Archive for the ‘Ryder Cup News’ Category

The Europeans close the gap

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Following Saturday’s foursome matches, the US team now holds a 7-5 lead. The morning session was remarkable for the manner in which three of the four matches were so one-sided on the front nine – the English pair of Rose & Poulter raced into a 5-hole lead while both the Mickelson/Kim and Furyk/Perry combinations were 4-up. However, all leads were to be challenged by their opponents, with Mickelson & Kim fading dramatically and eventually losing to Wilson & Stenson.

Saturday foursome results:

Cink/Campbell lost to Poulter/Rose by 4&3

Leonard/Mahan v Jimenez/McDowell – match halved

Mickelson/Kim lost to Stenson/Wilson by 2&1

Furyk/Perry beat Harrington/Karlsson by 3&1

Day 2 Foursome Matches

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

With the US team holding a significant three-point lead, Paul Azinger has confidently sent out the exact same line-up for Saturday’s foursomes. If his team returns three points, as they did on Friday, then Europe are staring defeat right in the face.

Nick Faldo has really shaken up his selection, bringing in the idle man of Day 1, Oliver Wilson, but most surprisingly has dropped Garcia & Westwood (for the first time in their respective careers).

Saturday’s Foursome Matches (Local Valhalla time):

8.05 Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell v Ian Poulter and Justin Rose

8.20 Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan v Miguel Angel Jimenez and Graeme McDowell

8.35 Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim v Henrik Stenson and Oliver Wilson

8.50 Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry v Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson

What it says in the papers

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

With the sun yet to rise on Valhalla on Day 2 of the 2008 Ryder Cup, here is a selection of press analysis on the exciting happenings of Day 1 and some thoughts on what is to come on Day 2

  • The Louisville Courier-Journal accurately captures the essence of Day 1 with their Pumped-up jump start headline.

Referring to the intensity of the crowd, Kim said: “It feels like I’m playing for the Lakers, and it’s the championship against the Celtics. It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true to be out here, and the fans in Kentucky are tremendous. This was a great day.”

  • Despite sinking some heroic putts, Europe’s #1 player Padraig Harrington only managed to return a half-point from his two outings. The Irish Independent focuses on how things didn’t work out on the 18th green.

The script and recent history insisted Harrington’s putt must drop, giving European fans in the massive 40,000- strong gallery the opportunity to cheer one of the Ryder Cup’s greatest escapes … yet golf balls don’t follow any script. They merely go where they’re hit and Harrington’s Titleist rolled a good three feet past the hole on the high side.

  • One of the heroes of Day 1 was Boooooo Weekley. As the afternoon progressed, every single movement that Boo made was greeted by huge roars of “Booooooooooo!!” from his adoring fans. At times, Boo resembled an orchestral conductor as he waved encouragement to the crowd. This apparently didn’t go down too well with some of the Europeans, as reported by the New York Post.

“You walk a fine line when you start doing that sort of thing – between using the crowd to your advantage when you’re at home, which you do by playing good golf, which they were doing – and going over the line where you take it too far,” Westwood said.

  • The Telegraph ponders the surprise absence of Westwood and Garcia from the Saturday foursomes. Only time will tell if this gamble by Nick Faldo is inspired or merely an act of desperation. Azinger’s reaction reveals a lot.

Opposite number Paul Azinger was in the middle of a press conference when he was handed the pairings and could not hide a smile, although he was diplomatic when asked about the duo’s omission.

US lead after Day 1

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

The Ryder Cup rarely fails to provide drama. September 19th 2008 was no exception. Very few would have predicted a three point lead for the US team going into the second day but that’s where we stand. New American heroes have emerged: Anthony Kim, Boo Weekley and Hunter Mahan may not have been household names in the world of golf before today but few will forget the extraordinary scenes provided by them and players like Mickelson and Leonard.

Some of the European players have shone also, especially Westwood, Harrington and Rose but the scoreboard doesn’t lie. The Americans have hit more good shots and have made more putts.

The bookies are now rating the US team as 1/2 favourites. Nick Faldo knows his team must close that gap on Day 2. They have the players to do so. Bring it on!

Friday Fourball scores:

Mickelson/Kim bt Harrington/McDowell by 2 holes

Stricker/Curties lost to Poulter/Rose – 4&2

Leonard/Mahan bt Garcia/Jiminez – 4&3

Holmes/Weekley vs Westwood/Hansen – match halved

The pendulum swings to the US..

Friday, September 19th, 2008

And so, a foursome session that looked at one stage like a one-sided victory for the Europeans turned dramatically into a 3-1 win for the US team. And the reality is that it should have been at least another half a point for the US team as Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry contrived to throw away a 2-up lead with two to play.

For the record, the results of the morning foursomes were as follows:

Mickelson/Kim vs Harrington/Karlsson – match halved

Leonard/Mahan bt Casey/Stenson 3&2

Campbell/Cink bt Rose/Poulter by one hole

Perry/Furyk vs Garcia/Westwood – match halved

The fourball matches began while the final foursome game was still finishing. The action and drama seems to come in unrelenting waves at the Ryder Cup!

An all-Irish pairing of Harrington & McDowell are leading off against Kim & Mickelson and have started really well, leading by two holes after eight. Despite their disappointing finish this morning, Poulter & Rose are back in action against two fresh players Stricker & Curtis – all square after five. Garcia & Jiminez are already two holes down against Leonard/Mahan, who have started the fourball as they finished the foursomes. The home crowd are loving the final pairing of Weekley & Holmes as they battle with Westwood & Hansen.

Oliver Wilson is the proverbial odd man out as he’s alone amongst the 24 players in Valhalla not to have played on the opening day. GIven Europe’s harshly learned lesson of not playing three rookies until the singles back in ’99, it’s likely that Faldo will give a chance to Wilson on Saturday.

Day 1 well under way

Friday, September 19th, 2008

All four foursome matches are now on the course. The first hole has been very successful for the Europeans with three of their pairings going 1up. Overall, it’s been a disappointing start from the American team although they have begun to make some good putts to win back some holes. 

The lead pairing of Mickelson and Kim have really begun to find their game. Having lost the first hole, they were gifted a hole on the third when Harrington hit straight into the hazard on the right of the green, from which Karlsson couldn’t wrestle the ball free. This looks like being an epic contest and could well have a significant impact on the outcome of the overall competition.

Leonard & Mahan had a miserable start losing the first two holes to par but have settled down to win the next two holes with birdies.

The English pair of Poulter & Rose have taken the lead with a birdie at the 3rd, having halved the first two holes. 

Europe’s final pair, Westwood & Garcia, have started very well but just barely missed a birdie putt on the 2nd. Local fave, Kenny Perry, sank a monster putt on the 3rd to the delight of the home crowd.

A lot happening all at once. Both teams winning holes but Europe have a slight edge. For now.

Here we go!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

To competing chants of “USA! USA! USA!” and “Ole, ole, ole!” from a raucous crowd at the 1st tee, the 37th Ryder Cup matches have begun.

The honour of hitting the first shot fell to double-major winner, Padraig Harrington. He hit a magnificent drive, putting the ball in the perfect position for his partner, Robert Karlsson, to attack the green. Phil Mickelson faced the onerous task of matching Harrington’s perfect drive and he rose to the occasion, hitting the ball a good 30 yds past where the European ball lay. What a start!

However, the European had the last laugh (at the first hole!) when Karlsson hit a superb iron shot to 10ft allowing Harrington to sink the putt. Kim’s approach shot gave Mickelson a 30ft challenge, which he couldn’t meet. First blood to the Europeans.

Friday's Foursome Pairings

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Following a long and sometimes painful opening ceremony, the pairings for Friday morning have been announced.

1. Mickelson/Kim vs Harrington/Karlsson

2. Leonard/Mahan vs Casey/Stenson

3. Campbell/Cink vs Rose/Poulter

4. Perry/Furyk vs Garcia/Westwood

The players on the US team who will sit out the first session are Holmes, Stricker, Weekley & Curtis. For Europe, Jimenez, McDowell, Hansen & Wilson will watch from the sidelines.

So, where's your money?

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

The Las Vegas wise guys and European bookies agree – the European team are favourites to win the Ryder Cup. Only the Irish bookie Paddy Power is brave enough to go ‘odds against’ on the European team, all others see them as odds-on favourites. This is an unprecedented situation in Ryder Cup history as US teams have always been favourites on home soil. But having seen two very comfortable European victories, the bookies are taking no chances.

There are many wild and wonderful ways to speculate on this competition. Here are a few interesting wagers:

  • The US team are as big as 13/8 to lead after Day One. Even a 4.5-3.5 lead will do!
  • Sergio Garcia is the hot favourite to win the most points at 7/1. Some interesting alternatives include Anthony Kim (14/1), Justin Leonard (18/1) and Justin Rose (25/1)
  • Source of much controversy, Ian Poulter, is best-priced at 9/2 to be the top English points scorer
  • The odds of a hole-in-one are just 5/1. Seems quite low but then it appears that the Ryder Cup attracts the dramatic
  • If you think 7&6 would be the biggest winning margin, then 10/1 are your odds
For what it’s worth, my money is on the US to win at 13/10. Don’t expect my winnings to solve the global financial turmoil.

Press round-up

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

With all the players now well settled in Valhalla, it appears that every golf journalist in the world has followed them to Kentucky. In the absence of any significant news – no real clarity on pairings or no unexpected events – much of the focus is on good old-fashioned previews. Here’s a sample of some of the more interesting media outputs in the build-up to Friday’s competition:

ESPN’s Jason Sobel asks 18 pertinent questions, the first being ‘Can the US actually win this thing?’. The answer is yes.

The Telegraph have a fascinating interview with Paul McGinley which poses some questions about whether the European locker-room will have the winning dynamic of recent competitions. It seems they will have a drum kit though. And DJ Spoony.

In recent years, traveling sports teams have tended to prevent players from having ‘exclusive diaries’ in the papers. However, it seems that Justin Rose has a diary in the Times. No major revelations as yet. The most exciting news is that Ryder Cup is embroidered on their pillows and blankets.

The Ryder Cup is a global event. This piece in The Australian suggests that Tiger’s absence is, in fact, a good thing for the US team.

The local Louisville Courier Journal has the inside scoop on young Kentuckian JB Holmes. Will the passion of the local supporters be stirred by the presence of Holmes and Perry?

And if you that was a local spin, then how about this. The University of Kentucky has the exciting news that their Wildcat Marching Band will play at the opening ceremony!