The Front Nine: Only the groundskeepers are up earlier than us. Each morning this week, we’re first off the tee with a front nine-worthy collection of helpful pointers to get your Ryder Cup day started. Fore!
1. Today’s weather
The run of good weather luck continues for Day 2 of the Ryder Cup. Expect a few more clouds keeping temperatures a touch cooler than Friday. But still, who can argue with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s?
2. Times and tickets
Gates open at 6:30 a.m.
Saturday morning foursome (alternate shot) matches:
Match 1 (7:35 a.m.) Rickie Fowler/Phil Mickelson vs. Rory McIlroy/Thomas Pieters
Match 2 (7:50 a.m.) Brandt Snedeker/Brooks Koepka vs. Henrik Stenson/Matthew Fitzpatrick
Match 3 (8:05 a.m.) Jimmy Walker/Zach Johnson vs. Justin Rose/Chris Wood
Match 4 (8:20 a.m.) Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth
Sitting out for the U.S.: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Moore
Sitting out for Europe: Lee Westwood, Andy Sullivan, Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett
Friday’s afternoon four-ball (best ball) matches will begin at 12:30 p.m. with different pairings
Grounds tickets for practice days and the three-day event sold out after a lottery drawing last year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action at Hazeltine. The PGA Tour’s Sirus/XM satellite radio channel is running advertisements for Stub Hub a few times an hour. As the competition heats up, so have the ticket prices. Single grounds tickets for Saturday’s play were going for $199 as of 8:30 p.m. Friday. Sunday’s tickets are running for $218 each.
3. Morning reading
U.S. leads but Europe shows fight: The Americans led 4-0 after Friday morning's Ryder Cup session at Hazeltine before Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson helped Europe cut that deficit in half during the afternoon.
Minnesota toughness: Patrick Reed has no connection to our state but he made a few fans by showing his inner Bud Grant wearing short sleeves during the chilly morning matches.
Coach Tiger: Some - including Europe's Lee Westwood - believed Tiger Woods as a vice captain would be a distraction to Team USA this week. So far, it hasn't.
4. Today: What will they do for an encore?
The Europeans were skunked in Friday morning’s matches but made a rousing comeback in the afternoon and trail 5-3 heading into Saturday’s action. Here is a closer look at Saturday morning’s European players.
Rory McIlroy: He’s considered a “veteran” even at three years away from 30. The four-time major winner has a winning Ryder Cup record in his three appearances – all wins for Europe.
Thomas Pieters: First picked up a golf club at age 5 and hasn’t put it down. Won the NCAA championship as a sophomore at Illinois and is already a three-time winner on the European Tour.
Henrik Stenson: Made major championship history this summer with a score of 264 in the British Open, outdueling Phil Mickelson by three strokes. Earned the silver medal at the Olympics.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: The rising star won the 2013 U.S. Amateur and his debut tournament on the European Tour, shooting a final-round 68 to go wire-to-wire at the 2015 British Masters.
Justin Rose: The Olympic gold medalist also won the2013 U.S. Open, 15 years after finishing fourth in the British Open as an amateur. First broke 70 at age 11.
Chris Wood: Though he has three wins on the European Tour he’s probably best known for splitting his pants after bending down to line a putt during a tournament in 2014.
Sergio Garcia: Making his eighth Ryder Cup appearance at only 36 years old. He is the youngest Ryder Cup player in history, appearing in all five sessions in 1999 at 19 years old.
Rafa Cabrera Bello: Thrives in international competition. He finished in a tie for fifth at the Olympics this summer and was a semifinalist in the WGC Match Play event in February. Wound up placing third, beating McIlroy in that match.
5. Course tip: Where to go
Perhaps we should call this section: “Where NOT to go.” Of Friday’s eight matches only one even reached the 17th or 18th hole. In match play, the game is often over well before the last green. The Ryder Cup is a lot like narrowly missing an opportunity to dodge rush-hour traffic: hurry up and wait. Yes, it’s tempting to want to be among the chanting crowd at No. 1. Yes, it would be fun to pick your favorite player (or pairing) and follow the whole match. But good Ryder Cup viewing comes with patience. Pick a spot on holes 2-14, stay there and let the action come to you. Tournaments love to make money. You’ll never be too far away for someone to make a beer run.
6. ‘How does this work again?
7. Rules of the day
A reminder that cameras are not allowed on the golf course now that play has officially started. Cell phones are allowed, but PLEASE be respectful. Don’t be that guy whose Kenny Loggins custom ringtone goes off just as Phil Mickelson is about to take a swing. Silence your phones. Also: Incoming and outgoing calls must be handled in designated areas known as “Phone Zones.” Texting, e-mail, social posting and other data use are allowed anywhere on the golf course provided players are not about to play their shots.
8. Star Tribune coverage
Watch for updates throughout the day. Our team includes reporters, bloggers, columnists (yes, Sid plans to stop by) photographers and videographers. Find our stories on the golf page, our photos here and follow our on-site reporters on Twitter: Jerry Zgoda, Jim Souhan, Patrick Reusse, Mark Craig, Brian Stensaas, Michael Rand and Chris Carr.
9. Follow all the action – yes, it’s possible
Still don’t like our advice from No. 5? Let’s reiterate: With more than 50,000 people crammed onto one golf course to follow – at most – 24 players at once it is virtually (nay, definitely) impossible to see all the action. But – ok – we concede. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience every last shot. In addition to the 10 ballroom-sized televisions placed around the course there are specifically programmed radios available to spectators. The thumb-sized devices come with a lanyard and a set of headphones for listening. Tune into television or radio play-by-play from either side of the pond or live stream what’s on those giant video boards. The radios are available for $15 in the merchandise shop near the main entrance or the merchandise express tent in between holes 1 and 18.