Ryder Cup News Roundup – Week 18

Well the the race for Ryder Cup points is really starting in earnest this week on both sides of the Atlantic. On the European side the major event contributing to Ryder Cup points was the Nissan Irish Open. The event was badly effected with weather delays and was only concluded today on the fifth day (see article on the Ryder Cup Weather prospects). It was the Dane Thomas BJÖRN who eventually triumphed on the sodden course with a birdie on the 18th to beat his nearest rivals Paul Casey (ENG) and the home favourite Darren Clarke(NIrl). This brings Bjorn up to 10th place on the European Ryder Cup Points list. Still, according to the K Club’s head greenkeeper Gerry Byrne such inclement conditions may favour the European team. Such optimism for a European win was also shared by previous Ryder Cup captain Mark James who predicted a European victory. He would say that of course!

Meanwhile Stateside saw Brett Wetterich take his first PGA Tour win at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship with Trevor Immelman coming up second. This brings him into the top ten on the points list. Prior to the event US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman talked at length about the mental preparations already underway for the US team and the rise of his “Top Five Guys” (Woods, Mickelson, Furyk, Toms, Cambell) to the top of the US Ryder Cup Points list. One of those not so well known is JJ Henry who received some inspiration to attain a Ryder Cup place with some well chosen words from Tom Lehman.
Back in Ireland the focus was all on the weather affected Irish Open where hopes were high of a home win for the first time in twenty four years as Darren Clarke entered the final round with a two stroke lead. But it was not to be. Further bad news for the Irish contingent came earlier in the week when the previous Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley retired from the Irish Open due to injury. An immediate operation is planned but he will be a number of weeks out of contention at a minimum. It’s not impossible that there will be no Irish players in the Ryder Cup team which will greatly dissapoint the home crowd and the Irish players are definitely getting worried. Good news however for the Irish environment with news announced by the Irish Minister for the Environment Dick Roche that the Ryder Cup 2006 is to join the Race-Against-Waste environmental program.
And finally, remembering the history of the Ryder Cup, former hero Brian Hugget, who can claim victories over both Arnold Palmer (this year’s course designer) and the great Jack Nicklaus, was inducted into the Welsh Hall of Sporting Fame.

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