Golf events seem to come and go almost as often as buses do, and considering the range of outcomes you can put money on, maybe it should be met with excitable surprise that a significant fixing scandal hasn’t yet embroiled this oh so traditional of sports. To be honest though, it’s not exactly a scandalous sport. One massive, high-profile sex scandal every gazillion years is enough. They’re trying to be a class above everyone else for goodness sake.
For the next three days though the eyes of the golfing world will be fixed on the Celtic Manor Resort in
Newport, Wales, for the 38th Ryder Cup matches, won by the USA two years ago. The lead-up has been dominated by three things: Tiger Woods, Paddy Power’s sign, and the weather, and it’s not like they’re going to fade into the background as the tournament gets underway today.
The first thing you notice turning on Sky’s super-duper High Definition pictures was how clearly you can actually see the dense puddles that tattoo the fairway as if course owner Sir Terry Matthews has put the things there for a reason – to make the experience a more memorable one for everyone involved. Has no one told Tezzer that memorable usually means for good reasons, not for bad situations like this? We’ll come back to Mr Matthews later though.
That weather doesn’t look like relenting and if US captain Corey “crazy” Pavin wanted to use it as an excuse there’s more than enough weight being put behind that argument by everyone apart from himself and the team he is captaining. The Europeans, and captain Colin Montgomerie in particular, have been beavering on about the fact that the Americans don’t play in this weather back home – he’s told anyone that can be bothered to stand within earshot for long enough that there’s thunder and lightning if it rains and they come off the course back home. Obviously never been to Seattle before then Colin?
American excuses will come in the fashion department and principally that the clothing they’re wearing isn’t waterproof. It’s really the kind of thing you expect to happen to the English soccer team but the US have really outdone themselves. Obviously, like we mentioned earlier, they more than likely didn’t get to test the stuff in the rain as they never get to play in it. Might have go this one spot on Monty.Of course one of the other elements being thrown into this year’s cup is the seminal, world number one, Tiger Woods. What he’s now world number one at is largely unclear, but his presence alone will force many of the Europeans to check where their WAGs are at any given time, and if they’re gone…the world number one’s probably getting his fill – being number one, it’s only fair guys. All joking apart, Woods still has that factor putting him above most of the other players in the field, and has almost more majors to his name than all the others put together. Also he’s the only one to have a video game series named after him, so watch out Europe!
Last of all there’s the ambush marketing, which has been the amusing side-show of the tournament so far. This is when we get back to Mr Matthews who I thought to be thoroughly disagreeable after seeing him on BBC news this morning – if there’s a smugger man in Wales then someone please point him out to me, because this man takes the biscuit. Paddy Power put their sign up this week, and it was down before they knew it, but Matthews went further by calling them scum. Betfair followed this up with advertising eagles flying around the course, and William Hill were ready to dust off the old horse drawn carriage to repeat the trips it used to make back in the medieval times to advertise the bookies.
One thing to consider though Terry…
Padraig Harrington stepped out onto the first tee this morning, the chant heard loud and clear was “the real Paddy Power.” Looks as though they left their mark Mr Matthews!