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Ryder Cup ready to rumble

Rob Hodgetts | 23:47 UK time, Thursday, 18 September 2008

"If you're ready to rumble in the jungle, we'll be on the tee on Friday morning."

European captain Nick Faldo laid down the challenge to opposite number Paul Azinger in the opening ceremony for the 37th Ryder Cup on Thursday.

The phoney war is now all-but over, but in the last act before battle commences in earnest, the home side claimed a final PR victory.

Fans thronged Valhalla's practice ground, like a summer music festival crowd, to get a glimpse of the action on the stage.

A warm-up band and a piper formed the pre-ceremony entertainment, while two European caddies ran across the official carpet at the last minute clutching bags of beer for their pals.

Some bigwigs made speeches, kites were flown (and cheers raised when one was rescued from the trees) and banners twirled before NBC anchorman Dan Hicks introduced the former US and European Ryder Cup captains.

Marching bands followed, before a party of dignitaries brought in the Ryder Cup trophy itself.


Eventually Faldo and Azinger led in their sides in tandem, the Americans in dark suits, the Europeans in blue.

A bit more flannel ensued from other, less famous people, in suits before Faldo was introduced as the European all-time record Ryder Cup points-scorer. The camera panned in on the Englishman and you could see him muttering, probably saying, "I'm the all-time, all-time record points-scorer."

Faldo's opening remark was an off-the-cuff line about how "it's always good to get the running order right". No one understood what he meant and some cringed.

But he redeemed himself with some nice words about Kentucky, meeting Muhammad Ali and the obligatory thanks to the Valhalla greenstaff (even schoolboy golfers at junior level know to start a golf speech with this one).

Faldo, once the iceman for his singular focus, was very visibly nervous and after introducing the wives and girlfriends and his family, he was ready to introduce his team in alphabetical order.

"The man with the Popeye arms and Robbie Williams looks, expect him to entertain you this week, ladies and gentlemen, Paul Casey."

OK, we thought, not bad, this could be fun. But then Faldo introduced Soren Hansen as Soren Stenson and asked Graeme McDowell, "Are you from Ireland or Northern Ireland?"

It's not Faldo bashing for the sake of it, but there are sensibilities to be aware of.

He did, though, end with a good, if slightly cheesy line. "We may look like we have just floated in like a butterfly, but I can assure you we'll sting like a bee."

Azinger also began with platitudes to family and friends before also thanking the greenkeepers. (If you ever have to make a speech and you dry up, just thank the greenstaff and the ladies in the kitchen for a marvellous spread.)

But he seemed assured and spoke of how the match would be played competitively but in a spirit of friendship, a politically clever move to dampen any notion that Valhalla might turn into a bear pit in Sunday (it might).

Azinger's trump card, though, was his rallying cry to the crowd.

"I think you, the fans, will be a critical component. You will be our 13th man."

He then turned to his team and simply introduced each by name, home town and state.

In terms of PR, it was a final coup for Azinger, and a less than sparkling performance from Faldo. But after Europe won the charm offensive in the build-up - forgetting the storm-in-a-teacup that was "sandwichlist-gate" - it's probably time to call it quits.

After some anthems, Faldo and Azinger revealed their pairings for Friday's opening foursomes live on TV:

Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson v Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim
Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey v Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan
Justin Rose and Ian Poulter v Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell
Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia v Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk

"We stick the peg in the ground on Friday morning and then the real stuff starts," said Faldo.

Quite. It's time to rumble.


  • Comment number 1.

    It is Faldo bashing for the sake of it pal. Faldo did his best to entertain. He was nervous because jokers like you on a free ride with the taxpayers cash are going to analyse his every word and poke fun.

    And how was Zing's trump card the rallying cry to the crowd? He's been saying that for 13th man stuff for ages so it was hardly a surprise, news or a PR coup.

    And finally, Rob, that's your name, had to look twice, there is a certain amount of form associated with golf and any public occasions. What may be platitudes to you are just thanks for everyone associated with the matches. It's a bit like a wedding. Surely working for the BEEB you know that!

  • Comment number 2.

    Have to agree that Faldo did look a little nervous on the stage, and did indeed stumble through a few of his sentences (not to mention some ill timed quips and decidedly unfunny comments - do they have tumbleweed in Kentucky?).

    The rest of the European team however looked relaxed, confident and ready to get on with things. And how about those pairings? The US have arguably their best looking pair in Mickelson and Kim, but I still cant see them beating Harrington and Karlsson (Karlsson is piping everything he hits at the moment, and in foursomes its essential to hit it straight down the centre. Phil and Kim, while both superb players, dont always hit the fairways). I think its also been quite clever sticking the experienced Harrington and ice cool Karlsson out first as Mickelson and Kim will draw the biggest and rowdiest crowd of the day. When I look at the rest of our pairs, I think we have the uper hand in each (Im drooling over the Westwood/Garcia match already).

    But who knows, this is the Ryder Cup and it all depends on how you play on the day, if we start well, then I think the weekend will be in Europes hand before its really started.

    Best of luck to all the European boys, bring that trophy home where it belongs!

  • Comment number 3.

    Can I just say that is so disappointing to see the Union Flag being flown upside down at Valhalla.
    Some may think it's a trivial mistake, but despite the headlines, we are not in distress!

  • Comment number 4.

    I have to agree with deek1961 it is Faldo bashing, you guys in the media are on an easy train, if Faldo loses you unleash the heavy guns and if he wins its a great win for the european boys, no doubt focussing in on some individual who had a breathtaking week.

    I mean this "sandwich gate" is infuriating to the extreme, the guy writes down some payers initials on a piece of paper in order to work out a runing order and some cameraman with a lens a big as a driver zooms in a snaps a cheap shot which then becomes the focal point for some trivial news, what did you expect encryped code on self destructive paper with TOP SECRET in red across the page. Lets give him a break.
    In terms of the speech of course he was nervous, 6 million viewers can have that affect, his line about the runing order was in line with the fact he did'nt expect to get called at that time, ok he made a gaff in relation to McDowell but that's not the first time thats happened, I seem to remember Langer introducing Monty as being from England and then correcting himself by saying "well he's lived there long enough". I'm Irish and we don't have the depth of talent that you guys have in the UK but at least we know how to celebrate their success.

  • Comment number 5.

    Faldo looked and acted like a muppet at the press conference.

    Very classy golfer, but a very un-classy Ryder Cyp captain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Faldo Bashing or not that as got to be some of the funniest TV i have seen for a while, he was like a bad stand up who is so bad he is funny!!

    Highlights for me were him selling the single guys on the team to the women of the world and also after introducing his parents who have been married for 61 years and are inseparable, the quip of how he must of missed that bit of advice from his old man.

    Faldo if nervous, awkward and cringeworhy at times was still briiliant!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Who the hell is Rob Hodgetts and why am I subjected to his diatribe?
    For goodness sake BEEB, get someone who means something in the game to comment or get out of the sports news business altogether!! I am a Brit living in Canada and I expect better from your service than mindless, cheap slices at the Euro-team Captain. If his coverage of the actual matches is as poor as the build up, I shall be looking for a different station.

  • Comment number 8.

    Deek1961, GStaunton and RealBritcanuck - as I said in the blog, it's not just Faldo bashing for the sake of it. I've been very supportive of Faldo this week (others in the media might not have been, but I have), I said so on record a number of times and I think the team seems very tightknit as a result.

    I also dismissed sandwich-gate as a storm in a tea cup, which means I think it was irrelevant.

    But as BeachendBob said, he did act like a bit of a muppet, and standing in the crowd in front of the stage I could see and hear European fans around me cringing.

    Petaco, I am also a stickler for the flag to be flown the right way up.

    Deek1961 - the lines about thanking the greenstaff were meant to be a bit of fun. Sorry if you were offended.

    And finally, RealBritCanuck, why do you have to be someone who means something in the game to comment on an opening ceremony?

  • Comment number 9.

    Regardless of sniping above, Harrington and Karlsson should, by the very pace of their play, take Phil and AK somewhat out of their rhythm.

    You may call it gamesmanship, I call it a Europe win. Faldo 1 up.

    (And having Kenny Perry last is just plain daft. Azinger 1 down.)

  • Comment number 10.

    Why are so many having a go at Rob Hodgetts? As he said he's writing a blog, not going in for character assassination on Faldo.
    I think he was quite restrained in what he said about Faldo. When you can't even get the name/country right of the player's of whom you are supposedly 'the leader' it's a pretty poor show. He was understandably nervous yes, but he should have settled as he grew into the speech, not become more fidgety by the minute!
    Face facts, he can't do humour full stop and his attempts at it were cringe-worthy in the extreme. Why launder your dirty washing in public about a string of failed marriages yet introduce the fruits borne out of them? His children must have been perplexed by it all. His son certainly looked non-plussed!
    I've backed Faldo all along as Captain but his team must have been bewildered to see one of the coolest-under-pressure golfer's crumble on such a world stage.
    Some will say it doesn't matter but I was always taught if you act/look professional then that's how you'll carry yourself.
    Faldo looked like a wet paper bag as he sat slumped with shoulders dropped whilst Zinger spoke eloquently.
    USA 1 - Europe 0

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with all the posts complaining about this blog article.

    Faldo's personality and his foibles speaking to the press/public are such old news. Why give us this diatribe all over again, Rob? ALL your colleagues in the British media are doing this as well. It is such tawdry and, frankly, lazy journalism.

    Can some of you so-called reporters (particularly those at the BBC employed by the tax-payers) actually give us some informed analysis of the golf?

    Eg. How the teams are playing in practice? Who has been hitting it well? How is the course playing? Hole strategy? Who should drive odds/evens in the foursomes? Why did Boo Weekley play nine holes on his own in practice? Something, ANYTHING more interesting than just another attempt to trip up Faldo or have an easy dig at him.

    Some of us are actually interested in the golf - and, hopefully, Europe winning - rather than the predictable British press agenda to see Faldo fail.

  • Comment number 12.

    Seriously people, It's a Blog. You're not reading The Times or anything like that, and it's not the BBC's main golfing article that intends to tell you everything you need to know about the Ryder Cup.

    If you can't sense the tone of Rob's writing and realise it's to be taken with a pinch of salt, then i think that says more about you than it does about him.

    And RealBritCanuck - you're a brit living in Canada? Now, i could be wrong about this, so please correct me if i am, but do you even pay a BBC license fee in order to access the service that Rob's providing? If not, then i suggest you do as you're threatening and look for a different station, as i'm not comfortable with my license fee money providing you with your platform to whinge.

  • Comment number 13.

    For those that want to take everything a little too seriously, check out I'm sure they'll have everything you need to know, and it'll all be written with tongues firmly kept out of cheeks...

  • Comment number 14.

    do u think faldo may have said to his team ,I will do a few siily things and attract all the attention leaving you to get on with playing golf

  • Comment number 15.

    To Lukasson

    If you think the Times or the BBC main articles are any better then you also have a problem. They the worst!

    These blogspots are becoming where decent new sports writers can get good, well-deserved airtime.

    Usually Rob and others doing these blogs on the BBC are much better than this. Which is why its doubley disappointing when they offer more of the same old anti-Faldo stuff as the pink gin brigade in the printed press.

    If you think "It's only a blog" is an excuse nowadays for something appearing on the main BBC website then think again.

  • Comment number 16.

    hey rob,

    i've had a very busy summer with work, music, yadayada and haven't been paying full attention to the golf (though always try to have a keen eye) and the build-up hasn't excited me immensly (no Monty, no Clarke, no Woods, etc) but i just got home tonight and watched a wee bit on sky, heard the pairings/stats/etc.

    Then i read your blog and it totally re-ignited my fires for one of the greatest contests in sport. Have now cleared the weekend and am going to get royally involved in watching and supporting europe despite the fact i'm a Scot and Monty fan who canny really stick Faldo.

    Granted, i'm gutted Monty and Clarke ain't there but its understood and i'm 110% behind our team. i've just been gripped with ryder cup fever and i can't wait.....

  • Comment number 17.

    We can forgive Faldo for his foibles. He was the best in the world for a long time and gave massive contribution to this trophy! It must drive you a bit barking when you have been at that level and are a bit of an egotist, then with your playing career behind you the game becomes so much more high profile and offers players superstar status to a much larger audience.
    The Eurpopean Team looked pretty good out there tonight. There were a couple of precarious attempts at singing national anthems from Hansen and Karllson. That was some set of shades Poulter had on. Must've knicked them from Beckham.
    Azinger chose Louisville to suit the bombers!!! He can't have noticed Stensen, Garcia and Casey in the Euro team.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.


    The BBC is for sharing - not for hoarding just because you contribute to it (or not, depending upon your tax status and whether you pay for license). Your comments about not having the right to watch are pure 'Little Englander' nuttiness!

    The beauty of its history is the quality of its broadcasting (and www blogs is broadcasting to a degree). It's up to Rob and his chum to maintain that tradition, not tarnish it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Without getting to anorakish, Rob's blog belongs to Rob and should take an apostrophe - unless the writer is called Rob Hodgett Blog - in which case the b in blog should be capped. Pity Honest John Hopkins of ye olde Thunderer ain't awake to take you to task. Can you explain Rob why there's no possessive apostrophe on your masthead? That answers not good enough. Come on, how can we enjoy your witty musings with the ' absent. I really insist you tell of us assembled in cyberworld why you've controversially excluded the ' from your team.....

  • Comment number 21.

    who is rob hodgetts? has he even won a monthly medal?
    Typical Faldo slagging, if you want some media-friendly captain who says all the right things and has a lovely smile get Jamie Redknapp to captain the European team. I know who I'd prefer.
    One line from your blog is spot on though Rob- "its time to call it quits".

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh dear, Deek. Had you left your original comment alone, you may have gained the upper hand.

    However, you've clearly proved you are just trolling for an argument and cheap, petty point-scoring.

    Dan Hicks began to introduce Nick Faldo for his opening speech. Faldo immediately looked uncomfortable and began looking around at others. Even when he was signalled to come to the microphone, Faldo was seen to be asking others on stage what was going on. To me, that clearly shows that Faldo believed that the running order for the ceremony would see Azinger's speech first. Thankfully, at least one other person (although i'm confident there will be many more), Rob Hodgetts, agrees with me. He was clearly flustered and made a sarcastic joke about getting the running order (of the opening ceremony) right. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. How you've managed to link that sandwiches is beyond me.

    Faldo got the name of one of his players WRONG.

    Faldo got the nationality of one of his players WRONG.

    I have opinions on many other aspects of his speech (as did Rob, it's his job to express them, no-one's forcing you to read them) but these are two cringeworthy FACTS.

    So, forgetting all "faldo-bashing" etc. Can you honestly, hand on heart, say that you were impressed with Nick Faldo's speech?

    If not, then why on earth did you even respond to this blog?

    If you were, well, I really don't know what to say...

  • Comment number 23.

    I knew as soon as Faldo was announced as Captain that certain people in the media with their old grudges against Faldo for having the audacity to be a successful British sportsmen would crawl out of the wood work to have pot shots at him. Doubtless Faldo knew it himself. Fortunately he doesn't give a toss what the media say about him. FACT: Faldo is a tactical genius. FACT: what he says in a pointless opening ceremony means nothing.

    Thank god the golf is starting finally, with luck that will put an end to this foolishness.

  • Comment number 24.


    Faldo's a great golfer, perhaps the best these Isles have produced. I'm not saying his performance at the opening ceremony was brilliant or polished. Why should it be? He's not a professionally-trained media presenter. I was commenting on Rob's and the media's 'Faldo-bashing'. Do I want to score cheap points? Probably. But that's all part of my petty nature.

  • Comment number 25.

    At what point on this blog has Mr Hodgetts (or myself) criticised Faldo's tactical ability?

    At no point. FACT.

    At what point has anyone suggested he is a poor choice as captain?

    At no point. FACT.

    I agree what he says at an opening ceremony has nothing to do with his ability to inspire his team to victory.

    However, this was a blog about, yes you guessed it, what he said at an opening ceremony. FACT.

    I sincerely hope you are proved right, and that Faldo leads our team to a record victory. However, you claim to know already that he is a "tactical genius. FACT."

    Surely, without evidence, that is purely... OPINION?

  • Comment number 26.

    Jeeez - after getting to the last comment I was almost convinced I was on a football blog! Relax a little folks - the author is entitled to his opinion. If he thought Faldo effed things up a bit, then maybe he did? That's not 'Faldo-bashing'. If you disagree, fine, but don't be all thirteen-years-old about it. These blogs are much more fun when the comments are constructive rather than arguementative.

    There. My 2 cents...

  • Comment number 27.

    Fair enough, Deek. I'd agree with Faldo being without doubt one of the greatest players from these isles. And I understand why so many people want to defend him against what they perceive as a Faldo witch-hunt.

    But this isn't an example of it. It was a journalist's opinion of Faldo's speech. Nothing more, nothing less.

    We'll just to agree to disagree on this one.

    Personally, I think Faldo's handled himself well and his team have said some very positive things about him this week. The fact that he was nervous shows how much it means to him. But, his speech was poor. I don't see any way round that.

    But let's hope it's just a blip. I've forgotten about it now. I just can't wait for the first tee-off!

  • Comment number 28.

    The journalist wanted to malign Faldo. His whole tone was negative. He mocked the ceremony for no reason. It's just a golf match. Similar scenes go on at clubs across the country. Perhaps Sky shouldn't have televised the whole thing live. Maybe Richard Curtis or Katie Price should have written the speeches for Nick and we could have resurrected Bill Hicks and Sam Kinson to script Zing's. If we want contrived soundbites, perhaps Simon Callow could captain the team in Wales.

    Anyway, let's enjoy the golf. Hope it's close and exciting. Watching the cup in the nineties first got me interested in playing. Cost me a fortune. Fortunately backing Faldo (and Pavin and Els) to win Majors more than covered most of the costs (if you don't count the hundreds of balls smashed aimlessly around the UK).

  • Comment number 29.

    Gents, whether it's Faldo bashing or not, the represantation Faldo gave on behalf of Europe last night was a total shambles and ultimate embarassment, from the minute he joked around whilst walking the team to the opening ceremony right up until he finished introducing them, I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing. Let's all hope that the 12 golfers we have out there are far more professional, which I have no doubt they are, when the first ball is teed up later today.

  • Comment number 30.

    Seems to me that everyone is squabbling pointlessly because there is no golf to watch so with any luck that should end today and some cracking golf can be discussed instead.

    I'm not for or against this blog piece myself but it's just a simple truth that large parts of the media are anti-Faldo. The media also want their cake and eat it because they reserve the right to be critical but are unwilling to accept any criticism. Problem the anti media brigade have (and i am one of them) is that the 'media' is too broad a term so there has to be some reason to support anti media comments and direct them appropriately.

    Just remember that this blog is 'auntie' speaking so any criticism, in truth, lacks the nastiness of the printed media in particular who wouldn't consider a job well done without a law suit somewhere. So don't know what the fuss is about. While I do have criticisms of the way BBC sport online handles golf they do at least give us a rounded flavour of what's going on at these huge events which is pretty good - even if it does make it sound like they're on a bit of a jolly and they do their best to keep us up to speed - in the absence of live coverage...

    One final truth determined by watching golf on Setanta is that Faldo isn't funny but he thinks he is so i had the remote ready to flip when the cringe-o-meter hit the red zone and Faldo was flipped a few times.

    Right, on with the golf................................

  • Comment number 31.

    A much anticipated golf tournament which provides as much excitement and high quality golf is about to get underway.

    Instead of the BBC helping to provide insight and build an atmosphere, they insist on this headline-grabbing, nit-picking Faldo bashing. So what if someone took a picture of his pairings? Has it made them any easier to beat? And so what if he was nervous at having to make a speech? Will that make Garcia or Harrington fluff a drive?

    The pairings look good to me - only concern is whether he is right to favour Casey and Pouter over Jimenez and McDowell.

    But I guess it would have been crazy to pick your 2 wildcards and then leave them on the bench. High risk strategy though. Lose and everyone will be pining for a certain Irishman (especially of Harrington loses too). Win and it's Darren who?

  • Comment number 32.

    Humour, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I don't find him funny. Then again, I supported him as a golfer and fund raiser. Dawn French on the other hand...if only Lenny wasn't so big.....

  • Comment number 33.

    Totally agree with MorlaisRocket.

    Richard Curtis? At leat he would have known who his players were... Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Right, let's get to talking about what really matters. The golf.

    Are we happy with Faldo's first choice of pairings?

    I think putting Harrington out first, for both his form and his temperament, is a shrewd move. It's a dream pairing, but i have a sneaking feeling Kim will inspire his pairing to victory.

    I think Casey will go on to become a huge star in the Ryder Cup and think he and Henrik Henson...sorry, Stenson...will get us back on level terms.

    Rose/Poulter v Cink/Campbell. I don't think Poulter will buckle under the pressure of being Faldo's so-called pet. Cink will be tough to beat however. I'll go for all square.

    Finally, Garcia/Westwood. Europe win.

    That's my predictions (watch them all go horribly wrong). Anyone else want to venture there predicted scores?

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh dear. Yet again, British armchair 'experts' are getting far too upset about nothing.

    Almost every sports fan in the UK seems to have this arrogance that their knowledge and views are far superior to anybody else's - and woe betide anyone who disagrees!

    Unfortunately, now it is getting to the stage where people are experts in journalism, too! Brilliant. How many posts above have complained about 'lazy journalism'? Believe me, children, you have no idea what you're talking about.

    The blog was entertaining, got the excitement bubbling for the match and achieved what it was meant to - it inspired debate.

    Right, now can we focus on the golf, please!

  • Comment number 35.

    Some FACT's being bandied about on here!!

    Isnt it great when people quote FACT's in the thinking that they have a superior knowledge of the subject than others.

    DavidPatten is spot on. Regardless of the quality of the content or presentation, Nick Faldo's speech was absolutely brilliant to watch.

    I'm sure he will be quite happy for the British gutter press to circle around him like vultures waiting to pounce on every slip he makes - if it means the players can get on with the job of winning the match - thats really all that matters........a point which some so called journalists in this country seem to forget in their attempts to publicly humilate and destroy one of our great sportsmen.

    Am I wrong I thinking that Faldo was picked for his skills and experience in the game of golf and importantly the Ryder Cup??? if so why do we care about an opening speech.

  • Comment number 36.

    LuigiGLFC - spot on! (and some giggles too...)

  • Comment number 37.

    Richard Curtis would have got the names right but he wouldn't have overturned Norman's Masters Lead in 96! Never seen the like in my life.

    Today's matches depend on the first one - America's best pair need to win to give the team momentum. Lose and I think fragile confidence could evapourate. As always. it's down to the putting! Drive for show, putt for dough (or points)....

  • Comment number 38.


    Armchair experts in journalism? The implication is that you are? A condescending one at that. I'd have a lot more respect for journalists if they didn't rely on PR to hands them stories on a plate and they stepped outside of their comfort zones.

    And Rob's blog would have been infinitely more interesting and relevant if he'd spoken to the thousands of Europeans watching the matches, ascertained their opinions, rather than given us his, told us their stories of what they want from the weekend rather than reporting (if that's what you call it) what we've all just seen on Sky ourselves.

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    Deek1961 - I can assure you that I am not a journalist, which is why I don't feel qualified to criticise those that are.

    A blog is based on opinion. You may disagree with the opinion stated, but you can't criticise this form of reporting as 'lazy journalism' unless you have a working understanding of the profession.

    A blog is a viewpoint, designed to inspire debate. As such, in my opinion this blog was a success. How can that be lazy journalism?

    And for the record, my opinion (and that's all it is) about Faldo is that his opening speech was well-meaning but flawed - getting the name of one of your players wrong is not very impressive, let's be honest. Still, I would suggest nerves played a huge part in that - and who can blame him for being nervous!

  • Comment number 41.

    Deek, for someone so scathing about Rob's blog you certainly do not appear to be too much of an authority yourself, either on golf or the english language.

    Glass houses anyone?

    Lighten up or take your views to a forum which might possibly appreciate them

  • Comment number 42.

    Faldo was cringeworthy last night, like David Brent in full flow.

    Introducing Soren Hansen as Soren Stenson - his crass comments about Lee Westwood " he`s gone from a 40 inch waist to a 34 inch waist he`s done well" - his comments about Harrington "this mans hit more balls than they have plated potatoes in Ireland" - and his "do you come from Ireland or Northern Ireland to Graeme McDowell were all an absolute embarassment, and dont even get me started on his "introducing the family" speech.
    No wonder the `Zinger only half jokingly said, "Thanks for keeping it brief Nick"

  • Comment number 43.


    What does BLOG actually mean? Is it do with the medium or the type of message? I honestly don't know. Whatever, it's job is to entertain, not to slaughter somebody who cannot retaliate. Now that would be funny. Faldo doing a press conference where he corrected the copy of the journalists and pointed out their sloppy writing. If you read the Guardian, Lonnie Donnegan attributed his bitterness towards Faldo to Thomas Bjorn because of his lack of control of the English language.

  • Comment number 44.

    I preferred the governer aka Mr Kentucky's speech - aside from the fact that he wasnt fat there's nothing like someone living up to their american stereotype is there. Lets Rumble!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Deek1961 - go and read a few more pages of The Guardian. You need to chill out a bit...

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm not ashamed to say that I love Nick Faldo - as a golfer and also as a person. He has a way about him which I find amusing. The media hated him because he was a winner (and we can't have that in Britain, can we - see Andy Murray?) and have been waiting for this moment to rip into him. Just remember the things said about Woosnam before the last RC?

  • Comment number 47.

    Isn't it interesting how at the slightest hint of criticism of Nick Faldo, there's an almost rabid defence of him on the basis of his playing record. I don't think anybody's criticised his playing record, but the fact is he's not a player here, he's the European Ryder Cup captain and with that comes a certain amount of responsibility, including dealing with the press and making speeches.

    Should we be surprised at these aspects of his performance this week? Of course we shouldn't, his history with the press is well documented and only a fool would think being Ryder Cup captain would change that relationship. However, I think it's right that we're still free to assess Faldo's performance in these areas, and offer criticism where it's merited.

    In my view, the whole tone of his speech yesterday didn't sit well with the occasion. I'm really not interested in what his daughter wants to do for a living.

    Deek1961, I think his reference to not taking his father's advice, coming straight after telling the crowd his parents had been together for 61 years, was a 'joke' about his own failed marriages. The point is, if we're all left guessing what he's on about, the speech is hardly a success.

    The gaffes with regard to the names and nationalities of his players hardly promote a sense of team spirit to the viewing public. These players are so valuable to his team that he doesn't know their name or where they come from? Was he joking? It hardly matters. Rob's comments "It's not Faldo bashing for the sake of it, but there are sensibilities to be aware of" seem to me to be a fairly temperate assessment of Faldo's remarks.

    I watched the opening ceremony on Sky with my 10-year old son who is largely unaware of Faldo's past. From his position of relative innocence/ignorance was completely bewildered by Faldo's speech and even asked if he was drunk.

    It's reassuring to know, Rob, that there was a similar reaction at Valhalla. Unfortunately, the fact that you had the audacity to report this leaves you open to criticism from the pro-Faldo thought police who will not hear a word said against Nick iunder any circumstances. Repeat the offence and they'll be calling to have you indicted for High Treason.

    Carry on the good work on behalf of us who want to make our own minds up. I'll visit you in the Tower once the Golf's over - hopefully with news of another European victory.

  • Comment number 48.

    the bottom line is that faldo is a winner, and i'll be very surprised if that doesn't continue this weekend.

  • Comment number 49.

    Can't wait for it to start. Hope I am not being over optimistic but I really cant see us losing a match in the opening 4somes.

    Harrington/Karlsson win
    Casey/Stensen half
    Poulter/Rose win
    Garcia/Westwood win

    Might even pop to the bookies and see what the odds are.

  • Comment number 50.

    The beauty of its history is the quality of its broadcasting (and www blogs is broadcasting to a degree). It's up to Rob and his chum to maintain that tradition, not tarnish it.

    you got to be joking, the bbc website is now like a red top. sensational (inaccurate) headlines, journalist with agendas and vendettas. your idea of the bbc being a bastian of high standards is so out of date. clearly you are delusional like stephen fry with regard to the mythical status of the bbc.

    for example, every single blog article in this series has at least one dig at faldo. i suppose the little man wants to try and knock a bigger man down a peg or two and the only he can do it is in print but its really sad. its all down to the fact that faldo doesn't play into the media's hands - so what get over.

  • Comment number 51.

    Bottom line is, Faldo could've strode to the stage with a spinning bow tie and delivered his speech in Swahili, if Europe retains the Cup then no-one will care.

    Just the same as happened with Langer and Woosnam in the build-up, their faults magnified in hopes of spotting some vital psychological mistake. Much like in boxing where some people put so much importance in who 'wins' the staredown and so on.

    To the victor goes the spoils!

  • Comment number 52.


    I've read the Guardian. Better than prozac. However, it's the double espressos and Shane McGowan on the iPod that's getting me all het up and over excited.

  • Comment number 53.

    Faldo was embarrassing. He had no idea how to deport himself. He did not know what he should or should not say or how to make a quip and get away with it. At his age he should know himself better and not try to behave in a way that is not in his character. Let's face it, Nick is not an entertainer and, frankly, I don't expect him to try. I expect him to captain his team. Keep the speeches simple. His effort was cringeworthy.
    Now, let's play some golf. I will say this before a ball is struck. I think Faldo's decision to choose Poulter over Clarke will prove to be a poor one. Hopefully, it won't prove crucial and Europe can still win. In any case I'm looking forward to some stunning golf as this is a competition that always produces. Good luck to both sides.

  • Comment number 54.

    I read the Financial Times - better than downers at the moment - couple that with the fact that I support Huddersfield TOwn and I'm one depressed individual.

    Roll on a Euro Win.

  • Comment number 55.

    Shane McGowan? God, and I was just about to go to lunch...

    Does anyone know where I can find streaming coverage? I know I should be working, but it was the same during the olympics...

    BTW, I'm in Belgium, not UK...

  • Comment number 56.

    deedeegee - all very well put. Couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Rob, Alex,

    Well you've certainly provoked a reaction on this one, if judged in terms of quantity.

    Thanks for your entertaining blogs so far this week. I, for one, appreciate the tone and humour employed. I'm looking forward to more of them as the next 3 days unfold - especially the flavour of the atmosphere that you bring for those of us that can't be there.

    I'll be interested to know your guess on the proportion of European supporters in the crowd? I was surprised at how many there appeared to be at the opening ceremony - or was that just strategic positioning of the Sky cameras? And what's your assessment of the mood of the American supporters?

    I'm hoping for 2.5 to 1.5 in Europe's favour by lunchtime. I've got a nasty feeling that this Cup's going to be a real tussle.

    No Matt this year?

  • Comment number 58.

    I really hope faldo will prove me wrong - his performance so far is just not good enough - my 4 year old daughter could deliver a better speech.
    His Ireland/N.Ireland comment if deliberate was not funny and some might say offensive. If it wasn't deliberate I do worry.
    If Europe win, it will have nothing to do with faldo and if they lose i will be one of many who will sadly say "i told you so"

  • Comment number 59.

    It seems now that anyone who criticises Faldo in any way is now Faldo Bashing - a rather black and white (or just black) way of responding to other people's opinions.

    Faldo has earned the right as one of the greatest Ryder cup players to be captain and I truly believe it is an honour for which he is extremely proud.

    However, his performance last night at the opening ceremony was embarrasing. Does that make him a poor captain - No but it is part of the job, should he have done better - Yes. His main downfall was that he tried to be funny, he tried to grab the stage, he was not content with doing the normal safe and honourable speech, he wanted everyone to say afterwards, what a great guy, what a laugh. That's why he sets himself up for everyone to have a pop at him and he wonders why everyone thinks he's selfish? Well duh.

    It was not just one thing that he got wrong - several:

    1) Soren Stenson
    2) McDowall - Irish or N. Irish
    3) Using the stage to plug his family's careers
    4) Congrats to his parents on 61 years marriage - then making a joke about his
    5) Introduction of Casey
    6) Introducing players as...."you've prbably never heard of him"
    7) Westwood's waistline
    8) A dating service for McDowall
    9) Harrington and potatoes
    10) I'm an 11 time rider cupper
    11) Funny walk at the start
    12) And I'm sure he said at one point "these guys have come here to play for me"

    So I think Rob's blog was actually a lot more temperate that it could have been and he actually tried not to 'Faldo Bash' even though Faldo deserved it.

    "Thanks for keeing it brief Nick" - oh how I wish he had.

    Bring on the golf, and Faldo, no more mistakes please, win the Ryder Cup and no one will care about the speech.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yes, Faldo looked completely uneasy when giving his speech and you could see he was outside his comfort zone. However, as his biggest Scottish fan ever I'll judge him on his captaincy, the golf and the result. Not his public speaking.

    Zinger thanked him for his 'brief' speech, then proceeded to talk for about just as long.

    The sound quality was poor, the so called tribute to Payne Stewart a joke and as for the 'throngs' that Rob said were in attendance, I must have missed them. There were so many empty seats and gaps in the crowd. It was just as well the band was big, to make it look like people were there.

    As soon as the teams were announced the fans drifted off leaving few listening to the final stages. If this crowd is the USA's 13th man then I fear for them.

    Anyhoo, my point is this - cut this opening ceremony charade into a 20 minute here's us, here's them, encourage friendly rivalry and every player shakes hands on the stage before walking off to, I don't know, maybe a Ryder Cup anthem.

    Also, wouldn't it be good to see the captains together more during the matches, just like they were in some of the old footage we saw.

    It's the same at a penalty shoot-out at football. The final penalty is scored/missed and everyone runs off to piley-on their team. To get the players to act right, make the managers stand together, shake hands when it's all done and dusted and then celebrate.

    C'mon Europe. I'm going for a 16-12 win.

  • Comment number 61.


    Great name. Totally unrelated to that great Liverpool midfielder who performs with such passion and composure for his country? Or is the claim to fame sharing the same initials. Wow.

    And what do you mean lighten up? I am being light. You should see me (read me) when I'm anglee.

    Finally, not sure if you were offering to sell glasshouses? How much you flogging them for if you are?

  • Comment number 62.

    Irony. It's a great thing, shame it's lost on some.

    Come on you Blues

  • Comment number 63.


    As you're such a linguistic authority, does irony still exist if the person it's aimed at misses it? Like the tree falling silently in the forest with no one to hear it!

  • Comment number 64.

    Irony is lost on me - my wife does it all.

    Agree with most of the points made by Sparks - assuming the BCFC doesnt stand for Bradford City.

    Up the Town

  • Comment number 65.

    I've never, ever posted on a blog before but this poor article has really upset me. Why do the British press take such glee in bashing Faldo at every opportunity? Faldo's not a great speaker, so what! He's the greatest British golfer of the modern era. When I grew up playing golf he was the man. To most of the young members of the European team he will be the man. "..and the obligatory thanks to the Valhalla greenstaff (even schoolboy golfers at junior level know to start a golf speech with this one) " ..... didn't they have a hurricane last week! Is that not fair comment? Give the guy a break please.

  • Comment number 66.


    Can I add a few you missed

    13) From Cespania . . . Sergio Garcia. (Just where is Cespania?)
    14) Valderama-halla (Presumably it's the capital city of Cespania)

    A further thought strikes me. Did Faldo run his speech past anybody beforehand?

    If so surely they would have advised him it wasn't a world-beater (even if well delivered, which it wasn't)?

  • Comment number 67.

    duncfunk64, don't get upset :-(

  • Comment number 68.

    Can any of you Faldo 'JOKERS' post a web-spot where the uninitiated (read non-golfers) might see the text of this famously hilarious speech?

    Sounds great fun!

    Honestly guys, you are all among the worst communicators in the business...and what a surprise - you all love the most selfish game in business - golf

    Good luck Nick. The supreme professional in a sea of wannabees.

  • Comment number 69.


    Has somebody spiked your drink? Abstract to say the least.

    Good luck Europe!

  • Comment number 70.

    Can everyone stop jumping on the Faldo-bashing bandwagon and give the guy a break. Despite his humorous speech going slightly pear-shaped, at least he tried to liven it up a bit, unlike the Zinger. Furthermore, I think his wildcard picks are gutsy and exciting and I look forward to him being proved right rather than going for players still living on former glories. Poults will bring the points home and will keep us entertained while doing it. So let's leave Faldo alone and enjoy watching Europe doing the business. I for one am très excited.

  • Comment number 71.

    Give us a LINK goddamnit!

    what did Faldo say, word for word?

    is that abstract enough for you you selfish (US?) golfing weasels...

  • Comment number 72.


    Very aggressive for somebody who hasn't even seen the speech - and yet you expect me to provide a link for a transcript of the speech. 'Fraid not. You don't speak from a position of strength and that I could forgive, but please don't accused me of being American!!!

    Great start in the first two matches by the Europeans.

  • Comment number 73.

    What are the odds on a clean sweep by the Europeans...Might be worth a cheeky fiver?

  • Comment number 74.

    So we are criticising Faldo, for

    i) writing down who plays with who on a piece of paper and uncovering it for a few nanoseconds which allowed some journo sleazebag to photograph it

    ii) Cracking a few rubbish jokes

    Both hanging offences I'd say.

    God help him if he forgets to tie his shoelace or do his flies up. Personally I'd rather have a real person (who occasionally makes mistakes) representing Europe than some PR-trained gladhander afraid to say anything interesting in case it affects his corporate image.

    Go Europe!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    99zardoz - Correct.

    And if that person happens to be a proven winner then all the better.

  • Comment number 76.

    deedeegee - you are a Golfer. Congratulations

    other nerds from or across the pond may still apply


    please post a LINK to this speech by Nick 'Captain' Faldo!

    Aggressive? Oh, deary me...and the Iraqi innocents have a watered, Bush designed course to play on do they?

    Do One, won't ya? - you degenerated DDG

  • Comment number 77.


    Now you're just being silly. You're confusing Golf with the Gulf.

    Please feel free to ignore me from now on, I'm only too happy to reciprocate.

    Back to the golf -with an 'o'.

  • Comment number 78.

    AlcoholFreeBeers - I take it you dont like golfers?

    I don't play or watch - the Ryder cup and Open are very much an exception for me because they allow a certain amount of national pride similar to the footy, cricket, rugby league etc.

    The open because it is the most prestigous golfing event and its ours - it doesnt need the biggest prize money etc, just the jug.

    The ryder cup because its team orientated and has brits in it.

    I dont think you have to be a golf fan to post on here - more just a sports fan - the majority on here are probably just that.

  • Comment number 79.

    Watching Faldo trying to pretend to be Human was eerily similar to V The Invasion, although their disguises were a bit better.
    I think he should be forced to take a Medical so that we can find out one way or the other.

  • Comment number 80.

    Rattle a dead bird no matter how big the cage, eh?

    Faldo is a Legend - ie untouchable.

    You are all rather too fond of yourselves to realise that true golf is Faldo.

    Pathetic attempts to smear and/or underplay this fact.

    Vapid European voices against Faldo are unwelcome.

    Happy game now, everyone.

  • Comment number 81.


    It is most likely that is it Shane MacGowan you are listening to. I (and probably you) have no idea who Shane McGowan is, but I suspect he may be alarmed if you are listening to him on your iPod.

    Surely Prozac requires a capital P.

    You need to add an apostrophe into your earlier entry too. I know Faldo/Norman was a while ago but it wasn't back in 96. You are 1900 years out.

    For someone so willing to subjectively critise another's efforts you really should take more care with your English and your facts.

    Finally, I've enjoyed reading Rob's views on the build up to the start of the actual golf.


  • Comment number 82.

    It's all very well for the BBC to criticise Faldo for getting Soren Hansen's name wrong at the opening ceremony, but it's not really fair on Faldo if you then list him in the live text commentary as "A Hansen"!

  • Comment number 83.


    First it's Deeks - not Derek. Second, I don't get paid for writing this stuff so it don't need to be perfect. Third, prozac is used as a generic term to describe a stupifying drug. Fourth, we all know I meant 1996 and not 96AD when golf wasn't invented. Fourth, the missing apostrophe is slackness (re point 2). Fifth, why should I take more care of my English and fact when you don't?

  • Comment number 84.


    Fair comment on the name and the English. I have just read through my post.

    Factually I think I was spot on, although the '96 comment was meant to be bit facetious. I don't agree with your Prozac point though; it is a tradename afterall...

    Still, the golf was good so roll on 2010.


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