All entries in this category: Matt Slater
- 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.
- 24 Sep 06, 03:46 PM
K CLUB - So there is to be no Irishman in a lake scenario this time...but who cares!
The soft, rookie underbelly of the US team always looked vulnerable and once their top order had been dealt with it became a race to the line for Europe's middle order.
The crowd wanted an Irishman (and ideally a certain Northern Irishman) but will definitely settle for a Swede. Well done Henrik Stenson.
Having won "only" half a point prior to the singles and struggling early on against opponent Vaughn Taylor, the 30-year-old from Gothenburg finally started to open his shoulders and justify his world ranking of 11.
- 24 Sep 06, 03:12 PM
K CLUB - Oh Woosie, you old romantic, you!
Sharon Ni Bheolain, the single saving grace of the opening ceremony, said you were "a Celt..from across the Irish sea!" and she was clearly on to something. Talk about giving the paying public they want.
In putting Darren Clarke seventh in your singles line-up you sent out a message to your top six - get our boy into position for the story and photo that will define this weekend.
As things stand, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey have done their bit, and Luke Donald and Paul McGinley are scrapping away to tee Clarke up for yet another Irish victory jig at a Ryder Cup.
- 24 Sep 06, 11:17 AM
K 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.
- 23 Sep 06, 03:28 PM
K CLUB – So what have we learned since lunchtime (there’s another meal reference for you, Garrett!)?
One, Tom Lehman doesn’t read this blog. Or if he does, he doesn’t care for its opinions.
And two, either NBC Sports or the staff in the media centre do because our audio feed to the US TV coverage has been stopped. This is a shame because Johnny Miller and the gang agreed with me about giving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson some Ryder Cup rest.
So what did Cap’n Tom do this afternoon?
- 23 Sep 06, 11:53 AM
K CLUB – Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, JFK, Richard Nixon, Mike Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, we are beating them all! George Bush, can you hear me? George Bush, your boys are taking one hell of a beating! One hell of a beating!
I have just returned to the media centre after watching two hours of the worst golf played by Tiger Woods in these islands since the world number one got blown off course at the 2002 Open at Muirfield.
After 27 holes of fourball, the American superstar has carded only three birdies. There have also been at least three bogeys. And that is with matchplay “gimmes”. But he is far from being the only US banker to fail to show up for captain Tom Lehman this weekend. Phil Mickelson has delivered only one birdie in 28 holes with his own ball.
Tom, time to think the unthinkable, old chap. Bench your top two and unleash Vaughn Taylor.
- 22 Sep 06, 08:07 PM
K CLUB – Seven of the eight games go to the last, all 12 of Europe’s players feature, all of them contribute at least a half and Monty holes a clutch putt on the 18th. What a day!
Sergio Garcia was at his sparkling best, Tiger Woods toiled and Darren Clarke delighted the home fans with an emotionally-charged display of skill and determination.
European captain Ian Woosnam could hardly contain himself he was so excited at the end, but he will know the Americans showed plenty of quality and heart themselves on this first day – there is plenty more meat on the bone of this Ryder Cup.
But if the Europeans shaded the matchplay honours on Friday, who won top chat award? Here are our quotes of the day:
- 22 Sep 06, 04:21 PM
K CLUB – We’ve just kicked off again after the interval on day one and there are a few things I noticed out on the course.
One, the Americans are here. They had been a bit scarce during the practice days but they’ve pitched up today. I know, I was standing behind two of them at the 12th as they billowed cigar smoke into my face.
And I’m fairly sure they were Cohibas…aren’t they banned in the US? Oh well, getting a decent smoke is probably worth the journey, never mind the golf.
Michael Jordan was chugging away on an enormous cheroot too as he watched Tiger & Jim take on Monty & Porridge. But I couldn’t get close enough to tell if he was busting any sanctions or not.
- 22 Sep 06, 07:41 AM
K CLUB - Oh lordy, here we go.
Channel 4's inspired scheduling of Happy Gilmour last night has teed things up perfectly at a K Club that is becalmed weatherwise but utterly bongo golfwise.
Just scoffed a bacon roll but before I dash off to see Tiger & Jim get things rolling against Monty & Padraig let's get a few things down in black and white.
Rob is going for a 15.5-12.5 win for Europe with Sergio top-scoring for us and Tiger for them...the git. I, obviously, have to say something different so I'm going for 15-13 to us with Padraig and DiMarco leading the way. Let's get it on!
- 21 Sep 06, 07:18 PM
K CLUB – It seems a sporting event can’t start these days until 60 dancers have re-enacted a piece of literature, a crazy-looking “world musician” has performed a medley of his or her “hits” and a local television personality has spent an hour telling us how great the host country is.
When even last weekend’s West Brom v Southend game had some Andy McNab-type abseiling from the top of the stand to deliver the ball I suppose the Ryder Cup’s opening ceremony was always going to be more than a brass band and handshakes.
But did it meet its objective of “establishing the benchmark against which all future opening ceremonies and host nations of the Ryder Cup will be judged”? Wales might be worried but I think America, with its legions of Disney employees, will be OK.
Somebody asked us earlier to call things as we see them, so here is my blow-by-blow account – and tribute to Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses – of Thursday’s extravaganza (fans of art installations or contemporary dance may want to stop reading here).
- 21 Sep 06, 11:08 AM
K CLUB – A couple of weeks ago I immodestly claimed this was the blog that moved markets, as the price on an American win plummeted after my plea for Europe to return to their time-honoured underdog status.
But after a lengthy editorial meeting in our Dublin HQ – “Ireland’s largest genuine Irish brewery”, The Porterhouse – we decided that we would no longer write about traffic, tickets, security or the weather. We also decided to wait a bit longer before retiring as it was “80s night” and they still hadn’t played “Ghostbusters”.
We should, however, close this chapter by giving credit where credit is due. Today’s “North Car Park” experience was first-rate. No idea if we had anything to do with that – we did make the Irish press and radio, after all – but well done to all involved. Now let’s get on with the golf.
- 20 Sep 06, 07:21 PM
K CLUB - It wasn't all queues in the car park, American golfers skimming golf balls off the water like pebbles and Irish satirists upsetting the world's most famous sportsman, there was some excellent chat too.
With actual golf being not such an attractive proposition for the players today the assembled press were treated to a steady diet of press conferences and interviews.
The general themes? The Americans are having "a bunch of fun", nobody wants to be favourites and Brett Wetterich is actually a bit of a card.
Here are some of the best quotes that Rob (when he wasn't appearing on national radio programmes to defend his comments about the organisers' door policy this morning) and I heard at Ryder Cup HQ.
- 20 Sep 06, 05:25 PM
K CLUB – To many British golf writers and commentators Ian Woosnam, in his current capacity as European Ryder Cup captain, is an accident waiting to happen.
To the rest he is even worse than that.
Flailing and failing, the general consensus has been that any success the Europeans enjoy here this week will be despite Woosie rather than because of him.
But now, midway through the pre-event practice sessions, could the Welsh wizard have finally pulled a trick on his seemingly savvier American counterpart?
- 19 Sep 06, 05:53 PM
K CLUB - The first official day of practice for the 36th Ryder Cup is almost over so it is time to jot down a few things we have learned in Straffan on Tuesday.
First, Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam may well have plenty in common – golf, for starters – but they speak completely different languages. Never has Winston Churchill’s adage about two nations being divided by a common language been better proved than at press conferences held by these two men.
Second, Chad Campbell’s wife Amy is, according to A&R man Lehman, a phenomenal singer – “recording quality”.
And third, Woosnam spent “six months” just getting the Europeans’ water-proofs “right”. We did not learn if Glendryth Woosnam helped her husband with the sewing.
- 19 Sep 06, 11:23 AM
STRAFFAN - I promised not to talk about the traffic in the Dublin area so I won't say anymore about the French farmers' style roadblock that is the M50.
I will say, however, that this is Dublin Mobility Week. I wouldn't want to be here - in any kind of a hurry - any other week of the year.
But far more interesting than traffic is the Irish reaction to the arrival of the two teams on Monday.
That reaction, as far as I can tell, is a mixture of amusement and horror. But I don't blame them...did you see those tweed jackets/tank tops the Americans were wearing?
- 18 Sep 06, 11:57 PM
DUBLIN - Did you notice that? "Dublin", as opposed to "London"....it's the blog equivalent of the wedding standard, "my wife and I...."
Yep, we've made it. I won't go over the same ground as Iain in his earlier post but yes, the traffic is going to be an issue this week (that 900 euros by helicopter to Straffan is going to look more and more reasonable - is that a crescendo of reasonable-ness? - as the week goes on).
But that's it for traffic talk. I promise not to mention it again. Unless we're late for something. And then it wasn't our fault.
First impressions from Ryder Cup central? Loads.
- 18 Sep 06, 10:01 AM
LONDON - The final pre-event tournaments have been played, the Sunday papers have made their predictions, Tiger Woods has been to Stamford Bridge - the Ryder Cup silly season is finally over and a week of crescendoing excitement awaits in Ireland.
I've just been going through the pre-journey "passport, press pass, pants" mantra and can now consider myself ready to report for Ryder Cup duty.
Just waiting for the armoured van full of BBC spending money to arrive now. Apparently, the Celtic Tiger is hungry for licence-fee cash. Let's hope we - and the golf - are worth it.
But before I set off here are a few things that struck me during this weekend's golfing action:
- 11 Sep 06, 11:31 AM
LONDON - As much as I would like to bill this blog as the one that moves markets, I'm not sure I can. What I can say is that my prayers for Europe not to be favourites for the Ryder Cup might have been answered.
Most Ryder Cup-related talk in the last two weeks has been about one of two things: will Ian Woosnam join Hal Sutton in the Mainwaring Museum of calamity captaincy and are Europe really the pre-event favourites?
For what it's worth, I'm plumping for a maybe-maybe double (and no, there is no fence in Christendom too slender for this hack to perch on).
But what I will say with rather less jesuitical ambiguity (you'll have to forgive the religious tone...I went to a wedding at the weekend and it was the full Catholic monty) is that Europe's status as favourites is under siege in the betting markets...and it is a development that neither surprises nor alarms.
- 8 Sep 06, 04:20 PM
LONDON - It's tee minus 14 days to the K Club clash and we have already seen/heard the American team dismissed as callow nonentities and then hailed as brothers in arms, and European morale destroyed by a disappointed Dane and then patched up again with an apology and under-the-radar bonding session.
Not bad for less than a week since the cast was finalised.
So where does the hullabaloo of the last week or so leave us? Exactly where we were before.
In the red corner, one half of an excellent matchplay team and six makeweights. In the blue corner, 12 good men. I know where my money is going.
- 1 Sep 06, 09:55 AM
I (with lots of help from Rob) look after the golf coverage on the BBC website, although I also sometimes update the baseball tables and speedway results on Ceefax so I'm something of a Renaissance-style all-rounder.
I wasn't really into golf as a nipper as none of my immediate family or friends were (although I do remember caddieing for my uncle once as a "present" from my mum on his birthday and then playing pitch and putt til the wee hours in The Greyhound in Chalfont St Peter) but the sport, like my hairline, has crept up on me to the point where I often talk about little else.
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