Great expectations from the Ryder Cup

2012-09-21 00:00

NEXT weekend all eyes will be on the Ryder Cup which starts on Friday. It continues on Saturday and finishes on Sunday. Every two years the venue alternates between either side of the Atlantic Ocean and this year the Americans are the hosts. The venue is Medinah near Chicago Illinois.

The Ryder Cup is played under matchplay format only and there are 12 players in each team. The European team has won four times in the last five meetings and last won the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales two years ago under the captaincy of Colin Montgomery.

Of all the sports, whether a spectator or a player, golf has the highest degree of etiquette, respect and spirit of fair play. However, the partisan American spectators are a boisterous bunch compared with the more sedate Europeans and it will be interesting to see how the crowds behave at Medinah. American golfers have a history of winning when it comes to important golf tournaments and the Ryder Cup, and they still believe that the American tour is of a higher standard than the European tour and the European golfers are always keen to prove otherwise. There is genuine passion involved in this event from both teams and winning means everything to the players, so much so, that we see some golfers acting out of character with high fives and fist pumping.

The Medinah course is a par 72 and is known for its long, difficult par 3s and tree-lined fairways. It has hosted the U.S. Open on three occasions and the U.S. PGA twice. Tiger Woods has won the U.S. PGA Championship four times with two of them at Medinah in 1999 and 2006, so he has fond memories of the course.

In theory, this is the strongest group of golfers assembled yet for a Ryder Cup. All 24 players are from the top 36 world rankings. Ten of the Americans are in the top 20.

On paper, the Americans look stronger and with home advantage, they should win this encounter. However, the Europeans pride themselves on their team spirit notwithstanding there are eight different nationalities. It is up to the team captains, Davis Love and Jose Maria Olazabal, to mould these brilliant golfing individuals into a team unit.

This weekend, don’t forget to watch the FedExCup final tournament which was due to start last night.

From the 19th hole:

Three old golfers, Sam, Harry and Fred, were sitting together after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other.

Sam said: “Quasimodo walked into a bar and said, ‘Whisky please’. The barman said, ‘Bells okay?’ Quasimodo replied, ‘Mind your own business!’”

Harry said: “A guy walked into a bar and asked, ‘Orange juice please’. The barman said, ‘Still orange?’, to which the guy replied, ‘Well, I haven’t changed my mind’.”

Fred said: “What about the woman who had one boob bigger than the other. She entered a wet T-shirt competition and won first and third prize.”

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