Just spent the last three hours vegging on the sofa watching the USA whup Europe in the fourballs. Only real resistance was from Belgian Nicholas Colsaerts of Belgium, who hits the ball further than anyone else and putted magnificently. His partner, Lee Westwood, the great Lee Westwood, just kept him company. Together they won the only point for Europe in the afternoon. The US took three and are 5-3 up after day one. Could have been worse.
Great quote from Colsaerts afterwards: “You’ve got to go with what’s in your pants”. I think this may have been Belgian-English in the spur of the moment! I think he meant you’ve got to give it all you’ve got… or maybe you’ve got to have balls. I think he may find that one sticks to him!
From what I saw, Europe will have a job coming back. Phil Mickelson hit some superb shots and his partner Keegan Bradley (shouldn’t that be Bradley Keegan?) was awesome. Mickelson said awesome three times in a short post-match interview. So I guess it was. Tiger Woods looked serious in the last few holes and almost clawed the game back from Colsaerts and Westwood. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson (what’s with these names?) trashed Lawrie and Hanson of Europe. The Americans just looked much better. But why did captain Olazabal leave out Ian Poulter and Luke Donald in the afternoon? Seemed odd, but I guess you have to give everyone in the team a game if you want them firing in the singles on Sunday.
Golf’s not really my game. Mainly because I am rubbish at it. Occasionally I can hit a great shot and it all seems so easy. Occasionally a twenty foot putt will glide into the hole. But mostly it’s scuffing along the fairway and grotesquely misjudging the greens for another three or four putt nightmare. And I only play two or three times a year, two of which are with an annual reunion with friends in the chill of November. See my grim recall from last year here.
So watching the best players does fill me with awe. The US Masters and the British Open have always been on the BBC, so we live and breathe those for a total of eight days in the year. Otherwise, golf doesn’t really register in a big way until the Ryder Cup comes around every two years. That has got bigger and bigger over the years, as the teams are now so evenly matched. And it’s fascinating watching sportsmen who are usually the ultimate in self obsession transform (or not) into team players. The pressure is immense, even more so than usual, because if you are playing badly you are letting down more than yourself. The shift in mindset, at this elite level, must be hard for some. (Tiger Woods seeming to be one).
The answer is obviously a few beers and a bit of bonding beforehand. Judging by the bellies, one or two of the Brits are quite good at that. Don’t know about the rest.
So the next two days will be fun, as long as the US don’t stretch their lead too far in the next sessions of foursomes and fourballs. We need it to come down to the wire in the singles. That’s what makes the brand ultimately.
Come on you Euros!
(Not often we say that)