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Checking in from the Ryder Cup

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • September 26, 2012 - 5:25 PM

Arrived at the Medinah Country Club this morning. Wrote about U.S. captain Davis Love III for the Thursday paper. First impressions from the Ryder Cup, which will visit Hazeltine National in 2016:

-Once I've covered this Ryder Cup, and the one in Minnesota, I won't have too many sporting events left on my bucket list. I want to cover a British Open. And I'd love to cover a championship event in Minnesota, involving a Minnesota team. I was covering the Vikings in 1991, so I watched the World Series on TV.

I've always loved the Ryder Cup. I love seeing independent contractors thrust into a position where they know they're playing for team and country. It's remarkable to see how handles that well and who doesn't.

-Can't get used to everyone calling him ``Captain Love.''  Makes him sound like a KISS song.

-Medinah is big and burly and impressive, but my first day here didn't bowl me over. It's a traditional parkland course. The clubhouse is impressive in a brick-and-mortar sort of way, but I can't say I find it attractive. I don't like golf clubhouses that are imposing; I think they should be inviting, even quaint.

The course is beautiful, but I don't find it unique. I think we'll have to see a lot of key shots on three holes in particular to come away with a positive impression of the court.

No. 13 is a 245-yard par 3, a remarkably difficult shot over water. Phil Mickelson said he thinks it will be a key hole because just about every match will go at least 13 holes, and it's such a difficult shot it brings all kinds of scores into play.

No. 15 is a par 4 that is listed as 391 yards, but can be played as short as 280 yards or so. Par 4s that can be reached from the tee can be fascinating, and it's clear Medinah wants No. 15 to play a pivotal role in these matches. Mickelson, for one, said he thinks the tee shot is too difficult and risky to be inviting, because of the pond to the right of the green. He predicted almost everyone will turn it into an easy two-shot hole instead.

No. 17 is a 193-yard par 3 that looks, to the eye, like it's about 400 yards. I stood on the tee today and was reminded that there are two things in the sports world I just can't comprehend: How an NFL quarterback sorts through the noise and flying bodies and delivers a strike to a sprinting receiver 40 or 50 yards away, and how a pro golfer hits some of the shots he is required to hit.

I can't imagine standing on that tee under pressure and hitting the ball anywhere but in the water. For the pros, I'm sure we'll see a number of birdies. These guys are amazing.

-Eight of the European Ryder Cup players belong to the PGA Tour, and most of them have homes in America. So Ian Poulter was asked whether the rivalry has become less personal.

``There’s something about Ryder Cup which kind of intrigues me: how you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup?” Poulter said. “The Ryder Cup means too much to us for it ever to lose that edge.”

American players were asked about the comment on Wednesday, but downplayed it. Mickelson, after answering questions from a European reporter, said, ``Nice try!''

-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 and 6:40 on Thursday.

-My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

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