Observations From an Irish Pub (in Ireland!)
By Conor Nagle under General

An artist's impression of Rickie's approach on 18

I [Conor] watched the final day of Ryder Cup 2010 in a slightly grimy pub crowded with bemused exchange students, office workers skiving off work and a handful of those guys who just populate bars in the early afternoon. It wasn’t ideal, particularly given that Fate had declared that I should sit alongside a moronic onlooker of the ‘say what you see’ variety. Maddening chatter aside, I managed to collect a few thoughts:

  • G-Mac and Mahan’s match might well have been the stuff of golfing legend, a tragi-comic blend of all golf’s good stuff, but the getting there, to that brief pay-off, was a haphazard and directionless affair. The rain delays played a massive part of course, but if matchplay is a game of subtle rhythms and momentum, interrupting brief, eighteen-hole matches for hours, if not entire days, makes a mockery of the format. You can (and should) commend the captains and players for rolling with the week’s many puches, but equally, you can (and should) criticise the organisers for repeatedly risking the integrity of the event. Whether it be in their selection of the blandest of bland layouts in the wettest of wet places, the baffling ticket policies, or the decision to allow the demands of scheduled TV coverage to trump common sense, they ensured that this year’s event became an even more transparently corporate love-in than usual.
  • Some might have had painful deja vu when they saw him deciding to lay-up on the eighteenth, but the Playmobil Kid came through and finally performed on the big stage. Surely a proper win can’t be far away?
  • The best team may have won, but it did so without ever really really clicking. Just about every European pairing matched a strong player and a weak one. MacDowell, for example, was immense, but was burdened with a McIlroy who spent most of the week looking twitchy and overexcited. For all their brotherly affection, they never played like a genuine unit. And as for the actual brothers, the Molinaris, Dodo’s toughness counted for little alongside Chico’s awful, awful putting. The net result was a rout that never got started and a team (G-Mac and Poults excepted) that sometimes looked as ill at ease playing the role of home favourites as their opponents looked comfortable doing the opposite. On a more positive note, one imagines Europe’s rookies will only be stronger in two years’ time.
  • A question for the stats nerds: format changes aside, has a team ever won the Ryder Cup having lost all sessions bar one? The closest I could think of was Brookline in 1999 when the winners (USA! USA!) only managed to win one session, but halved two.
  • Heartbreaking though it was to watch, the US press conference was as good an advertisement for professional golf as last week’s overblown FedEx Cup finale was a bad one. Defeat publicly humanised Mahan, Phil, Cink and Furyk in a way their biggest victories have never been able to and for a few minutes at least, we were left in no doubt as to their passion for what is, after all, an exhibition match. Corey Pavin, though– he’s still an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a douche.

–Conor from Dublin