Ryder Cup Clippings, Thursday Edition

2006rydercup.jpgPoor Johnny is already backing off his statements from last week. The link includes other pre-match notes.

Lawrence Donegan analyzes the omission of Donald and Howell from the morning four-ball.  

But who would have guessed that Woosnam would have left out Luke Donald and David Howell, two of his three highest-ranked players?

The word from inside the European camp was that Donald does hit the ball far enough, but this is a drawback on a rain-sodden course that is playing far longer than its 7,335 yards, and Howell, who has been suffering the effects of a back injury for months, is simply not playing well enough. Of course Europe's captain, who has become a dab hand in the art of spin over the past few days, put it a lot more diplomatically. "Luke and David are going to blend beautifully in the foursomes. Really. They look great together. Or they could play with anybody," he said with a straight face. Any more of this and Woosie might find himself with a starring role in The Thick of It.

Alan Shipnuck senses there is an edge to the proceedings already.
The players and captains have taken great pains to be diplomatic, and there is no question that the outpouring of affection and empathy for Darren Clarke is genuine. But all the long run-up to Friday's start of play has been defined by the ugliness of the press coverage. Factor in the specter of a repeat of the deplorable fan behavior at the British Open along with the bad mojo in the European team room, which may yet go public, and suddenly this Ryder Cup is looking like it might be the juiciest since the War by the Shore in 1991.
Sam Bob Torrance tells Mike Aitken that Europe should win easily, and sounds a tad petty...
"You should be saying how many are we going to win by, not are we going to win it?" he grinned. "I definitely think Europe will win. First of all the greens are very slow. Secondly, the fairways are quite hairy, and they are wide. It's a tough course, but the Americans don't have hairy fairways and hairy greens. That's what Sam did at the Belfry. He got the greenkeepers to raise the cutters on the greens."
Wow, that's something to brag about!

John Hawkins reassures us that his hotel shower has good pressure while offering a few predictions on the morning four-ball matches.

71961633.jpgGolfDigest.com posted photos from the opening ceremonies in case you want to relive the pageantry.

John Huggan analyzes how the soft, windy and slow conditions will impact play, besides the obvious goofiness of it all.

Peter Kessler writes about the Ryder Cup's early days. You know, back when Great Britain need the rest of Europe's help to win.

The Principal shares a few fun thoughts on the Opening Ceremony.

Tim Carroll in the WSJ looks at the gimme's role in the Ryder Cup. Thanks to reader John for this.

intro.jpgSI.com has photos of wives, life partners and Greg Norman's daughter.

And finally, some sucker, err, "A bettor has staked $465,100 on the United States to win the Ryder Cup -- the biggest bet in golfing history.