Ryder Cup Clippings, Thursday Edition

2006rydercup.jpgBonding boys gone wild took an ugly turn Wednesday. Doug Ferguson reports on the latest example of Tom Lehman taking this team building bonding stuff perhaps a step too far.

Lehman fulfilled a prediction he made in February by creating what was believed to be the first "twelvesome" game in Ryder Cup history, his entire team playing nine holes on a gray, miserable afternoon.

But there was a twist.

They worked on their short game, starting each hole from about 120 yards away. The gallery wasn't aware of this, so when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the Americans walked from the fourth green, past the fifth tee and kept marching down the middle of the fairway, the Ryder Cup got its first dose of booing.

"You don't give a damn about Ireland's public," shouted one man behind the tee, and hundreds of others nodded.

Another man asked Jim Furyk to stop for a picture. He walked over to man's wife, put his arm on her shoulder and posed with a smile.

Walking back toward the fairway, Furyk said, "I guess we're just the ugly Americans."

Lehman later asked for a mulligan.

He realized his squad should have performed at least on the first tee, where the grandstands were packed with people. And when he caught up with his team on the seventh hole, he told them to tee off on No. 9, the only drives they hit all day.

Lawrence Donegan covers the Wednesday events, including Tiger's understandable frustration and Lehman's 150-yards and in stunt.

Another way would be to say it was a chaotic and half-hearted exercise which resembled the kind of self-indulgent knockabout dreamed up after one too many gins and tonics in the bar at the country club.

Somehow I don't think Coach Wooden suggested this idea, or this one reported by Steve Elling today, which apparently was also reported last week. 

Will Barnes polled various writers including yours truly, asking for a predicted outcome, score and comment.

Helen Ross reports on the latest weather related headaches, ranging from today's winds, to Friday's lousy forecast to the possibility of "preferred lies." (Insert your own snarky comment here about Portmarnock weather.)

Mike Aitken raises the dreaded possibility of a Monday finish.

Louisa Nesbit explains how the tight security is working and lack of alcohol sales on site (so can we end the Guiness jokes?).

Mike Vitti uses ShotLink to create some "balanced" pairings.

Lewis Mair writes about the Ryder Cup going from a friendly game to a monster.

In 1927, it took the Great Britain and Ireland team six days to get to America by boat, and they wouldn't have got there at all but for the cash raised from a reader appeal in Golf Illustrated magazine. Three weeks ago, by way of contrast, the Americans stumped up £250,000 simply to pop over for a pre-tournament reconnaisance mission.

There is a check point on every street corner, and it will be a surprise if this year's matches are not accompanied by an armoured troop carrier and a SWAT team. One of the more ludicrous by-products of the suffocating security has been to make the nearest town to the K Club more or less impenetrable other than to the people who actually live there, and the local priest has complained that half his congregation will have to find somewhere else to attend mass.

It will be a relief to everyone when they start playing instead of talking.

The interviews are endless, and, with both teams professing to be closer than Siamese twins, endlessly predictable. "We're having an absolute blast," said Tiger yesterday, before adding mysteriously: "but I'm not going to tell you what we do." Immediately afterwards, though, new boy Vaughn Taylor let the cat out of the bag by revealing that they've all being playing "ping-pong" in the team room, which is not quite your average Irishman's idea of "having a blast".

Careless talk costs points, and Europe will already be planning bingo and shove halfpenny sessions to counteract this cunning American plan.

If there is anything guaranteed to survive all this nonsense, it is Ireland's legendary hospitality. A journalist sitting in a cab looking for his remote B & B accommodation down a series of unsignposted pitch-black country lanes on Monday night was beginning to despair of ever finding it when his driver said to him: "Don't you go worrying yourself now. If we don't find the place soon, I'll phone the wife and have the spare room made up for you."

Sal Johnson compares the monster to his first Ryder Cup in 1979 at the Greenbrier.

Sergio denies making any comment about Tiger and the Ryder Cup..."not even in the team room" where we were too busy bashing Monty. Just kidding.

Rex Hoggard reports that the one-ball rule is out, so we don't have to hear too much talk about players making those really, really tough adjustments.

Joe Passov sticks up for the K Club, joining, well, he sticks up for the K Club.

Since Golf Digest fashion guru Marty Hackel has been silent, Charlie Potter of GQ offers this bizarre take on the U.S. team's Sherlock Holmes outfits:

Before they stepped off the plane for the team photo that resulted in so much humiliation, the American captain Tom Lehman must have been pretty pleased with his choices. They are playing in Ireland, a country known for its tweeds. He has publicly promised his team that they will have fun in the run-up to the tournament on Friday and what better way to do so than in a tank-top? This was before they landed to face the media of a country that only accepts one view of male fashion. Britain seems interested only in men who dress badly.

It is strange how sport continues to insist on the ritual of the uniform for big events, a choice that inevitably leads to lambasting. It's like Miss World: here's the multi-buttoned, uncomfortably coloured blazer round; next up - cagoules; for bonus points, here come the Wags!

Whatever these sportsmen opt to wear, the clothing is then used to emasculate the players, because, after all, caring about clothing is the least red-blooded thing a man can do. To prove your virility, you have to mock. So sport continues to trap itself in these old cycles of machismo. You do something well? Quick, debag him. Anything but be seen to appreciate masculinity.

After yet another intensely lame post about the amount of Guiness they've been drinking, the Golfweek blog has all sorts of great stuff, starting with Jeff Babineau reporting on the Gala Dinner and yes, amazingly, the news that the reclusive legend Van Morrison performed.

I wonder if anyone on the U.S. team knows who he is?

And finally, Rich Lerner offers all sorts of fun notes from The K Club, including this:

Lehman’s charges will watch a video that includes scenes from Patton, Hoosiers, Miracle, and Grapes of Wrath and Gladiator. Just a thought, but given that the U.S. has appeared, in the words of Jim Furyk, constipated at times, could a Three Stooges episode hurt? 

I just want to know, will it include John Ashcroft's "Let The Eagle Soar?