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Louisville Lip (part one)

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Rob Hodgetts | 19:37 UK time, Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Louisville Lip will shoot from the hip and give you the inside track from Valhalla.

From quirky quips to gossipy bits, we'll provide colour and the odd touch of glamour.

(As the original Lip Muhammad Ali may or may not once have rhymed)

By Rob Hodgetts and Alex Trickett

No charm - and that's offensive
There's discontent among the galleries at Valhalla and it seems one man's at the root of it.

Word from the fairway is that US superstar Phil Mickelson is ruining captain Paul Azinger's charm offensive, and angering plenty of autograph hunters, by refusing to scrawl his name.

His team-mates are at it and the Europeans are positively tripping over each other in the rush to put pen to paper/shirt/cap/bag/flesh.

Now, the Lip didn't follow him all the way around on Wednesday, so we can't categorically state that he didn't sign any, but various sets of fans at different parts of the course had the same complaint.

"I can't see what Mickelson's problem is. It wouldn't take much, would it?" said golf fan Nigel Tatlock from Derbyshire.


The big crowd puller, even for US fans it seems, is Sergio Garcia, followed, for the Europeans, by Padraig Harrington.

But Garcia's the man, and he has developed his own unique style. He continues walking and then, after searching despairingly for the owner of said piece of paper/shirt/cap/bag/flesh (OK, not the last one in this case. Go figure), he flings it willy-nilly into the gallery.

Golf etiquette being what it is, though, the real owner is always reunited with it.

Plenty of fans are competing to get both team's signatures on replica flags of the 18th with the Ryder Cup logo on. And there's certain techniques needed to ensure yours is the flag that gets signed.

"Sergio, you're very handsome," cried one lady. "You've got to stand near a female or a kid," said another.

But the game comes with it's own set of problems.

"I've already got Henrik Stenson but I bet he comes back over here," said a man from Boston. "I'll have to tell him, no thanks."

Will the real Ian Poulter please stand up?
Ian Poulter is a man at ease among the galleries and clearly relishes the attention.

But he can barely disguise his contempt for the media.

In his first news conference at Valhalla, much of the questioning revolved around Poulter's controversial (to some) pick as a wildcard and his decision not to travel to Gleneagles for the final qualifying event.

Every time a question along those lines came up, Poulter's eyes shifted this way and that, he shook his head with a wry smile, and then composed himself to try to answer without bridling too much.

Trying to lighten the mood a bit, one questioner asked whether his team-mates have indulged in a bit of mickey-taking after Nick Faldo's Del Boy impression from Only Fools and Horses when he told him the news that he was on the team. ("Oi, Raquel, get your coat, you're going to the Ryder Cup.")

Poulter gathered himself before launching into another bland answer about how everyone in the team room is great and gets along well.

The questioner butted in after a while and said, "No, sorry, you're taking it a bit too seriously. Have the others picked up on Raquel?"

Eventually Poulter conceded that his team were having lots of laughs together.

Now, obviously Poulter got burned a bit over his "It'll be just me and Tiger" comments and is wary of the hacks.

But his smirk and swagger as he left the dais did nothing to soothe relations. If you're reading Ian (If? Of course you are!) you'll find yourself much less of a target if you can just chill out a bit.

Rumble in
Some behind-the-scenes news for those of who love to know what's going on off the course.

The two teams are both staying at The Brown hotel in downtown Louisville. The European and US caddies had a fairly raucous dinner together on Monday night. There is the big gala dinner with both teams on Wednesday night.

And for fans hoping to get involved in a spot of collective revelry, Fourth Street in Louisville is the place to head for over the next few nights.

Finally, the European team ate at the Muhammad Ali museum on Tuesday before trying out some of the interactive shadow boxing against video images of "The Greatest".

And the man who really took to it? Chunky Paul Casey? Punchy Ian Poulter? Meaty Graeme McDowell?


No, pony-tailed Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, complete with smoking stogie lodged firmly in the side of his mouth.

Apparently, the sight of the portly one dancing like a butterfly and cuffing the video Ali around the back of the head was pure comedy gold.

BBC at the BBC
In a supreme display of brand solidarity, your BBC bloggers popped into the BBC (Bluegrass Brewing Company) for a Bison Bacon Cheeseburger and a Brewed Beer (Chilled), on the way back from Valhalla on Tuesday night.

The bar was filled with Big Burly Chaps, many talking golf while watching the Brewers Beaten by Cubs in baseball. After a tough day on the course, it was just the job - Bloody Brilliant, Cheers!

American dream
The inaugural commendation for bare-faced commercialism goes to all the residents around Valhalla, who are renting out their properties at 20 bucks a time for car parking. Never mind mum's prize-winning azaleas or dad's precious turnip patch, every square inch is fair game this week.

I fully expect to hear the following exchange before Sunday's finished:

Driver: "Howdy, room for one more?"
Land owner: "Sure, you can park your eight-wheel stretch tank in my front room. Just wipe your feet as you step out."

Country croon
Country musicians wear their hearts on their sleeves and we're on the hunt for some choice quotes. Here's our opener: "I've got a BBQ stain on my white T-shirt. Girl you're killing me with that mini-skirt" (heard on radio station Q Country en route to Valhalla - bonus points for anyone who can tell us the singer).


  • Comment number 1.

    the lyrics come from "something like that" by Tim McGraw. I've found it on Youtube-not bad

  • Comment number 2.

    Hey, that's one of my wife's favourite songs! She is Texan though, so at least she has an excuse for liking that strange Merkin music...

    " seems one man's at the ROUTE of it"? Come on chaps - either learn (the Queen's) English or get a sub-editor to read your piece before it's publshed!

    Good idea for a blog - keep it up.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nice work, FatherSnitch. Keep us honest.

    I'm no country music expert, but the main themes appear to be your girlfriend, your car, your front porch, your truck and plenty of crying, not necessarily in that order. Harsh?

  • Comment number 4.

    I can tell you what happens if you play country music backwards.

    you get your wife and girlfriend back, your truck back, your dog back etc, etc.....

  • Comment number 5.

    I think Momma often gets a mention too...

    Talking of music, looking forward to hearing how our bloggers get on back at "the other BBC" tonight - surely they must be taking part in the bluegrass jam session advertised on the bar's website. Whistling over the top of a gradually emptying bottle of Brewed Beer (Chilled), perhaps?

    BTW, FatherSnitch missed the more obvious "Howdy, room for on more" typo. No matter; just keep it coming.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    Wahey and at 9:03 we have the first entry into the 'lets have a moan about how my license fee is paid' competition! Judging by some of the other blogs that were on during the Olympics I'm expecting it to be a fairly recurrent theme sadly.

    Personally I enjoyed the blog Rob, looking forward to hearing a few more stories of what's going on over there at Valhalla, and cheering on the Europeans of course!

  • Comment number 8.

    i find it interesing that Phil Mickelson is reportedly not signing autographs. At every tournament Mickelson spends about half an hour signing autographs. With him being the leader of the the US team maybe hes taking the Tiger approach and trying to get really focused for this ryder cup following his recent performances in the ryder cup and his relatively poor season.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sorry lads I know this is a bit of the subject but I was watching Setanta Golf last night with a friend and they had on a longest drive contest and neither of us knew who holds the world record for longest drive either during a competition,in play or one of these special competitions.If someone could let me know I would really appreciate it!Many thanks and heres to a good weekend!

  • Comment number 10.

    Great blog!

    And I must comment on two of the above posts, lets start with the negative.

    You are completely and utterly off the mark. This blog was insightful, irreverent and intelligent. Only a half-wit would brand it a waste of the license fee (and a pathetic cliché at that). The Ryder Cup demands extensive coverage by its very nature. So stop your whining, do us all a favour and go back to Russia.

    And from the ridiculous to the sublime, Brit-exPat-In-USA....I bow to your wit. Very, very funny indeed!

    Blog on and drop off.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great blog boys. There's only so much analysis of Faldo's possible/maybe/sometimes/guess pairings i can take. This was a new angle and very inciteful.

    From my own experience, i can tell you there's some disturbingly tragic country music out there. No offence to any fans out there.

    Keep up the good work. I wait eagerly for further installments.

  • Comment number 12.

    The world record in a long drive competition is 539 yards (493 m) by Scott Smith, although the record recognized by Guinness Records as longest drive in a competition is 515 yards by 64 year old Mike Austin in 1974 of the US National Seniors Open with a 43.5" steel shafted persimmon wood driver and balata ball. The record distance achieved in The RE/MAX European Long Drive Championship is 474 yards (433m) by Englishman Joe Miller in September 2005.

  • Comment number 13.

    let's think for a minute, your complaining that the good money you paid for Rob to go to Valhalla is being wasted.

    Break it down and think of everything you get for your license fee and everything that it goes toward funding and I believe you will have spent less than a penny on Rob's trip! How dare he not satisfy you!!

    On a brighter note I really like this blgo and am looking forward to seeing what appears here over the weekend!

    Thanks to this blog I now have the hilarious image of Sir Jiminez boxing (and beating) Ali to get me through the working day!

  • Comment number 14.

    Great blog so far, thank you. It's a wonderful use of my Licence Fee. Please continue. For those miserable souls wishing to complain about it, please at least spell Licence correctly. Ah, I love the smell of pedantry in the morning.

  • Comment number 15.

    a++. would read again.

    does anyone know why phil is not signing autographs? possibly a corporate/sponsorship thing?

  • Comment number 16.

    Re 2 and 14.
    Though I have come to learn that the general public is illiterate I feel it incumbent on journalists to use the language "correctly", which in my eyes involves not making errors that used to embarrass primary age schoolchildren. Sadly, Fathersnitch, the sub-editors are as illiterate as the "journalists" as any day on News.BBC Web shows all too painfully...

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm, more upset that the TV licence i've just shelled out for will contribute to another set of upsetting Strictly Come Choir Dancing On Ice type shows :'(

  • Comment number 18.

    why is Mickleson not signing? Simple: being a lefty, he's looking the wrong way ! ( or the right, sorry I mean correct way) so the autographees are in the wrong place .

  • Comment number 19.

    Good work...Ali in the 3rd sentence...I'm looking forward to the rest of the boxing/golf shenanigans!

  • Comment number 20.

    Not a bad little blog, although:

    "But the game comes with it's own set of problems." - there's no apostrophe in that type of "its"

    Interesting that there's a snipe at the commercialisation of Valhalla residents in the paragraph immediately following the author's gratuitous pandering to the BBC.

    I very much doubt Jimenez would have been allowed into the Ali museum with his cigar actually smoking.

    No American would refer to their "front room". They'd more likely suggest the stretch tank be parked in "the den".

  • Comment number 21.

    Brit-exPat-In-USA - nice observation - you are absolutely right - wouldn't life be wonderful in that world. What I have also noticed is that the truck is more important than the girl. I quote Toby Keith... "I love my truck" (and then almost as an afterthought) "I love my girlfriend" - from the song "I love this bar". Terrific stuff.

    hendero - not having a snipe at the residents. I honestly admire their endeavours and would do the same in their boots. They'll each make thousands of dollars this week.

    All - apologies for the literals. You are right, no excuse for them.

  • Comment number 22.

    I just have to step in and defend Phil Mickelson. Having been to about twenty pro tournaments in the UK I have first hand seen him sign more autographs than all the other players combined....he does half and hour at least of signing after every round. Indeed I hear that Phil has been caught on camera (the golf channel) signing autographs today!

    Sorry guys....I think you have just happened upon a minority of people who missed out!


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