corse..." I doubt that very much, when it is impossible to not drop links, calls etc. from up the road. During the M.P.A. authority press conference into the shooting of the two police officers last week we heard a taxi driver telling us he'd dropped his passenger off.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why not rechristen the station Radio 5 Golf, or Radio 5 Rory. Never before have I seen such slavish devotion to such a useless, miserable, irrelevant, minority passtime as golf from a major broadcaster. Already we've been subjected to two "previews" of the Ryder Cup, and then we get the awful reality of this wretched competition from Friday. "All the action", which is code for non-stop boredom of what amounts to a rich man's passtime, but with the added stupidity of "matchplay". Pointless. And then there's the cult of "Rory", some Irish golfer who got lucky a couple of times, now suddenly the poster boy for the world's most boring sport. When will you at Five (Live!!!) get into your heads that not everybody likes golf, or is interested in the exciting adventures of some Irish golfer.

    Give it a rest for god's sake.

  • Comment number 6.

    Never before have i read such tosh as post 5, Radio5 live is not the Rebelbrum station,if you dont like it fair enough, but there are plenty of people who do, stop being so selfish, 5live does not revolve around you!

  • Comment number 7.

    Fedster, I never said it was. But golf, really? And the cult of MacIlroy is getting embarrasing. And you must admit, Radio 5 has been rather slavish in its coverage of the exciting adventures of some Irish golfer, to the extent he is instantly recognisable by the use of his given name. Radio 5 Live is not a golfing station, no matter how much they try to push the passtime.

  • Comment number 8.

    Rebelbrum, I don't think you can ever have witnessed who plays golf on public courses! And the massive number of fans who play. If it is possible you are from Brum, as your name may suggest, you must know that the City has more public courses than anywhere else in the UK. However I agree about Rory, and I am already sick of Rory worship by 5 Live.

  • Comment number 9.

    This weekend will be refreshing for a sport other than football (durring the football season) dominating the airways. I and many other people will enjoy this. Well said Fedster!

  • Comment number 10.

    Heavans! Fedster's woken up.

  • Comment number 11.

    @David Shield I can understand people's frustration with the amount of football coverage during the season, but to say golf will represent a "refreshing" change is pushing credulity quite frankly. If the BBC are keen to widen their range of sport coverage, why not devote more time to so-called minority sports? More women's sports? Not an overinflated passtime followed by a load of overinflated pundits, speaking in their deferential, hushed voices whenever another millionaire lines up his stroke. What is so annoying is hearing every Five (Live!!!) presenter exchanging anecdotes and basking in their shared excitement for yet another golf tournament. And there's a general tip for all Five (Live!!!) presenters: less matey banter, more intelligent analysis. Please...

  • Comment number 12.

    Re message 11:
    It's not like the golf has blanket coverage on Five Live.
    The only full daytime coverage is for 4 days a year for the Open and 3 days every 2 years for the Ryder Cup. The remainder is on in late evening/early morning for US events.
    There's probably more airtime taken up discussing Strictly/X Factor/Britain's Got Talent during the year; something I have no interest in so I switch off.

    I'm no massive golf fan or even player, but the FiveLive's golf coverage is intelligent and not too 'matey' That's why I'm happy there's no Chris Evans to ruin it.

    I'm not sure how you are such an expert on the problems of the BBC's golf coverage if you dislike the sport so much!

  • Comment number 13.

    Nice to see you to Stumps!

    As for Rebelbrum, you are digging yourself into hole,do you have similar views about other things you dislike on 5live?

  • Comment number 14.

    #11 I would love to see more coverage of so-called minority sports and and women's sports but the Ryder Cup is for me and I know plenty others one of the sporting highlights of the year. There is a great article in the Radio Times by Lawrence Donegan about the radio coverage of the sport is much more exciting than on television.

  • Comment number 15.


    It is a shame Maureen's name does not appear, I noticed that too. Maybe she is sticking to golf tournaments in Europe/UK.

    I don't think my health would cope with the kind of atmosphere that is being generated by such words as "beat their brains in" no matter how old the quote is, and all that noise from the crowds. I know we do it here too, but there is definitely an extreme version in the US! I love watching Johnson and Watson, I am just hoping the golf lives up to it all. Tiger I can't abide.

    Can't wait.

  • Comment number 16.

    I really did enjoy all coverage of the Ryder Cup when it became a tournament billed as US v Europe and was usually staged at the Belfrey.Nowadays I just find it a complete over hyped circus and taken far too seriously .All the hostility that surrounds it now and comments some made by some who should no better : is just becoming way out of hand.

  • Comment number 17.

    Ah Binkie, turn the sound down on your tv and just watch it. Sorry if you don't have Sky though.

  • Comment number 18.

    Interesting story today in Charlie Sale's Sports Agenda column saying that Clare Balding was planned to present this Ryder Cup but is too bust with her book tour so they went back to John Inverdale.

    The article points out that Mark Pougatch might be dissapointed at not getting the gig. Interesting because whilst I would always have wanted John Inverdale as the presenter its a shame that Mark Pougatch isn't used as a commentator as he always used to be. Not sure why that is? He missed the Open one year for the Ashes and has never returned.

  • Comment number 19.

    David, with all due respect, i would not take what Charlie Sale says seriously, yes he sometimes gets the odd story right but usually its a case of putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well I'm afraid I won't be listening to Radio 5 Golf over the weekend; the assembled millionaires and the cheerleaders (commentators?) provide more excitement than my little heart can stand...

    Oh, and before anyone else asks: "how's Rory doing?"

  • Comment number 21.

    Or worse still Rebelbrum:" How's Tiger doing?" Worship at the altar of something not very nice at all.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm disappointed that all other programming has been dropped to make way for the Golf on 5 Live. Why can't they make use of Sports Extra to have the golf on and Nolan etc on as normal. The only thing more boring than golf to me is golf on the radio! I will be back as a listener on Monday, maybe Tuesday, as it is likely to be all golf on Monday as well!

  • Comment number 23.

    "Why can't they make use of Sports Extra to have the golf on" NickyBoy...

    Because millions of people do like golf and would like to listen to it on the radio.
    As far as I'm concerned the less of Nolan and his monotonous 'life stories' the better. I had to turn off last week when he interviewed Denise Welch for no apparent reason.
    However it's this diversity of many different things that makes Five Live the station it is. It can't possible keep everybody happy all the time, so I don't understand why you think it should be catering to just your tastes.

  • Comment number 24.

    Must admit that golf is pretty boring and I used to play the game.I gave it up because the people I came into contact with on the golf course were totally boring.Kept going on and on about their handicap and how they had had an attack of the yips , to which I would reply that ' yes the yips are very painful ' but they didn't get the joke because they were absolutely humourless.Does golf work on the radio ? Anyhow the hype surrounding the ' Rory ' chappie is becoming unbearable.

  • Comment number 25.

    .......btw Aasmah Mir is leaving 5live. Even she's had enough.I wonder which presenter with the most contacts will replace her ? VD the next one to go ?

  • Comment number 26.

    Very sad news about Aasmah leaving Five Live.

    #19 Fedster I think he has a very good track record and I've heard other journalists I respect saying he is well informed but I do take your point, maybe she was due to be commentating?

    Which makes me wonder whether when she starts at C4 will she still appear on Five Live at all? Obviously not at the Cheltenham Festival but she might be able to still work at Wimbledon and the Open at least on weekdays, I hope she does.

    Great opening to the coverage on Five Live today with the players reading out some of the inconic commentary clips.

    BTW little tip if you are listening online listen via Rydercup.com and you get Russell Fuller commentating when Five Live does news, travel etc.

  • Comment number 27.

    Bitterly disappointed with the abysmal quality of today's Ryder Cup coverage. Wouldn't the "official providers" have made sound checks in the days of build-up to today's opener?

  • Comment number 28.

    Where's the news? Why is golf on 5 live? Why isn't it on 5 live sports extra or wherever? I cannot begin to tell you how boring golf is to me. I want the news not some idiot stuck in a bunker with a 5 iron.

  • Comment number 29.

    News takes secondary importance to sport on this station.What a great opportunity missed to promote the SportsExtra station with Ryder Cup golf for those who love it so much but they haven't the brains to see that.What exactly is the point of the under used 5liveSportsExtra ?

  • Comment number 30.

    5live is not exclusively a News Station, i thought that was obvious, reading some of these missives, it seems like certain people wants news shoved down their throats 24/7, Golf dominating the schedules for a few Days so what, tune into Radio 4, do a bit of gardening, the list is endless.

    Honestly the things people get worked up over.

  • Comment number 31.

    @Fedster Not true, I appreciate intelligent sport coverage. But is golf really worthy of 8 hours non-stop coverage? Come now, there are sports that work well on the radio, and as Binkie suggested golf may not be one of them. And, in my admittedly biased and subjective opinion, golf is boring.

  • Comment number 32.

    The Twenty20 World Cup has been on 5LSE.

    zelda a sand wedge is used to get out of sand, not a 5 iron.

  • Comment number 33.

    So in your opionion Golf is Boring so should not be on 5live, if thats the crux of your argument, then i am afraid you Sir aint going to win any prizes.

    Obviously Golf works on Radio, thats why 5live keep broadcasting it every year, wheres the logic in broadcasting something which does not attract listeners?

  • Comment number 34.

    There would be no one left to get out of a bunker if I was given an Iron of any description.

  • Comment number 35.

    Yeah I'm with Fedster on this one,I mean wot planet are these people who want news on ? We sports fans don't want that there boring old news or arty or political stuff rammed down our throats all the time.I mean I'm a sports junkie meself and I need coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or else I go cold turkey and shake.D'you know if I was the Director General of the BBC I would turn all the BBC radio stations into sports channels.Give the people what they want.My idea for change would be.......

    5live........Live sport and endless discussions about sport.

    Radio 4........More Sport

    Radio 3......Even More Sport but with some classical music going on in the background.


    If listeners need to have this appetite for any news whats going on in the world,then just give them 60 seconds on the hour or whenever the radio station can fit it in and that should see them right ! Now where did I leave my copy of Charlie Buchans Football Monthly ?

  • Comment number 36.

    Golf on the radio is a bit of a joke.I just get picture in my mind of a little white ball continuously rolling along a piece of well moved grass and just missing the edge of the cup or some man wearing outlandish trousers stuck up a tree trying to retrieve his ball he accidently hit up there.

  • Comment number 37.

    @Rebelbrum I admit my arguement is one of my sheer loathing for golf. There's no great intellectual weight to my point, just one of personal prejudice against what is a worthless passtime played by a strangely large number of people. I realise golf has lots of fans, but so does fishing, and we don't get that on the radio do we? What's the difference? One is on the radio, another isn't.

  • Comment number 38.

    Actually Rebelbrum, there used to be a great programme on at dawn on Saturdays I think, called Dirty Tackle. It was a very amusing and informative series about fishing, of course, and was dropped in the cutbacks because it was produced by an independent company. Shame, very good listen and for us insomniacs, a change from the usual stuff. Fishing is a popular pastime and you are right, it should be back on the radio, or is that the opposite of what you meant........

  • Comment number 39.

    @Carrie That is exactly what I meant - why IS golf so special, when it's not even as popular as fishing? Also, there's a programme on Sunday Mornings at 6:30am on TalkSport called Fisherman's Blues which I enjoy listening to. And I'm not even a fan of fishing, but I enjoy listening to the programme all the same. And there's an important distinction - I may not enjoy fishing as a sport, but I can enjoy a programme about fishing on radio. Golf, however, is an instant turn-off, whenever it's on radio...

  • Comment number 40.

    Is it over yet? I am scared to turn on the radio in case I get someone chipping off a fairway into the rough.

    btw - I used to like Fisherman's Blues on another channel that shall remain nameless too and I don't fish either. I especially loved the opening song which I now have.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well Conor and the rest of the guys did a FANTASTIC job last night/early this morning. I could not bear to watch so went to bed infuriated by the behaviour of the crowd: many drunk, with poor golf crowd manners and jingoistic and verbally aggressive to boot. So I listened instead and apart from having those views of mine verified by the commentators, (on television they left you to see it for yourselves, on the radio it was described and talked about by the commentators throughout, and by players post-games) I could not fault the commentary for the suspense and thrill they managed to get over to me. As far as the matches were concerned, if you weren't listening to the two left out as it became almost too dark apparently for anyone to see, you missed a treat, whether you like golf or not.

    And we actually beat NZ too.

  • Comment number 42.

    I told you that the hostile atmosphere completely puts me off and spoils this tournament for me.It will probably only get even worse today.Apparently the European golfers wives were getting verbal abuse by those in the crowd who couldn't handle drinking the loopy juice and that was only on the first day.

    zeld ......is that the Waterboys Fishermans Blues tune ?

  • Comment number 43.

    @ Binkie - It is indeed the Waterboys singing Fisherman's Blues.

    I wish I was a fisherman tumbling on the sea, Far away from dry land and its bitter memories.............

  • Comment number 44.

    Or.... I wish I was a Fisherman tumbling on the sea, far away from dry land and..........GOLF!

  • Comment number 45.

    Come on europe!! Went to school with Poulter, he has done great for us. Bored with the "in the hole rubbish"..
    Lets shut them up by end of play!!

  • Comment number 46.

    The best piece of golfing action I have ever seen. The US couldn't even complain about the noise as they had made so much to put the Europe team off.

    Aah, a great way to spend a long weekend.

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks to Five Live for the superb coverage last night, especially the brilliant commentary of Ian Carter & John Murray.

    And to those who complained about the normal programmes being suspended, how many times have you ever gone to work and the first topic of conversation was Stephen Nolan's guest interview or a discussion point on Men's Hour? How many items on Pienaar's Politic's will still be talked about in 20 years time?

    The final outcome of the competition more than justified the decision.

  • Comment number 48.

    Do you think that the outcome of a 2012 Golf tournament will still be talked about in 20 years time? Crikey, you're hoping.

    At least a John Pienars topics are relevant to many many people whereas golf isn't. It truly isn't.

  • Comment number 49.

    And now it is the obligatory Golf phone -in. I despair.

  • Comment number 50.


    People still talk about the 1985 Ryder Cup, so I see no reason why people won't remember this in 27 years time.
    I wasn't suggesting that golf is more important than politics, as that would be absurd. I was merely replying to the people who suggested it was wrong to replace the usual programming for one weekend every 2 years. The amount of political discussion during the rest of the year rightly takes up it's fair share of broadcast time.

  • Comment number 51.

    We shall have to agree to disagree mistered..... I am of course right and you are wrong though. ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh and I would add..... (oh for a ruddy edit facility) I bet the people who still talk about the 1985 Ryder Cup are golf fans, it is entirely irrelevant to the majority of the population. Most of us will remember 1985 for Live Aid if anything.

  • Comment number 53.

    Thanks Zelda fior your comments - made me smile. Like you I dislike golf and was b ored with the coverage over the weekend; but I appreciate a lot of people like it and 5 live have to cater for them. What pleased ME most sports-wise this weekend was my team, Chelsea winning 2-1 away at Arsenal! Def my highlight!! Mr. Sarnia and the elder Master Sarnia were v engrossed in the golf and watched it on TV - I let them get on with it and just slaved away in the kitchen and caught up with stuff on i-player! :-)

  • Comment number 54.

    Hi sarnia... hope you are well. Now you and I don't like Golf but the others do... whch one is right*.. there's only one way to settle this.........FIGHT!

    * Whatever the outcome, we are right.

  • Comment number 55.


    Where have you been? Is it already two years since you last complained about Five Live's coverage of the Ryder Cup? Well, yet again, I thought they did a superb job, though there were some technical hitches this time. What I don't get - and never have - is why these comments always appear when the Ryder Cup is only every two years (in fact there was a hiatus of three years after 1999). Why anyone would rather listen to Stephen Nolan is utterly incomprehensible to me.


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