Ryder Cup notebook: The silence is broken
TribLIVE Sports Videos
MEDINAH, Ill. — Wonder no more what would happen if the crowd screamed in the middle of a golfer's backswing. It's happened two days in a row at the Ryder Cup by design, signaling what might be the start of a tradition.
U.S. golfer Bubba Watson got things off to a raucous start Friday afternoon, stepping onto the tee box and waving his arms like a cheerleader, exhorting fans in the packed grandstands to get on their feet and yell. As the wall of noise closed in, Watson addressed his opening drive and crushed it down the middle of the fairway. The roar got even louder.
The moment so energized players on both teams that when Watson did the same thing on his opening tee shot Saturday morning, Europe's Ian Poulter encouraged the crowd to keep howling and promptly followed suit.
“It was ridiculous. A special moment,” Poulter said. “It's an amazing amphitheater to stand there and hit that first tee shot, even when it's quiet.
“I knew Bubba was going to do it today,” he added, “so why not join him?”
Why not indeed? Considering how many players on both sides embraced the bedlam at No. 1, it will be interesting to see whether any players will try to pump the crowd up before teeing off in their singles matches Sunday.
The Americans' big day got the presidential seal of approval.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were at the Ryder Cup on Saturday, joining U.S. captain Davis Love III to watch fourball matches. While the elder Bush and wife Barbara were easily recognizable, the younger Bush blended in with Love's squad.
He even wore the same blue-and-white striped shirt that was the U.S. team uniform Saturday.
“There's nothing like the Ryder Cup in my view,” said the elder Bush, who has been to every one since Valderrama in 1997.
The presidents said hello to players from both teams between holes, and Tiger Woods got a pep talk from the elder Bushes.
One of the boldest shots of the Ryder Cup came from Jim Furyk. He was 2 down in the opening foursomes match when Furyk, one of the shorter hitters for the Americans, hit driver on the par-4 15th to the front of the green. That forced Graeme McDowell to hit driver, and he went in the water, losing the hole.
Bubba Watson made a strange choice Saturday. He and Webb Simpson were 2 down on the 15th. Ian Poulter smartly laid up with an iron. Watson, his team needing a birdie in the foursomes match, chose to lay up. They halved the hole in pars. They won the next hole with a bogey but never caught up.
The 13th man
Blame the partisan galleries at Medinah, the leadership of Phil Mickelson, excitable rookie Keegan Bradley's spectacular play, or even the businesslike duo of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. All have played a role in Europe's mounting deficit heading into the final day's singles matches.
But McDowell thinks there's one other factor in play.
“This golf course, it's about momentum. If you're seeing it on the greens, you can really get it going with the putter,” he said. “And if you're not ... “
If you're not, you're in for some misadventures. McDowell and teammate Rory McIlory were strong on the greens in their opening match, beating Furyk and Brandt Snedeker 1-up, but the Northern Ireland duo has struggled since. They were beaten Friday afternoon by Mickelson and Bradley, then again Saturday morning by Furyk and Snedeker before splitting up.
“We're in a hole,” McDowell said. “These guys, there's blood in the water, and they are up for it.”
Bradley became the first rookie since Sergio Garcia in 1999 to win his opening three matches. Garcia went on to halve a fourth match and then lost in singles. Bradley is the first American rookie to go 3-0 in team matches since Loren Roberts in 1995. Roberts actually had three partners at Oak Hill — Jeff Maggert, Peter Jacobsen and Corey Pavin. ... Bradley and Mickelson have been so dominant this week that at one point they won seven consecutive holes — the last four holes of a foursomes match Friday morning and the opening three holes of their fourballs match that afternoon.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Rossi: Fitting in will be Kang’s biggest hurdle
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Penguins notebook: Pouliot dazzles in victory over Blue Jackets
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget
- LaBar: Is Brock Lesnar leaving WWE again?
- Pitt’s NCAA Tournament hopes take a hit with loss to Wake Forest
- Icy roads causing multiple accidents Sunday evening
- National Weather Service predicts up to 7 inches of snow before Sunday night