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No Brookline blues for Woosie's army

  • Matt Slater - BBC Sport golf writer
  • 24 Sep 06, 11:17 AM

matt_slater55x55.jpgK 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.

If I had a euro for every time I heard somebody say Brookline in Dublin last night and on the bus here this morning I would be well down the road to early retirement.

Memories of the Sunday singles massacre in 1999 are still pretty raw for the European golf fan. Let’s hope our boys are inspired by the joy of winning and not the fear of losing.

And I think they will be. This may be offering a hostage or two to fortune, but I’m with Monty on this one – let’s win every session. The redoubtable Scot also pointed out that this is a very different team to the one that got steam-rollered in Brookline. Everybody has already played and contributed, and there are no weak links.

At the start of the week I thought it would be close. Now I’m not so sure. I can see us winning at least seven of these singles to give us a healthy victory margin.

We’ve won the last two singles sessions 7.5-4.5. The old cliché about the Americans always winning on Sunday is so last century.

Yes, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson win more and bigger tournaments than our players, but man for man we are far better side. The rankings - and the results here so far this week - don’t lie.

And in matchplay, in front of a passionate Irish crowd, our prospects get even rosier.

There was another piece of received wisdom coming into this weekend – Tom Lehman would out-captain Ian Woosnam.

Well, I don’t think Lehman could have done much different this weekend, his players just haven’t performed, but he has certainly not out-captained Woosie.

The wee Welshman had to put up with a lot of flak in the build-up (not from this blog!) but he is now only 4.5 points away from leading Europe to an unprecedented third straight Ryder Cup.

But could he have saved his finest strategic gem until the last? Who’s there in the middle of the draw (in victory-sealing territory)? Irish heroes Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.

And with all respect to McGinley, who has already had his Ryder Cup legends moment, I know who I, and pretty much everybody here, would like to see jump in the lake this afternoon.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:47 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Andy Thompson wrote:

10-6 going into the singles and everybody on the European side of things is saying the right things by cautioning against complacency or over-confidence.

Meanwhile on the American side of the Pond everyone is clinging onto one last tenuous straw - Brookline '99.

Yes they trailed by the same margin on Sunday morning then and, yes, we all know what happened next! But I identify two hugely significant differences which will mean that there is no repitition of that sad day.

First, Tiger says that a fast start by the US team will induce a sea change and cause the Europeans to panic. However this fails to recognise the key of home advantage - the panic in '99 came largely when the US start got their crowd involved, whoopin' & a-hollerin', and they became the 13th man - not going to happen today.

Second, and most crucially, as I look down the European order I don't see the names of Coltart, Sandelin, Van de Velde or Lawrie - in short we are solid, no weak links or passengers. We have the deepest European team ever and a team that I know (hope...think!) will bring the cup home comfortably this afternoon.

PS.... a third factor for good measure - surely the Yanks can't wear as garishly off-putiing shirts as they did at Brookline!!

  • 2.
  • At 11:51 AM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Mark A wrote:

Of course, while Brookline is a nagging gremlin in the back of all European fans' minds, the home advantage will surely ensure that such a comeback is not repeated.
The support for the Europeans on the first tee (and beyond) is incredible. Their determination to out-shout the American supporters is obvious, as demonstrated with their chants of "Ser - gee - oh, Ser - gee - oh!" drowning out the attempted " U - S - A, U - S - A!"
Whatever happens, I'm sure it will be a dramatic final day. Of course, it's easy to be magnanimous when you're feeling more confident about proceedings than ever before.

[Final score: Eur 17 - 11 USA]

  • 3.
  • At 12:10 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Mark A wrote:

Just heard a worrying (well, from the betting side of things, anyway) suggestion that, were Europe to do the unthinkable and close out the match in the first five or six games, the remainder of the pairings would likely shake hands and head to the bar.
All of a sudden, I'm hoping the US team make a fight of it.

  • 4.
  • At 12:39 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Liza wrote:

I am a psychic based in Queensland. I have just had a strong vision that Europe will take this, Tiger will cry from dissapointment and you will have roast beef and yorkshire pudding for lunch. Avoid peanuts this evening.

  • 5.
  • At 02:52 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Slater wrote:

G'day Liza, you are scary! Not in a looks way, I'm sure you're lovely, but in a psychic way. Europe will take this, Tiger may well have a little cry later when nobody is about and I did have roast beef and yorkshire pudding for lunch (well, it was kind of brunch as I missed dinner last night - had Guinness instead - and breakfast this morning). I will definitely avoid peanuts this evening. Thank you.

  • 6.
  • At 04:25 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Garf wrote:

Specially avoid nuts saying "top o t'morning to ya"

amazing team performance by all the Euopeans...and amazing crowds to cheer them on...even the liquid sunshine didnt make them shut up. Round of applause for the Irishmen for hosting another bit of history!

  • 7.
  • At 06:08 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Anne wrote:

Congratulations to Europe.

It's been fun reading your blogs and other viewpoints.


  • 8.
  • At 07:11 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Mike, USA PGA Pro wrote:

I must say I'm surprized by all the talk of Brookline on this day when the Euros march to another victory. That was 7 years and four Ryder Cups ago. Get over it and enjoy this one.

  • 9.
  • At 08:08 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Slater wrote:

Mike, you're absolutely right. We just lack your New World optimism and get-up-and-go over here. We remember old defeats far longer than we recall recent wins. Something to do with our centuries old cynicism and pessimism, I suppose.

But that's it for Brookline talk, I promise. That boil is officially lanced.

And I will now start to enjoy this victory. See you in Kentucky.

  • 10.
  • At 03:18 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • King Slice wrote:

Do people really take the Ryder Cup seriously? I'm a big fan of golf, but as far as I am concerned its an individual's sport---and the whole nationalistic mumbo-jumbo makes no sense. Anyhow, congrats to the Europeans for winning----Whatever gets you through the night.

  • 11.
  • At 08:53 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Richard Simpson wrote:

A massively impressive performance from the team only matched by Tom Lehman's demeanour and quiet style - very difficult under the circumstances.

  • 12.
  • At 10:33 AM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • John Joyce wrote:

I can't get over how much Woosie resembles Mickey Rooney , with a touch of a friendly pug in his mix .

  • 13.
  • At 03:26 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Paul Brown wrote:

Surely it is now time for the USA to team up with South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka etc etc. The Ryder Cup must become Europe V The Rest of the World, how else will it ever become competitive again?

  • 14.
  • At 05:58 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • Willy wrote:

No sour grapes here, the best team won. But it sure was nice to see Sergio get his ass handed to him by Cink...

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