Tiger presence, Midwestern charm, more
What did our on-site employees learn after a week at Whistling Straits and the 43rd Ryder Cup? We asked them what they had to take away from Haven, Wisconsin, in this edition of “Lessons from. “
The presence of Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods wasn’t at Whistling Straits last week, but his presence, as always, was felt. On Monday, US captain Steve Stricker said Woods was “a lot in my ear and I call him quite regularly. He’s a part of our Ryder Cup team. He’s a part of what we do. At a session. ‘practice Tuesday, an American fan donned a t-shirt covered in images of Tiger’s greatest moments, like an album. On Wednesday, Woods sent the troops a motivational text: something like that, and we’re paraphrasing here, “Drop the hammer on them, boys.”
Eight miles south of Whistling Straits, over Tiger, in photo form, on the wall of a family-run Italian restaurant called Luigi’s. Caprese, stuffed shells, eggplant parmesan with a medium red sauce – Luigi’s serves up all your favorites, as Woods discovered when he visited the restaurant in 2004, during PGA Championship week, with his wife from the then Elin Nordegren, her pal Mark O’Meara and an unidentified fourth dinner party. They were seated at a booth tucked away in the back corner. Tiger and Marko shared an extra-large sausage and pepperoni pizza; Elin had the fusilla primavera. No invoice followed. Dinner was prepared by Luigi’s owner Umberto Vitale. In gratitude, Woods left $ 20.
That evening, another renowned golfer, Phil Mickelson, also dined at Luigi’s. When Mickelson paid his bill, he added a tip of $ 86, a nod, presumably, to this week’s event, the 86th PGA Championship. Woods and Mickelson are both destined to be named Ryder Cup captains. The best estimate for Mickelson is 2025 in Bethpage; Woods’ turn would follow shortly after. They will lead their teams with very different styles. – Alan Bastable
The Key to a Good Ryder Cup Pairing
What is a good playmate? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself all week, and with each growl of a potential couple, curiosity strikes again.
Golfers, coaches and golf enthusiasts are smarter than ever, and you might see the beauty of human progress at play this week. Throughout the competition, we were treated to a constant flow of partnerships which, on paper at least, were optimized statistical matches. Some of them got naked and probably worked (DJ-Morikawa). Others, not so much (Westwood-Fitzpatrick). There is something intuitive and appealing about pairing two players whose games are very similar in the tactical battle of the Ryder Cup.
Still, ask the players themselves, and they sing a different tune.
“It’s important to put two personalities together, two friends together, two guys who get along well,” said Justin Thomas.
“You want to play with someone you’d take a bullet for,” Tommy Fleetwood said.
Ryder Cup legend Tony Jacklin, Europe’s most successful captain in history, said the essence of his best duets is a product.
“The mesh of two-player personalities is far superior to anything else,” he says. “They have to build that feeling of trust in each other. … If you don’t have this, you have nothing.
This Ryder Cup, in many ways, has highlighted this truth. In the tech-driven world of golf, it is the intangible skills – a sense of oneness, friendship, trust and oneness – that reigned supreme at Whistling Straits. – Luke Kerr-Dineen
A walk before the Ryder Cup
Later the class would be noisy. Michael Jordan, his fleshy hands above his head, clapping. Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm’s shopping cart, chewing. A flat golf cart, packing ice, the driver trying to get past a group of otherwise engaged people: “Behind you; behind you, please; Right behind you. “
But at the start of one night – before the first gunshot was touched with anger, the sun catching on and showing itself – the Whistling Strait was empty and still. You could walk the course, right in the middle, in this calm before the storm. You can imagine what it would be like to be them. The course – the inside nine – as the players see it. Not from a drone, TV camera or distance book, but from their own feet. The course in their head.
The narrow, mowed path, edged with rough on each side, starting from the 10th tee. The nasty bunker on the right side of 11, a par-5 monster, a pit-here-and-pay for the wayward second hits where the birdie odds will die. The stormy, wavy green of the 12th par-3, mimicking the ocean behind it. It’s an ocean, isn’t it?
The tee shot on 13. Aim left. A slice disc in a slice wind could land in the ocean. The underground toilets under the 14th tee. Real doors, real running water, real lights. Last best chance from here to home. Companies tent out of 15 who pay the bills. NBC Sports, Kohler Co., Johnsonville Qualtrics. Baird, whatever. Milwaukee Tool, American Bank. American family insurance. Ferguson. Not Doug – not the AP golf writer.
Junipers on 16, in play. Lost ball waiting to arrive – I feel like I’m at an Open. A giant dashboard near the 17th tee which will later follow the march towards 14.5. Nothing to nothing, for the moment.
Up to 18. From the tee area at the fairway to the downhill path. Across a bridge and a stream, up a hill, to the green, the clubhouse behind. Grandstands on the right. Empty, but only for now, in this midwestern glaciation. Come Friday, come Saturday, come Sunday, they’ll be packed. The Ryder Cup, The Ryder Cup, The Ryder Cup. The fort is coming.
Good call, waiting for the year. The reason we are here. – Michael Bamberger
‘You have a lot in front of you’
We saw a lot of European tears last week. Infinitely more than what we saw among Americans in 2018. A conversation about this difference can last 30 seconds or even 30 minutes.
Lee Westwood’s career as a Ryder Cup player is all but over, and it’s sad. Ian Poulter could be too. Paul Casey’s too, maybe. He is 44 years old, and despite his teammates assuring him that he will be there in two years, there is no data. Unless your name is Jon Rahm or Viktor Hovland.
It was fun to sit, stand and walk in Hovland’s orbit after their tie against Collin Morikawa on Sunday afternoon. It was one of those games that will be lost forever in the fescue at Whistling Straits, and likely won’t have a shred of meaning for Morikawa. But it could mean a lot for Hovland, 24.
The Norwegian was too scorching to cry on Sunday afternoon, but when the idea of future European teams germinated at a press conference, captain Padraig Harrington listed just two players. Hovland and Rahm. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 27, sat in the front row, chin to chest, still winless in his Cup career. This omission has been erased, and it may have been accidental, but it still happened.
A much longer list of people rushed for Hovland in the closing hours of this Cup. Sergio Garcia came first, just behind the 18th green. Then Bernd Wiesberger. Then Casey, with some tips on how to feel in those times: “You always think you can do more. You always want to give more.
After fighting for four hours, Morikawa’s caddy, JJ Jakovac, put his hand on Hovland’s shoulder and spoke loud enough for everyone to hear: “This guy drives him like Jesus Christ himself. “
He does it a bit.
An endless stream of caddies, wives, physiotherapists and swing trainers reached Hovland at one point on Sunday night. Everyone is proud of him, of course. He played five games, but won none. He smoked about it a little later. As he reached the top of the steps near the clubhouse, however, the most important hug was still waiting. “I’m so proud,” Harrington said softly in Hovland’s ear. “You have a lot of them in front of you. ” – Sean Zak
The U.S. Ryder Cup team delivered, as did Wisconsin
Ryder Cup Week has an odd pace: it unfolds slowly, then slowly, then suddenly fast, with a landslide of matches from Friday dawn to Saturday dusk. For those of us on the spot, that means early in the morning and late at night, plus the fact that our coverage of a given session – say, Friday afternoon games – is quickly replaced by the next action on the course. (Those of you who read are encouraged to start tuning your little violins.) Figuring out how to divide the time between the class (reporting!) And the media center (typing and speed!) Is a constant challenge.
The quietest part of the week was Sunday morning, when the first departure was at 11 a.m. hospital. The Midwest! Sean Zak and I certainly haven’t matched the 10-mile jog offered by Michael Bamberger, but still – every move counts, especially when the media center has unlimited M&M cookie sandwiches. On Sunday morning, we had to take photos on the hoop in the front yard of our A-frame log cabin. And that meant a dip in Lake Michigan, freezing temperature of 59 degrees, a welcome shock to the system. Then it was off to see the Americans do their thing.
When I think back to the coverage of golf tournaments, my mind goes through the events themselves, but inevitably fixes on the setting itself and the experience of being there. How was Airbnb? Eclectic and wonderful. How did the trip go? Apart from the Friday morning traffic jam, soothing and gentle. How was the business? They are reading this, so I am forced to give a further description.
In total, rural and lakeside Wisconsin delivered a large quantity. Whistling Straits delivered a big prize. And when it comes to a good start to the day, a morning jump into the lake is undefeated. – Dylan Dethier