28/09/2010 11:35
Team US wear the trophy close to their heart
As Captain Corey Pavin led the US Ryder Cup team out for their first practice round at Celtic Manor, there was no doubting their intentions. Clutching the glistening gilded trophy as he arrived in Cardiff yesterday, Pavin has opted – somewhat symbolically - to keep it close to the players’ hearts as they familiarise themselves with the fairways of Wales.
Woods, Furyk, Cink and their compatriots arrived at the first tee clad in cream crew-neck sweaters (the Americans find it amusing that these are sometimes referred to as ‘jumpers’ here in the UK), emblazoned with a large line-drawing of the coveted trophy. However, some of the players were keen to shed themselves of the psychological burden of carrying the weight of their dreams around with them, quickly discarding their knitwear in favour of their pale blue polo shirts.
Captain Pavin has worked with his wife Lisa to create the US Team’s kit for this event, taking inspiration from the classic, vintage attire worn by golfing greats such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead – think v-neck pastel cardigans, zippered funnel-neck knits in navy or red, diamond-patterned tank tops plus red, white and blue webbing belts fastened with D-rings. While their rainwear (sure to be called upon daily this week if the forecasts are to be trusted) is personalised across the back with individual players’ names in the manner of baseball and football players’ strip, detailing on other garments is kept to a simple minimum with a red Ryder Cup embroidered crest on caps and polo shirts – just to remind them what they’re here for.

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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