More heavy rain Sunday means the Ryder Cup will finish on Monday.
Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Friday, December 09, 2011

NEWPORT, Wales — What I'm loving about the 2010 Ryder Cup, which was delayed again by rain Sunday morning with the U.S. leading 6-4 (play is scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m. local time):

• I'm saving a bundle on sunscreen.

• The weather forecasters. You know how the radar geeks in the U.S. get it right anywhere between some of the time and most of the time? In Wales they get it right every time. They got it right Friday, when we had a seven-hour-plus rain delay, and all week they've been predicting today's deluge, which suspended play before it began and pushed the singles to Monday. They know when it's going to rain here.

• More than two days into it, I have no idea who is winning. The score favors the U.S. but Europe leads all six matches in progress, two of them by large, probably irreversible margins. The final four fourball matches are either too early to call, or too close, or both.

• If the rain halts play just one more time we may not have enough daylight to finish all 28 matches, which means we may get to see something that's common to basketball but would be new to golf: the buzzer-beater. That's because of a previously obscure, never-before-invoked captain's agreement that ends play for good at 6:43 p.m. Monday. Can you imagine if it were Monday right now?

The Euros would have to hurry to win enough matches to not only erase their two-point deficit but also to push themselves ahead by at least a half a point. Such a race against the clock would be new to this competition and golf itself, and the ultimate cure for slow play. It would also likely send Euro captain Colin Montgomerie over the edge.

• This Ryder Cup is separating the casual fans from the paint-your-face, put-your-life-on-hold variety, because to watch it you've got to want it badly. The delay on day one sent so many locals to drink in the Ryder Cup bar, for so long, it deserves a dubious-achievement award from the International Liver Congress.

Here's the statement from Ryder Cup Europe that hit fans like a wet towel to the face at 7:30 a.m. Sunday:

Due to severe adverse weather conditions at The Celtic Manor Resort the organisers of The 2010 Ryder Cup have deemed the course currently unplayable. The resumption of play has therefore been delayed and a further announcement will be made at 11 a.m. Play will not resume before 12 noon.

Spectators are advised to remain at home and await further information before traveling. For those already at the East and West Park & Ride venues, or are currently traveling to the event, they are advised to remain in their vehicles.

Woo-hoo! Sounds like good times.

Then came this memo, a few hours later:

Ryder Cup Europe announces that the general public will be admitted from 11 a.m. to The Celtic Manor Resort for the continuation of The 2010 Ryder Cup with the current session of fourball and foursomes scheduled to recommence at 1:30 p.m.

Ryder Cup Europe would like to thank all spectators for their patience and consideration this morning, especially those who remained in their vehicles at the two Park and Ride locations.

• There's always something good to read around here because someone is always bent out of shape about something. This from Janet Street-Porter in The Independent on Sunday, under the headline of "Ryder Cup is a knuckle-draggers' convention":

"I thought golf was about hitting a ball into a hole with a stick. Now I realise that at championship level, it's an activity that requires leading players to bring a woman to sit in the background in a fetching outfit, crossing her legs in high heels, preferably with a mane of artfully teased blond hair and a winning smile. The Ryder Cup tournament, in which Europe take on the USA in Wales, is a showcase for Neanderthal attitudes."

It goes on from there, but you get the point. Martha Burk, meet Janet Street-Porter, your new favorite journo.

• Uncle Sam hats, faux 'fros in homage to Rory McIlroy, wigs in the Italian green-white-red striping. Carmen Miranda Appreciation Society, meet the Ryder Cup, your new favorite sporting event.

• There's always something good to read around here, part II. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is getting hammered so hard in the press it's making Janet Street-Porter look like Tickle-Me Elmo.

Ryder aficionados already chafe at Finchem's Presidents Cup, the biennial competition between America and the rest of the world (as in, not Europe) that began in 1994 as an obvious derivative of the Ryder.

The rain, though, has left Finchem-haters in an epic-foul mood.

Their grievance goes like this: The commish pushed the Cup back deeper into the fall than it was ever intended to go with the addition of the FedEx Cup to the Tour schedule starting in 2007. And so naturally it's his fault that the Ryder Cup has turned into the America's Cup, as one TV wag said this morning.

Hmm. I've got to stand with Finchem on this one. Before the FedEx Cup came into existence, the opening day of the 1997 Ryder Cup at soggy Valderrama was Sept. 26. The opening day of the '02 Cup at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England, was Sept. 27.

This year's opening day fell on Oct. 1. We're talking about a difference of less than a week, no? What's more, this is a lot of rain even for Wales. If you believe the experts, the 36.6 mm that fell on Celtic Manor between 5:30 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 p.m. Friday, throwing the schedule into chaos, accounted for more than 40% of the average monthly rainfall here in September/October.

• Jeff Overton. No matter what happens, Overton gave the U.S. team its greatest, most unanticipated boost when he carried teammate Bubba Watson to a fourballs victory over Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington in the first session's anchor match. To U.S. captain Corey Pavin it must have felt like a bank error in his favor.

Then Overton jarred his approach shot for eagle on the par-4 eighth hole, cutting his and Watson's deficit to just 1 down in their fourballs match against Miguel Angel-Jimenez and Peter Hanson, an electrifying shot with an even more electrifying reaction by Overton: "Boom, baby! Yeah! Come on!"

Who knew the baby-faced kid from Evansville, Indiana, was such an assassin? And who knew he had so many friends? An estimated 75 Over-fans are wandering around Wales this week wearing IU caps and other red-white apparel. I bumped into the clot of Hoosiers at their hotel in Cardiff Bay last night, and no one is having more fun.

• The kids. Jim Furyk's laser-like wedge to four feet behind the hole on the 18th hole set up a crucial halve of their foursomes match against Euro superpowers Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. But Rickie Fowler, 21, still had to drain the ticklish putt to save the day.

McIlroy, also 21, explained that he spent Friday's epic rain delay playing Xbox games against teammate Ross Fisher.

"He got dragged away by his wife and it was one-nil me," Rory said. "We might have to resume that tonight."

Said a smiling Montgomerie, "My team is very young."

• Rain-suit-gate. Honestly, you couldn't have made up a better story to highlight America's Ryder Cup inferiority complex.

What is the What by Dave Eggers. Have you read it? Great book. I've got 300 pages left. If the rain starts up again I know what I'm doing. The 2010 Ryder Cup organizers? They're not so sure.

 

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