Ryder Cup: Europe's Strictly session a new twist on team bonding

Westwood reveals visitors' quirky night of dancing that betrays an inimitable spirit

Medinah

Ian Poulter in sequins. There's a thought to send a shiver down American spines. Don't worry, Davis, he didn't sparkle in a satin two-piece, but he did step out for the cause in an impromptu Strictly Come Ryder session, revealing once again how far each is prepared to go for the other in the European team room.

The idea of a diversion in the American camp is to throw Matt 'Kooch' Kucher a table tennis ball and invite all-comers to beat him. The boys in blue, instead, pulled on their dancing shoes and, in a febrile session, gave new meaning to that golfing staple, the shoulder turn. According to Lee Westwood, Poulter is unlikely to progress to an audition with Brucie (below). "I don't know whose idea it was, but it was fantastic fun," Westwood said. "I was told I've got good hips. I'm not going to show you them. I dance a mean cha-cha-cha, I can tell you."

Westwood has some expertise in this area, having being immersed in the rhythms of the ballroom as a junior, a feature of his youth that he let slip last year. "In retirement I'd love to have a go. My nan and grandad used to run an old-time dance school, so I did do a bit when I was a little boy. I was even 'highly commended in a couple of dances: the Lilac Waltz and the Boston Two-Step. And I've still got the medals to prove it."

The evening in Medinah did not yield anywhere near the same bounty. "We split into teams. Poulter wrecked our chances by introducing break-dancing to ballroom. It brought the whole thing into disrepute. Martin Kaymer was hilarious, the worst by far. I've never seen anyone so stiff and wooden. But Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of our vice captains, had that Latin beat off to a 'T' and his team won it."

Much of the repartee in this build-up phase is heavily choreographed. This little beauty was delivered in a quiet aside away from the formal interview stage. Had Westwood not been poked innocently the night of the stars would have gone unreported. It is details like these that ought to worry an opposition that has yet to crack the team-building code despite a book dedicated to the art written by former captain Paul Azinger after victory in Valhalla.

What the Americans worked so assiduously to acquire four years ago, a tangible sense of unity, is an inherent feature of the European set-up. Present captain Davis Love III has spoken throughout about his excitement at being around his team, yet that enthusiasm appears anchored to the technical gifts of his players and the expectation that they will bring those talents to bear in victory. Europe bring something rather more ephemeral, a quality that cannot be bottled. But it is intuited, and in the fist-pumping presence of Poulter has, perhaps, its greatest expression.

Machismo led Poulter too far down the metaphor chain yesterday when he expressed his desire to claim a point as a want to "kill" his opponent. Rory McIlroy dug him out of the hole. "I think kill is a little strong. I'd like to beat them," McIlroy said. And not with a stick. Poulter was nearer the mark when he described holing putts in this environment as, "scoring a penalty in the Champions League final".

When Poulter passes through the Ryder Cup prism he is transformed into a kind of golfing superhero, which endears him to the audience like no other. "It's absolutely magnificent to be wearing this jersey with a crest on it. It is always a proud moment to be part of a great team. I guess I'm going to be one of those guys out there enjoying the electricity. Chicago is a great sporting town and this is going to be a very loud week. It adds to the adrenaline rush and I can't wait to be part of the fun."

Poulter was out with Justin Rose again yesterday morning in a fourball against Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson. The Americans have elected to start the show with the foursome format, which requires only one member of the team to hit a tee shot. As the visitors, somebody in the European team is going to have to hit first. When asked all of them say they would happily take it. In Poulter's case, he means it. "I would love it. I would relish the opportunity. I'd be honoured to do that."

At the opposite end of the he-man scale, in attitude at least, is Nicolas Colsaerts. Though the Belgian hits the ball further than any on either side, his status as the rookie in the European team imposes on an already quiet demeanour a certain reticence in posture. Yet there is much to commend Colsaerts, not least a cosmopolitan outlook born of his Belgian upbringing and a vocabulary littered with Americanisms from a bygone era like "dude" and "cat".

Colsaerts is on some journey. Three years ago he was ranked outside the top 1,000 in the world. He likens his elevation to "coming back from the dead". He talks about being crushed under the weight of low self-esteem, of a time when he felt unworthy of his professional status. "It's difficult when you're 25 and you know you still have a lot of years in front of you but you don't produce anything like the kind of form you need to get you there. Watching tournaments on TV thinking you don't deserve to be there."

The first tee experience, when it comes, will test his nerve yet listening to Colsaerts you suspect that it won't take him anywhere he has not been before. "At some point you realise that you want to be the player you have always dreamed of being, so you have to work at it, put your heart into it. After that you become a man, sort of thing."

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

Lee Westwood revealed last night the European players enjoyed an evening of dancing to boost team spirit. Here is the top 10 of what they may (or may not) have boogied to:

1. CLUB Tropicana by Wham

2. GREEN Onions by Booker T Jones

3. I Like it ROUGH by Lady Gaga

4. IRON Lion Zion by Bob Marley

5. The BIRDIE Song by The Tweets

6. DRIVE by The Cars

7. ALBATROSS by Fleetwood Mac

8. The TROLLEY Song by Judy Garland

9. Rock Around The BUNKER by Serge Gainsbourg

10. The WEDGE by Phish

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee