03/10/2010 20:50
38th Ryder Cup enters the record books...
History is being made in this, the 38th Ryder Cup. For some, they’ll be delighted this event is going down in the record books: for others, they might prefer to banish the memories and move on.... 
It is, for example, the first time in its 84-year existence that the tournament will climax on a Monday, after extreme weather conditions forced delays. Yes, everyone told them it would rain in these parts, in October. But this wasn’t just any old soggy Sunday in south Wales. Someone had brought the Monsoon and released it over Newport and, according to the Weather Watchers, the equivalent of 55.5 percent of the average October rainfall has fallen on Celtic Manor in less than three days. Hmmm.
So, ten years in the making, and Celtic Manor Resort Chairman Sir Terry Matthews faced his dream of hosting the world’s biggest golf tournament turning into the world’s biggest mudwrestling match. Frankly, areas of the course resembled swamps. But, thanks to an army of 110 groundstaff, shipped in from some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses, and armed with giant squeedgies, Matthews vision for a ground-breaking Ryder Cup is about to happen.
“We could have played this event exactly one year ago or exactly one week ago and we would have experienced no interruptions to the schedule of play, but one thing we cannot control is the weather. Everybody involved in organising this first Ryder Cup in Wales is deeply disappointed by the weather but our biggest disappointment is for the spectators and sponsors who deserved so much better.”
But, Mr Matthews hadn’t bargained on the European Team’s fighting spirit – they are, after all, rather more comfortable playing in inclement conditions than their transatlantic counterparts. And, after waiting patiently for some action on the fairways, the fans got to watch some of the most exhilarating golf in years. The scoreboard had remained clad in blue overnight, and Captain CoMo’s team were determined to keep it that way for the rest of the day.
There was a tidal wave of support for the boys in blue, as spectators appeared to double their efforts in cheering on their heroes. “Ole! Ole! Ole!” the chanted from the grandstands, prompted by a pumped-up Sergio Garcia, on official duty here as Vice Captain. “There’s only two Molinaris!” they sang, as the Italian brothers (another Ryder Cup first for Europe, having the siblings in their team) struggled to make their putts, but persevered to split their match point with Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.
More record breaking facts from Sunday? Phil Mickelson now holds the dubious title of holding the most Ryder Cup defeats – 17 - in US history, jumping one ahead of Raymond Floyd. The once invincible Tiger Woods had been unbeaten in his pairing with Steve Stricker, but Luke Donald and Lee Westwood clearly still had an appetite as they went out after lunch and devoured the US pairwith apparent ease – the match ended 6&5 on the 13th, so Woods was reduced to US team cheerleader.
And, as the remaining pairings made their way around the soggy sponge underfoot, the vast scoreboards dotted around the site remained largely blue. The score going into Monday play? 9.5 points to Europe, 6.5 to the US. An encouraging lead, but still lots to play for – Europe need 14.5 points to win the coveted cup back from the Americans – the US Team need just 14 to retain it.
And, one more record-breaking fact going into Monday’s play: None of the players have previously played against each in Ryder Cup singles.
Only once in the history of The Ryder Cup have the American Team won on European soil when they were trailing going into the singles…. Roll on Monday!

There really are no words to describe the euphoria that swept the fairways of Celtic Manor this afternoon, as Colin Montgomerie’s embattled men reclaimed the Samuel Ryder Cup as their own. As the sun shone brightly over the picturesque Usk Valley, this lush pocket of south Wales saw a groundswell of European pride emerging from the sodden earth. The air was filled with raw emotion as complete strangers hugged and patted each other on the back. Tears streamed down the cheeks of grown men, who cheered with booming voices, and mothers clung to bewildered children who knew only that they had never before seen anything like this – and may never do so again.
History is being made in this, the 38th Ryder Cup. For some, they’ll be delighted this event is going down in the record books: for others, they might prefer to banish the memories and move on....
For the fans, the key lesson from yesterday’s shenanigans was to think carefully about their attire so they could survive the sporting marathon. The merchandise pavilion in the tented village has virtually sold out of waterproof gear, and supplies of the official Ryder Cup umbrellas were gone before a ball was hit in anger. So, spectators came prepared in all manner of garb, to show their allegiances, while somehow keeping dry and warm.
As European Team Captain Colin Montgomerie’s predecessor, Sir Nick Faldo waved goodbye to the Ryder Cup in the Kentucky sunshine two years ago, and quipped: “See you in Wales – and bring your waterproofs.”
While the US and European Teams battle it out on the fairways at Celtic Manor, one newlywed couple in the crowd is flying the flag for both teams ....
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