Ryder Cup anecdotes

Added on October 1st, 2012 by
Posted in TV Coverage

Ryder Cup 2012 anecdotes


I doubt any golfers wanted to go to bed before 11.15pm on Sunday.

The Ryder Cup is gripping TV and this year the commentators were saying on Saturday that this is the best American team since the 1980s at Walton Heath when 11 of the team were ‘Major’ winners. Jack Nicklaus, who gets more interesting by the year, was also saying that the course had been set-up to give the long, but wayward, drivers on the American team an advantage. Who would have believed, then, that at 10 to 4 down, before Poulter and Donald led the fight-back, Europe had remotely any chance?

It was to be expected that some over-enthusiastic American fan might try to disturb the European players by being rude about Seve at the top of their back-swings, but what was more interesting was the way the victorious team bathed themselves in their national flags rather than those blue and yellow starred ones dished out by the organisers. It is not just the British who lack patriotism to Brussels!

The Sky commentary was generally interesting with Bruce Critchley and Butch Harmon as usual making the most sense, while Colin Montgomerie, though at times a bit embarrassing,  he did make some sensible criticisms of the length of time play was taking. Was it really five hours for a singles match?

What didn’t surprise me was the absence of any mention of religion on Sky. I was made aware by The Daily Telegraph during the week that a high proportion of the American team were openly evangelical Christians. One guessed that the small huddle that Bubba, Webb, their wives and caddies had after their game on Saturday, at the side of their winning green, was a short prayer meeting and good for them too.

The commentators almost called it right when Jim Furyk was taking so long over deciding how to get up and down from off the back of the 18th green at what everybody knew was the crucial moment.

One commentator’s advice was to chip it rather than putt it. How right he was as this gives some control over the length of the shot, rather than having to trust one’s luck that the ball will travel over the fringe grass appropriately.

Nevertheless the problem even the experienced Furyk had was that, though he had the line correct, Americans have little practice with the 7-iron Bump-and-run shot that gives easy control. Played with a pitch of one third and a run-out of two thirds, it is better than using the wedge that requires 100% accuracy to be effective. Otherwise it becomes very easy to skull, as Molinari did on the 17th, or duff, if the mind wanders. ()

I had to tell my young caddy at Royal Dornoch recently that I was not one of his usual clients, a visiting American, into whose hands he correctly puts a putter to stop them trying to use a wedge from just off the green.

My opponents, over seven rounds in five days during The Carnegie week at Royal Dornoch this August, will confirm that it was the Bump-and-run shot, played into the banks or along the flat, that most disturbed them when I regularly put the ball dead after many pretty average approach shots to merely the vicinity of the greens.

Local professionals and club manufacturers have made squillions of dosh selling wedges  that are needed on ‘target-style’ courses.

The running game is easier with the bump-and-run.

Europe was lucky that Furyk perhaps lacked the confidence to play his 7-iron Bump-and-run and put the ball dead. If he had halved his match, Woods would never have lost his 18th to a par and we would all be saying that God had been on the evangelical Christian American side!



Reader Comments

On October 2nd, 2012 Vincent carney said:

Fully agree that Monty is not a good analyist , he was a great golfer for sure !! Please stick to playing..

On October 2nd, 2012 Iain Macdonald said:

Not being a Sky Sports subscriber, I watched the Ryder Cup in condensed form on the BBC. The resulting programmes were excellent, with the classic commentary team of Alliss, Brown, Faldo and Hazel Irvine. It was important to avoid news broadcasts which would have taken away any of the excitement during the day. But full marks to the BBC for their coverage on a leaner budget – theirs and mine.

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