Posts Tagged ‘ryder cup’
Technology can discombobulate. There were real concerns that the passengers of the early steam train journeys would be so unnerved by the motion that their heads would explode. When the Lumiere brothers showed the first moving images in a Parisian cinema the audience were so terrified they stampeded out onto the street.
I wonder if the elders at Sky Sports considered these dangers when they decided not only to premiere their 3-D Masters coverage but also to roll out the powerful sexual entity that is Colin Montgomerie. Not literally roll out, although that would be an operation rendered facile by the epic undulations on the Augusta course. It’s these vast green slopes that Montgomerie seems completely fixated on and are of course only revealed in their proper glory in the 3-D format.
Montgomerie himself has a mesmeric quality. It’s mainly his chops, which have the same elastic potential as a Creature Comforts tortoise. It’s also what comes out of his mouth: the strange burbles, whispery coughs, the giggles at nothing, and the odd mid-sentence boggle in which the same word will be repeated three or four times like a skipping CD. It’s like he’s become lost in his own huge jowls. 3-D jowls. There’s a head-exploding thought.
And the winner is……..
Hunter Mahan has not been awarded this accolade not through any sense of schadenfreude against a golfer who probably loves his mum and owns the long toothy face of a whinnying Disney goat. Well maybe a little schadenfreude actually. The Mahan meltdown is particularly poignant given his previously dismissive attitude towards the Ryder Cup. His lachrymose performance at the press conference may dispel any doubt over American enthusiasm for the event, which comes as a stolid comfort for those who hold the Ryder Cup dear as a bastion of not-for-profit competition.
Mahan should accept this honour on behalf of all sportsmen who have learnt of defeat’s enduring propensity to lodge itself in the throat and wreak hell with your vocal cords.
I suspect the Huntsman will choke up again when he finds out about the award.
Colin Montgomerie is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a sturdy Gore-tex windcheater. For the large part of his career he has been perceived as just a big angry pair of tits who is a bit good at golf. The butt of a thousand ribald jokes on They Think It’s All Over. The Pringle-clad personification of a harrumph. A man who has systematically ticked off the major section of the golfing fraternity including future members of his European team, vice-captains and fans.
But now everybody loves Colin. Even before the Europeans won. Maybe we appreciated his serious-minded approach. Perhaps it’s the likeness to a haughty cartoon owl with dentures. Or the confounding array of pensive facial expressions. If they ever make a Montgomerie biopic, which they surely will now, then the Creature Comforts artists should be called for. Plasticene is the only substance known to man that could do justice to the extraordinary malleability of the Monty visage. Here’s to you and your face Colin.
Luke Donald: Neat player with a concise game that throws back to an era of persimmon woods and toothy coves in tweed plus fours. Sparkling Ryder Cup record and recent form elevates him to gun status.
Ross Fisher: Has an interview technique that could earn him long-term riches as a replacement for Ritalin. That’s all I have to say.
Peter Hanson: Hanson will be hoping that he won’t only be remembered in Ryder Cup lore as the man who pushed Paul Casey out of the team. We’d all be sitting more comfortably on our shooting sticks if he’d won the USPGA to qualify, and not the Czech Open. But beware the unheralded European. Remember David Gilford? No? He was amazing.
Padraig Harrington: Inclusion seems to have caused the most consternation of all the wild cards. Which is odd given that he only missed automatic qualification by a grand. And has won more majors than the rest of the team put together.
Martin Kaymer: His triumph at the recent USPGA Championship was so clinically and stereotypically German in its execution that he may as well as have stroked in the final putt with a bratwurst.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: One of the more exuberant members of team, he might be forgiven for feeling a little jaded given the amount of golf he played to qualify for the side as well as juggling a stint on the current series of the X Factor. If you haven’t seen Jimenez strut his eccentric moustachioed stuff, here he is:
Graeme McDowell: Gnomic presence whose eyebrows may never revert back to their original position after his surprise win at Pebble Beach. Like most golfers, looks wierd without a cap.
Rory McIlroy: Pull a tiger’s tail hard enough and it will inevitably turn round and chomp your head clean off. Don’t be surprised to see Woods picking little bits of Ulster perm from his teeth at some point this weekend.
Edoardo and Francesco Molinari: The Molinaris are the latest in a rich tradition of celebrated Italian brothers: mortal enemies of Steve Redgrave, the Abbagnales, electro-plumbers Mario and Luigi, miniature mobsters the Ant Hill Mob, and not forgetting the footballing Nevilli brothers, Garibaldi and Pippo.
Ian Poulter: Incorrigible twitterer who despite the headmasterly demands of his captain, will probably be providing tweets from tee to green to team room to the clubhouse toilet. Dresses like a twunt.
Lee Westwood: The Europeans will be praying that Westwood’s calf is sufficiently recovered in order to take the unique strain of walking around after a small ball for three days. Given his newly unsubstantial frame, there are high hopes that the Westwood pins are up to the job.
Stewart Cink: Wantonly destroyed the greatest story in sport by selfishly pinching the Claret Jug from Old Tom Watson last year. He then compounded this sickening crime by filling the venerable trophy with barbeque sauce. Which apart from anything else would have probably made his sauce taste funny, a bit like old spoons do.
Rickie Fowler: Owner of probably the most lustrous topcoat in golf. Could be mistaken for a Skittle-splashed Afghan hound. His wardrobe is so deranged he’ll be the only player on the American team looking more conservative than he usually does.
Jim Furyk: Won the Fed Ex Cup on Sunday using a putter bought for $39. My calculator informs me that Furyk could now buy 25,641 more putters with his winnings from the tournament. Which would be a bit excessive.
Dustin Johnson: Carving out a niche as a lovable loser, like a southern-fried Henman. Deserves kudos for inadvertently re-merchandising the window of a souvenir shop by the 18th at St.Andrews with an errant tee shot. Flak helmets are being issued at the entrance gates to Celtic Manor.
Zach Johnson: Have you ever been hustled on the golf course by a arthritic old duffer who bores you into submission by half-bunting the ball down the middle of the fairway and holing a surprising amount of putts? Extrapolate that forward to the Ryder Cup, and you’ve got Zach Johnson.
Matt Kuchar: Swings the club with the hunched grace of a sciatic penguin. Apple-cheeked smiler that is possibly underestimated because he seems so nice – like a balder Luke Donald.
Hunter Mahan: Once compared the Ryder Cup to slavery. We shouldn’t judge. Perhaps he heard the Tiger Woods had packed his pink fluffy manacles and got confused.
Phil Mickelson: Should be a behemoth of the Ryder Cup, but isn’t. That could be because the event is always held in the autumn by which time Big Phil has eaten enough Cheetos to lose his early season buffness and probably his edge. If you think I’m joking, then I’ll chuck this stat at you: 80% of all Mickelson’s career victories have come in the first half of the year.
Jeff Overton: What can you say about Jeff Overton that hasn’t been said already? Pretty much anything actually. There’s almost always one anonymous American competing, a player that is almost instantly forgotten after the event. Like Brett Wetterich. Or Wayne Levi. Or Jim Gallagher Jr. Okay, so I remember. But I’m wierd.
Steve Stricker: Once fired his wife as his caddy before the divorce lawyers were rung for. The same thing happened with my mum and dad. Except she was just doing a bit of filing at his office, which isn’t really the same thing.
Bubba Watson: Like Dustin Johnson, but less creative in how he loses major championships. Being edged out by a cold-blooded German in a play-off isn’t nearly as entertaining as mistaking a bunker for some builder’s rubble.
Tiger Woods: Has already represented his country in a team event in Wales, that being the 1995 Walker Cup at Royal Porthcawl. Which he lost. Tiger was still a teenager at time, probably forced to satisfy his dark carnal urges with a trip to see Sexy Barbara in Swansea. As an aside, I once saw ex-England cricket captain Tony Lewis naked in the clubhouse at Porthcawl. True story.
Nobody could accuse Ian Poulter of being all mouth and no trousers. All mouth and just trousers maybe. Amazing technicolour dreamtrousers in every shade that you could think of, in horrendous combinations previously beyond the realms of human understanding. Apparently his fashion muse is his mother, who was once manager of Dorothy Perkins in Letchworth (which is obviously the couture capital of the world), although I am dubious of this fact. I’ve been to Letchworth and I didn’t notice any pubescent girls strutting around in fuchsia pink plus-fours.
There were those who suspected that the wardrobe exuberance and the assiduous construction of the Poulter brand was masquerading a limitation in talent, a theory perhaps bolstered by the infamous promise two years ago that when he fulfilled his potential “it will be just me and Tiger”. Which I treated with the same disdain as when a man I used to work with told me that he went round 9 holes in 19 shots. Using only a putter.
Maybe I was wrong about Poulter.
He may work hard at his image, but he also works hard at his game. And now it shows. Trampolining off a manful performance in the last Ryder Cup Poulter is now approaching the top of the tree, just as Tiger is scratching around in the dirt at the bottom of it. Of course to roost like a peacock on the highest branch he needs to win a major.
The Green Jacket would be good. He’d definitely have a pair of trousers to go with it.
Having been subjected to attack from what one might suggest was friendly fire, it has been a torrid old week for some of our more venerable sporting institutions. First Chris Gayle smacks test cricket for six over its head by confessing that he wouldn’t be so sad if it died out. And then Rory McIlroy delivered a fearful whack to the Ryder Cup, arguing that it’s just an exhibition and ‘not that important to me’. I shouldn’t be surprised to read in my paper tomorrow that Sir Steve Redgrave has claimed that Olympic gold medals are ‘not all that’ or Sir Alex has revealed his true feelings by taking a crap in the European Cup.
McIlroy’s outburst can probably be attributed to adolescent recalcitrance. He is only twelve after all. His captain and playing partner today Colin Montgomerie probably took this into consideration when he politely asked the press not to make a war between him and the younger man (although in truth it’s something we’d probably all like to see: the young scrapper against the sheer bulk of the Scot).
Gayle claims he was misrepresented. You can judge for yourself by listening to the audioclip here. The strange thing about this interview is that it sounds as if Gayle and the female journalist are on a date. Gayle comes across slightly coy and flirty and definitely a bit pissed. It would certainly explain why his defensive technique deserted him on this occasion.
Test cricket had an immediate opportunity to stand up for itself and say ‘now listen here my good man’ at Chester-le-Street today on the first day of the Second Test. Unfortunately, on a play-doh pitch in front of a soupcon of spectators, it was more: ‘actually Chris maybe you’ve got a point.’
In fact, perversely, the most interesting section of play was when Gayle brought himself onto bowl early against Andrew Strauss, the self-appointed champion of the test game. It was like he was countering his own argument.
The debate continues tomorrow.
So Colin Montgomerie is seeking the counsel of Sir Alex Ferguson in preparation for his leadership of the 2010 Ryder Cup team. The prospect of Monty assuming Fergusonian management techniques in South Wales is a fascinating one. One wonders how much of Sir Alex’s advice the portly Scot will take to heart, but there are several intriguing scenarios:
1. The referees
John Paramore, you have been warned: there are no technical areas on the fairways. There is no fourth official to divert the wrath of Colin against the chief referee of the European tour and his hardy crew of officials. If Ferguson’s vituperative attitude towards the ref is replicated by Montgomerie on the golf course then we could find ourselves in an unpleasant situation. A red-faced Monty, jabbing an accusing finger into a disbelieving referee, while being forcibly restrained by a couple of stewards. All for a minor disagreement over the invocation of rule 18-6 (ball at rest moved in measuring).
And think of the final fourballs on the Saturday afternoon. Donald rolls in a four-footer at the last to halve his match with Casey against Mickelson and Kim. Handshakes all round and off to the bar. But no. In front of a baying crowd, Monty is pointing at his watch, eyeing down the referee. And we’re back off to the first tee to see if we can get Europe that point.
2. The Americans
Sir Alex is notorious for winding up his opponents with his wily mind games. Wenger, Mourinho, most recently Benitez and most hilariously little Kevin Keegan.
Monty’s opposite number Corey Pavin is a character who will not shrink away from a scrap. This a man who donned a Desert Storm army cap during ‘The War on the Shore’ Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island in 1991. What a prick.
So let’s hope that Montgomerie can get under Pavin’s skin, maybe by questioning the professionalism of some of his American team: “When you do things like that about a man like Jim Furyk, I tell you what, I would LOVE it if we beat them in September”.
In truth Monty has form in this particular regard: maybe he could teach Ferguson a thing or two. He suggested that Brad Faxon may not be at the peak of his mental game in the run up to the 1997 Ryder Cup because he was in the middle of sticky divorce proceedings. It didn’t go down too well over the pond.
3. The Europeans
So Justin Rose takes Rory McIroy out for a night in downtown Newport the week before festivities: booze, drugs, strippers, a half-arsed orgy back at the hotel suite. Cue Monty. He is furious. The curly whippersnapper is hauled out by his ear and Rose is dropped from the team, banished to an South American satellite tour. Only to resurface on Celebrity Love Island reluctantly cavorting with Abi Titmuss.
And woe betide anyone who should three-stab on the 17th green to hand the Americans a vital point. Because Monty will be aiming a size 11 Footjoy straight for your forehead. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for the telltale studmarks on Robert Karlsson’s large Swedish noggin.
4. The press
And more particularly the BBC. Ferguson’s relationship with the Beeb disintegrated into nothing following a documentary shown on the channel about his son Jason. So what can we expect if Sir Alex’s mistrust has polluted the Monty view?
A vice-captain, lets say Paul Broadhurst, is pushed forward to take all press conferencs? A broadside is aimed at Peter Alliss, the commentator dismissed as “arrogant beyond belief”? Or even a shove in Hazel Irvine’s face as she proffers a hopeful microphone?
We can but dream…