Ryder Cup: Primal scream from Ian Poulter drowns out the schmaltz from American TV

Englishman's 'I want to kill 'em' remark contrasts with networks' cupcake overload

Medinah

The end of schmaltz is nigh. The relentless packaging of golf as a great American parable, a bastion of protocols and manners, is about to run into an Ian Poulter fist-pump. The American viewer would be hard pressed to tell the Ryder Cup apart from an episode of Downton Abbey such is the coded emphasis on values and deportment, topped by an Omega TV ad that features Davis Love III reading portentously from his own book about his dreams of one day becoming captain of the Ryder Cup team. Ahhh.

Click here for 'The 39th Ryder Cup: Hole-by-hole guide' graphic

The civilising qualities of golf are among its greatest features but somehow in this setting the game has been given a cupcake makeover it does not need, culminating in an opening ceremony that puts at risk the sincerity it seeks to promote. So it is with some relief this morning that the violins fall silent, the ribbons are removed and the golf is thrust to the fore in all its visceral glory.

This contest needs no embellishing. It writes its own narrative. Over the next three days, Medinah will be wrenched from its country club reserve and given over to the mob. The Chicago crowd are said to bring their own raucous charm. They would not want to run into Poulter on the rampage. "It's passion like I've never seen before. I love it. I love that chance to go out there and beat them. It's going to be vocal, it's going to be intimidating, but it's going to be brilliant. I wouldn't want to be in any other situation this week."

Poulter's commentary jarred beautifully with the fairytale rhetoric enveloping the occasion. His "I want to kill 'em" remark set proceedings on a primal plane. We know what he meant. Brandt Snedeker, fast emerging as a threat to Bubba Watson as personality No 1 on the American team, was not far behind Poulter's blood red speech. "I'm very competitive. People don't get that because I'm polite but when I tee it up on Friday here against anybody, I'm trying to beat their brains in as bad as I can." Don't take that literally, folks.

The course has been mowed to within an inch of its verdant life, with the rough a minimalist feature. Any shots off line will be coming out of trees or sand and, on the back nine, there are a number of striking elevation changes that might offer some respite from the birdie-fest anticipated. Inevitably, this being America, water is central to the layout. In this case, Lake Kadijah provides the shimmering backdrop to three of the four par-3s.

Medinah is typical of the ilk, a vast floral tapestry laid out across rolling acres in the outer suburbs of a great American city. It represents the expansive thinking of a nation growing into the status of dominant world power after the decline of the British Empire following the Great War. America was in the ascendency, a muscular economic powerhouse driving the global economy. The country club is the American equivalent of the gentleman's club, a place where the rich retreated to take the sharp edges off the working week as well as the air. Medinah is the dream home of the freemasons of Chicago circa 1928.

Sergio Garcia prefers it as it was when he encountered it for the first time in 1999, chasing Tiger Woods home at the PGA Championship. Garcia was the Rory McIlroy of the day, an irreverent force of nature from Europe with a game to make the great Woods blink. Tiger did not take kindly to the intrusion and ultimately brought his big paw down, but not before Garcia had given the tournament its lasting memory. The tree around which he carved his approach on to the green at the 16th has gone, but the spring in Garcia's step that followed the ball down the fairway is happily returning.

Two years ago, Garcia was a peripheral figure. The light was going from his game when he pitched up as a late invitee to the vice-captain's role in Colin Montgomerie's team room. It took him 12 months after that to piece together a first victory on the European tour since 2008 and this year he broke a four-year hiatus on the PGA tour with his win at the Wyndham Championship last month. A fully restored Garcia we might never see again but at 32 he has recovered enough of his love of the game to give Europe real hope this week.

Garcia went out with Martin Kaymer yesterday as Jose-Maria Olazabal juggled his options in the final practice session. The pair were ranged against McIlroy and Justin Rose. Elsewhere, Nicolas Colsaerts and Peter Hanson walked out together against Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood and in the last group Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell took on Francesco Molinari and Poulter. None of this had much relevance to this morning's 7.20am start. The skipper had settled on his opening pairing before he arrived.

"The boys are playing well," Olazabal said. "I do have a pretty good idea of what I want on Friday morning but I'm not going to share that if that's okay with you. Everybody is ready. We are all eager to see that first match on that first tee. The sooner you get to that point the more excitement you feel, the more pressure, the more tension. The crowds are starting to drop a few 'USAs' and stuff like that. Friday morning is going to be amazing. It's going to be loud. That's the beauty of this event. That's why this event is what it is."

The first inkling of that came late on Wednesday afternoon as the organisers were laying out the seating for the opening ceremony and checking the PA system was in order at the northern end of the club house. At the other side of this vast palazzo, Tiger Woods was just completing nine holes, walking off the 18th in a group that included Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker. They were mere attendants in the great Woods pageant that continues to fixate American audiences.

Woods eased towards the crossing point to the bridge that traverses the putting green signing balls and hats as he walked. Shouts of "Tiger, Tiger" fed into chants of "USA, USA". It was ever thus. The scene was observed by Westwood, who was going through his routines on the putting green watched by his trainer Steve McGregor and caddie Mike Kerr. Westwood looked up briefly, winked at McGregor, and resumed his crouched posture.

Woods and Westwood made their Ryder Cup debuts together in 1997 and apart from 2008, which Woods missed through injury, the preamble has been Tiger-dominated one way or another. Here he is pitched in the imagination against McIlroy, an absurdity which the Ryder Cup will only escape once a ball is hit. As McIlroy said, he is only one of 12. Even if they were to meet, the outcome yields only one point. Europe need 14 to hold on to the trophy they won so dramatically at Celtic Manor. For that to happen, Europe need a dozen heroes, a point reflected in Westwood's furtive gesture. The wink was a symbol of readiness, his and his team's.

Ryder roster: Opening day details

Today's tee-off times [BST]

Foursomes: 1.20pm Jim Furyk & Brandt Snedeker v Rory McIlroy & Graeme McDowell

1.35pm Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley v Luke Donald & Sergio Garcia

1.50pm Zach Johnson & Jason Dufner v Lee Westwood & Francesco Molinari

2.05pm Steve Stricker & Tiger Woods v Ian Poulter & Justin Rose

Fourballs: 6.05pm

Odds To lift Cup: USA 11-10 Europe 7-10. Day One winner: USA 10-11 Tie 5-1 Europe 11-8

* Today

TV Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm-12.30am Highlights: BBC2, 12-2.05am [Sat]

Weather

Dry and overcast.

Maximum temp: 17C.

* Tomorrow

TV Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm-12.30am Highlights: BBC2, 12-2am [Sun]

Weather

Warm and sunny Maximum temp: 19C.

* Sunday

TV Sky Sports 1, 4pm-12.30am Highlights: BBC1, 11.05pm-1.05am

Weather

Warm and sunny. Maximum temp: 16C.

The format explained

Foursomes: Today from 1.20pm and tomorrow from 6.05pm: (BST)

Four matches of foursomes will be played both today and tomorrow. In foursomes, only one ball is used by each of the pairs. Players from one team take alternate shots. The team with the lowest score wins the hole and is awarded a point. The team with the most points at the end of the 18 holes wins. If the match is all square, each side receives half a point.

Total points up for grabs: 8

Fourballs: Today from 6.05pm and tomorrow from 1.20pm:

Four matches of fourballs will be played both today and tomorrow. Teams send out pairs of players against each other. There are four balls in play, one for each player. The player with the lowest score among those four wins the hole for his team.

Total points up for grabs: 8

Singles: Sunday from 5.03pm:

Played on Sunday, the final day. Everyone goes head-to-head in solo contests against a player from the opposing side.

Total points up for grabs: 12

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits