The Ryder Cup Rogers
- 24 Sep 06, 09:31 PM
K CLUB – So much has happened here in the last two hours that I almost don’t know where to start. What I do know is that the much-maligned Weston Aerodrome car park is scheduled to close in an hour and a half so I better get on with it.
Perhaps the biggest revelation of the last two hours is that the rumours were true – Guinness really is free in the press tent. Can you imagine how rude about the opening ceremony I would have been if I had known that earlier?
Anyway, back in July at Hoylake, Rob and I inaugurated a younger, hipper rival to the very staid Association of Golf Writers. We called this thrusting new body the Royal Order of Golf Editors and Reporters (ROGER) and we dished out some awards, the Rogers.
We all know that Ian Woosnam and Europe have held onto a certain little trophy but who else will be leaving here with an award? Read on for the full list of Ryder Cup Rogers.
The Perry Como prize: My magic moment was going to be telling Michael Jordan that Monty had just holed a putt to go one up in Friday’s foursomes (he had an enormous cigar but no radio) as we watched the Tiger/Furyk v Donald/Garcia game. But then Darren Clarke went and downed that pint of black stuff on the balcony of the Palmer Clubhouse. I love that man.
The Fidel Castro award: This is for services in the field of irritating America. Take a bow PGA Tour player Sergio Garcia. The cheeky Spaniard has a 75% win record in four Ryder Cups and was once again his team’s main source of inspiration and comedy. “There’s nothing sweeter than beating the Americans,” is how Garcia described this victory whilst biting the hand that feeds him. To which a US hack standing beside me, shook her head and said smiling, “He’s been waiting to say that all week…the *%!”
The Theo Walcott ribbon: There are a few contenders for this “invisible man” accolade, and most of them were in the away dressing room. Chris “NYC” DiMarco goes close but he did at least make his presence felt by pumping his fist at anything even vaguely American he spotted in the crowd (a baseball cap, a hotdog, a Man Utd shirt). So the person who really made the least impact this week was Phil Mickelson. Come on Lefty, how long is this Winged Foot funk going to last?
The Ian Poulter prize: This is always a highly-contested accolade at golf tournaments as it rewards garish ineptitude in the field of fashion. It looked like the Americans had it sewn up with their Oirish gent meets Open All Hours’ Granville outfit at Dublin airport on Monday, but then, just as they did in the golf, the Europeans hit back with peppermint jackets at the opening ceremony and pink jackets at the closing ceremony. “Game show” doesn’t even begin to describe these ensembles. The pinks win it for me. (Ed: It has since come to our attention that the reason the European team chose pink was to highlight the work of a breast cancer charity. To be fair to Matt, he did ring in when he found out.)
The Cannon and Ball award: Double acts are vital in this game and Europe had plenty - Sergio and Olly, DC and Lee, Casey and Howler. But the pair that will have to squabble over this gong are Sergio and Luuuuuuuuuke Donald. Not only did they beat Tiger & Furyk and Lefty and DT, they were also hilarious, in two languages.
The Abigail Clancy cup: While being slightly concerned about the footbally/tabloidy influences creeping into the noble game, it was impossible to ignore the presence and impact of the Ryder Cuppers’ better halves this week. They were everywhere. Together. In matching outfits. I was tempted to give this to Morgan Norman, Sergio’s special friend, but that would mean too many prizes going in his direction (and he would claim the credit). So I’m going to award this one to Glen Woosnam. As behind every good man there must be a good woman. And she was the first to stand up and dance during Carlos Nunez’ crazy bag-pipe solo in the opening ceremony.
The Billy Crystal prize: Presenting a live event to a huge audience of international viewers ain’t easy. Only a few consummate charmers can really pull it off. “Wossy”, Fry, Wogan…but now a new name can be added to that list, Ni Bheolain. It has already been pointed that I may like Sharon Ni Bheolain rather too much to be professional about this. All I can is that in my notes for the closing ceremony I have written, “Sharon is back….in black!” So for all those who thought I was criticising the RTE newsreader, I wasn’t. Look, I’ve just given her a ROGER, haven’t I?
The Nat King Cole award: This goes to anybody who can smile though their heart is aching. A strong contender would be Tom Lehman, who has been a class act today. But I’m going to give it to my American colleagues for raising a laugh in the press tent. No sooner had Butch Harmon finished burying the US team and praising the Europeans on the big screen than the presenter cut away to tell us what was coming up later. The announcement that the Cincinnati Bengals’ visit to Pittsburgh would be on next was greeted with huge cheers. The ‘we don’t care about the Ryder Cup anymore’ reaction has started already.
The Celtic prize: That's Celtic with a soft "C" as this goes to the "best fans in the world". Lot's of football clubs in Britain argue about this one but I'm here to tell them they're all wrong. The best sports fans in the world have been those that were here this week. Every one of them. Even the gaggle of face-painted American teens that bravely chanted "U-S-A" in front of a grandstand of at least 1,000 slightly tipsy Irish spectators.
And that is that for me. I can’t risk being trapped in Leixlip for the night.
God bless, and thanks for reading.
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