The Hacker: Media challenge is a write-off for Corrigans as the Yanks press home their advantage

Three days before the sleek stars of the European and United States golf teams began their Ryder Cup battle at Celtic Manor, the haggard and bedraggled members of the media – who could be persuaded from their beds at around 5am on Tuesday morning – gathered to contest the Wryter Cup.

For many years, those writers and photographers covering the big event are given this chance to represent their respective continents in golfing action of a somewhat less accomplished kind.

Sponsored by Rolex, the 20-a-side tournament was not allowed to disfigure the pristine fairways of the Twenty Ten course. It took place on the Roman Road, the first course to be built on the Celtic Manor complex and well able to withstand an uncultured assault.

Not that it really mattered where we were playing because we could hardly see a thing through thick fog and accompanying drizzle.

The format was a shotgun start and an individual Stableford with the best 10 scores of each team to count. Each European pair played with an American pair. I was partnered by my son James, the golf correspondent of this parish, and we played with Alex Micelli, of Virginia, and Dave Shedlowski, of Columbus, Ohio.

After a disgracefully early but hearty breakfast we climbed aboard our buggies and followed the guide, thoughtfully provided by our organisers to lead us through the fog, to our starting holes.

We were assigned the fifth, which is an uphill par four, and as we stood at the tee staring at the grey I was questioned about where the hell we were going since I had played the course several times, though not for at least five years. I said that I thought the fairway swung slightly to the left, which it did, but we found only two of the four balls.

It was blind man's golf on the next hole too, and trudging through the thick and wet rough in search of balls our socks were so awash it was like paddling. On the seventh hole (our third) I was convinced that the drive was meant to be left of centre, which is exactly where I hit. By this time the others were wary of taking any more advice from me which is just as well. I was thinking of the wrong hole so they were on the fairway and mine was in so much trouble it wasn't worth looking for.

Playing with first-time visitors to my country, I was very conscious that they hadn't seen anything of it yet, so I reassured them that it wasn't always this bad. In order to lift their spirits I sang the first line of that lovely song from the musical Annie: "The sun will come out tomorrow..."

Alex asked dryly: "Is that the Welsh national anthem?"

Thankfully, the sun did comeout later by which time Alex and Dave, who play off seven andeight respectively, were scoringat a steady rate. James wasn't doing badly but I'm afraid I was struggling.

Then James's mobile rang, as did those of several others on the European team. National newspaper sports desks were coming up with their usual brilliant ideas they wanted their writers to chase up.

James had to depart with three holes still to play as did at least five others. Now, I'm not making excuses but the Americans, who won by 289 points to 270, weren't bothered by their sports desks because it was night time back home and they all managed to complete their rounds.

Alex and Dave managed 26 points each, which wasn't bad under the conditions, and I contributed a miserable 16. But, at least, we braved the elements and came back smiling. And sponsors Rolex were excellent hosts and even supplied a goodie bag.

There were rumours that they were going to give us a Rolex watch each. Sadly, this did not turn out to be the case but they did tell us the correct time when we came off the 18th hole.

Tip of the week

No 69: Aggressive putting

"I am coming up short all the time on those 'must-make' putts." Does that sound familiar?

Here is a great tip to make you more aggressive on those putts which you should be holing.

Find a straight putt and place a ball about six feet from the hole on a practice putting green.

Set up to the ball as normal with your putter aiming at the hole.

Push in two long tees either side of the ball square to your putter face – i.e. just narrower than the width of the putter. Now have a putt at the hole.

The tees will stop your putter face immediately at impact, so you must accelerate into the ball.

This will make you a much more positive putter and more confident on those putts inside six feet.

Simon Iliffe is head professional at Bramley Golf Club, Surrey.

Suggested Topics
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album