Thursday, September 30, 2010

NEWPORT, Wales -- For all the talk about the Ryder Cup team uniforms, they might be hard to see under the umbrellas Friday.
You can sum up the weather for Friday’s opening matches in three words: cold, windy and wet. The forecast calls for gusts of up to 25 mph during the morning, gradually clearing by the last afternoon, with a high of 60 degrees and a low of 53.
But despite weather that would be considered the dead of winter in Florida and the Southeast states, where most of the American players live, the Welsh weather could give long-hitting Team USA an edge.
All eight players Pavin chose to play Friday morning fourballs hit the ball far. (“Fourballs” means every player plays his own ball and the best score wins, while in “foresomes” players alternate shots.) Not only does the weather help the long-hitters stay in the fairway, but Pavin said he expects that if weather conditions are bad then Ryder Cup officials will play under “preferred rules” or lift-clean-and-place, which means great lies for those wedges and short irons into the green.
That perceived advantage might explain the puzzling final morning pair of Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, which Team Europe captain Colin Montgomerie initially called “strange,” then downgraded to “unexpected.” Watson is second on PGA Tour driving distance at 309 yards per poke, behind only Robert Garrigus.
However, Pavin insisted that he put the big hitters together to make a lot of birdies in the fourballs format, not to take advantage of the weather.
“I mean, how often do the weather men actually get the weather right?” Pavin said. “I just wanted to send out guys who I thought were very good at better ball [fourballs] and send them out and have at it and the weather is not a factor at all.”
The forecast is supposed to ease up a little for the weekend. However, the morning fog might be especially thick on Saturday, when a mix of clouds and rain is expected. Sunday’s forecast is for morning showers followed by a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon.

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