Changing Places

The U.S. took time amid the buildup to assure its new status as underdog
October 01, 2006

The U.S. team,having won only once in the last five matches, fought for the low ground. We'reunderdogs, they said--loose, fun-loving guys who like to get together for asing-song and a pint of Guinness. Hold on, said the Europeans, you're poachingour game plan. Captain Lehman smiled and shrugged. Woosie fumbled for words.The Irish celebrated their pagan roots with flags, banners and stilt-walkers.This, most everyone agreed, was going to be good.

GOATS &HEROES

GOATS
The Organizing Committee, for stranding hundreds of spectators in distantparking lots when high wind closed the course on Wednesday.

Bernhard Langer,the former Ryder Cup star and the 2004 European captain, for skipping the RyderCup to play in the Texas Open.

Woods, forbutchering the Stanford fight song at a team get-together. "I wouldn'trecommend he go into a recording studio," said Scott Verplank.

HEROES
Tiger Woods, for crossing a fairway during Tuesday's practice to hug Ireland'sDarren Clarke, whose wife, Heather, recently died of cancer.

Tom Lehman, forgiving his team time off after practice. Especially Woods, whose tournamentroutine includes afternoon workouts followed by quiet time.

Amy Lepard, prosinger and wife of Chad Campbell, for her pitch-perfect performance during theU.S. team's karaoke contest.

LIGHTNING ROD

Elin Nordegren,the wife of Tiger Woods and a former fashion and photographer's model, took ahit when British and Irish tabloids reprinted magazine photos of a toplessbeauty wrongly identified as the golfer's wife. The original article, a parodyof tabloid journalism, claimed that Elin could be seen "in a variety ofsweaty poses on porn sites across the Web." Last Wednesday morning an angryWoods called the claims "unacceptable" and hinted through his agent,Mark Steinberg, that legal action could follow. "It's hard to be verydiplomatic about this," said Woods. "My wife is an extension of me ...and I care about her with all my heart." The publishers of The Dublinermagazine promptly apologized, claiming that their intent had been to lampoonthe excesses of the tabs, not to defame the fair Elin.

MORECORRECTIONS

The Dubliner hasdiscovered additional errors in our recent satire of irresponsible tabloidjournalism.

• In praising theAmericans' discipline, we inadvertently added the words bondage and.

• Chris DiMarcohas no connection to al-Qaeda.

• We meant nooffense by calling Jim Furyk a kinky swinger.

• Finally,another typo altered our reference to Elin Nordegren's work in "hot steamycorn." She makes a great casserole.

The Dublinerregrets any confusion our story may have caused. --Kevin Cook

CROWD CONTROL

FANS ON the 1sttee booed the American team on Wednesday when all 12 players opted not to hittee shots in the windy conditions and instead played a skins game off theirapproach shots. Lehman said, "I apologize. That was my mistake. Our focuswas on the short game, but we should have hit a tee shot--at least on thatfirst hole."

"OVERHEARD"

"He's kind ofbuying into this having 11 buddies with him for a week instead of just, youknow, me against the world." --VERPLANK ON WOODS

"I spent sixmonths working on the rain suits because I know what the weather can be likehere. I've tried to get the very best out of the waterproofs."
--EUROPEAN CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM

" Probablylikes watching my swing, I would think."
--FURYK, WHEN ASKED WHY WOODS FAVORED HIM AS A PARTNER

"TheAmericans, I know they were cringing when the plane landed yesterday in Dublinairport and it was blowing an absolute gale and lashing rain."
--PAUL MCGINLEY

CAPTAINSWATCH

Lehman (left,with Woods) is so exceptionally prepared that one Irish paper dubs him "St.Tom." Woosnam, on the other hand, stammers when he reads his preparedremarks and seems to be making his decisions on the fly. When a journalistpoints out that all the par-5s are on even-numbered holes, encouraging thepairing of a long hitter with a shorter hitter in the foursomes, Woosnam actssurprised. "That's a good point," he says. "I haven't thought ofthat." Really?

Slights &Grievances

ASKED IF the U.S.team had any bulletin-board material posted in its team room, Chris DiMarcosaid, "Yeah. Unfortunately it's from Johnny Miller and some of our ownsportswriters." DiMarco added, "I never agree with anything Johnnywrites or says, so it doesn't matter."

Last Tuesday'swild weather produced the only criticism of Lehman. "With Hurricane Gordonshowing its teeth," wrote Lewine Mair in The Daily Telegraph, "both theEuropean and American teams had looked out of their hotel windows at firstlight and thought to themselves that this was no day for golf. Woosnamencouraged his players to go out just the same. Lehman sent his back tobed."

Swing coach ButchHarmon, doubling as a Sky Sports analyst, roasted Brett Wetterich for hiscareless play at the PGA Championship, at which the Ryder Cup rookie casuallyswatted at some balls in the rough on his way to missing the cut. "I wasappalled with what I saw," said Harmon. "I don't want the guy on myteam if that's the way he acts. You want a guy who hangs in there andfights."

KEY STAT

200 POUNDS

Estimated weight of corn tortillas brought to Irelandby Tom Lehman.

TIGER TRACKER

What kind of cat was he today?
PUSSYCAT
ALLEY CAT
MAN-EATER

MAN-EATER
With Davis Love III and Fred Couples no longer around to mentor the rookies,Tiger finally accepts the mantle of leadership. He sings, he teases, he pumpsup the four rookies. Then, when Elingate hits the papers, he turns cold andgrim. No European, if he's honest, wants to play Tiger when he's mad.

 

TEN PHOTOSROBERT BECK (DANCER); SIMON BRUTY (LEHMAN, TIGER WOODS 2); DARREN CARROLL (LEPARD); ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES (LANGER);SCOTT SHAW/THE PLAIN DEALER/AP (TORTILLAS); PAT DOYLE/CORBIS (PUSSYCAT); CORBIS (ALLEY CAT); DORLING KINDERSLEY/GETTY IMAGES (TIGER) PHOTODAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES (ELIN WOODS)IRE OF THE TIGER Woods got defensive when the tabloids slighted his wife, Elin (center). PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (U.S. TEAM)DIRTY DOZEN Mickelson (foreground) and the U.S. team teed off only the fans. TWO PHOTOSGERRY PENNY/EPA (WOOSNAM); SIMON BRUTY (WOODS AND LEHMAN)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)