"We're here to bond"

A few fun stories were filed on the U.S. Ryder Cup team's appearance at K Club. First, James Corrigan in the Independent:

Woods certainly looked motivated as he braved a downpour of Noah proportions to finish off the 18th, together with Jim Furyk and JJ Henry as Lehman interestingly put them out in three-balls. "It was fun," he said, his smile daring one to think otherwise. But then, Woods had triumphed the previous night in Ohio in a rain-sodden shoot-out over his team-mate Stewart Cink, and golf tends to be rather enjoyable when you have just won four on the bounce. "We're here to bond," he said, singing from the Americans' well- rehearsed hymn sheet.
And the always entertaining Martin Johnson in the Telegraph
Woods, though, cleared his diary to join the rest of the US team on a specially chartered jumbo 747 on Sunday night, at estimated cost to the PGA of America of £250,000. It was, as you might expect, slightly less painful than it was for those taking a scheduled flight across the Atlantic.

Not only were the players not required to divest themselves of their shoes and trouser belts, they were all offered a pair of complimentary pyjamas before entering a cabin remodelled to resemble a five-star hotel executive floor.

Woods has been trying to live down his perceived insouciance for an event in which America's declining fortunes have largely been put down - hence Lehman's idea for this visit - to a lack of cameraderie.

In particular, his pairing with Mickelson in the last Ryder Cup produced the kind of chemistry more reminiscent of Dr Jekyll's experiment with test tubes than an irresistible blend of the world's No 1 and No 2 golfers, and Woods himself has only won fives times in 16 outings with a partner.


Listening to a succession of American golfers talking on auto-pilot about how good their team spirit was, and how happy they all were to be here, was certainly illuminating, but only if you'd just had a long audience with the Speaking Clock. Woods himself said that in his experience, every Ryder Cup boiled down to "who makes the most putts, and who wins the 18th hole".

As competition for the most riveting insight into this year's Ryder Cup, it lagged far behind the news that there will be 40,000 square metres of tent, 300 car park attendants, and the allocation of 9600 toilet rolls to supply one hundred 1,100 litre portable lavatories. Maybe more if it's a tight finish.

And Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian...

What began with a card school at the back of a chartered flight across the Atlantic ended last night with a barbecue and a little fishing on the Liffey as the US Ryder Cup team completed day one of the most enthusiastic team-bonding exercise since Baden Powell was in short trousers.

Indeed if singing in unison was all it takes to win the most famous team event in the sport then Ian Woosnam's European squad might as well stay at home for next month's extravaganza at the K Club.

One can only hope this expression of team spirit was genuine because on this evidence the overnight trip seemed a very long way to come for a glorified group hug. The public was banned from the K Club and journalists' access heavily restricted, but as the US team set off in their buggies very little in the way of serious work appeared to be taking place. Woods, for one, admitted he had hardly bothered to hit any putts - "the greens were soft and they won't be like that at the Ryder Cup" - while Mickelson appeared more interested in taking copious notes.