Sport on TV: Rough Ryders leave Europe hunkering in the bunkers
Sunday 30 September 2012
The Ryder Cup is as close as golf gets to being a contact sport. On the opening morning, the nervous players on the first tee belted the balls into the crowd and the spectators jostled each other to get to the little white orbs among the trees. At the start of day two, after Ian Poulter had bizarrely whooped the crowd into a feeding frenzy, Bubba Watson high-fived about 100 fans. And then there's the way the United States team chest-bump each other whenever they win. Europe's best hope may be that if the spectators don't get them first, the opposition will injure each other so badly that there wouldn't be enough of them to play in today's singles matches.
You would have thought Phil Mickelson was a bit too old to be chest-bumping but he is the cheerleader in chief. We all knew what to expect from the partisan supporters of the home team, but the demented reaction of Mickelson and Keegan Bradley to going 1-0 up on Friday afternoon was rather over the top even by Ryder Cup standards, the worst excess coming from the caddie who picked the flag up and waved it around his head windmill-style.
The American pair even tried to maim their opponents after they had won, turning the old-fashioned handshake into a manoeuvre where you pull the other man towards you – more shoulder barge than chest-bump, perhaps. Luke Donald got caught up in it but Sergio Garcia kept his distance with a stiff, outstretched arm.
With the US contingent apparently wearing pyjama bottoms for the duration of this tournament, we might even see some pillow fighting by the end.
Nicolas Colsaerts played like a colossus before the charging Yanks in the anchor match of Friday's fourballs, and quelled the crowd with a few quiet "have some of that" gestures as the onlookers went potty over Tiger's charge late in the day. Afterwards his partner Lee Westwood admitted: "I was like a jockey with a really good horse."
The Belgian wildcard may have broad enough shoulders to stave off the Woods effect but surely he can't carry Westwood, let alone the rest of the team.
* The World Twenty20 finally came alive with the fireworks of the Super Eights after the damp squib of the first week. "The stars are falling out of the sky," exclaimed David Lloyd as the sixes rained down on Thursday. Then along came earthbound England, scampering singles and barely able to get the ball off the ground.
T20 matches seem too long for this bunch. In the first three games they seemed determined to lose within the first two or three overs of their innings, and in a special effort against West Indies, within the first two or three balls. Before that we had seen the game between Sri Lanka and New Zealand decided by a "Super Over" after the scores were tied. One over each side: even that might be too long for England.
Eoin Morgan was the exception to this mayhem, and all the commentators said he was coming in too low down the order. In fact he could be coming in at No 9 and still get a decent bat at the moment. Previously in T20, the thrill was that there might be a six off every ball. With England, there might be a wicket off every ball.
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