Tuesday, September 23

Brian Keogh on Ryder Cup Tuesday

"Seve lives with us," said European team member Thomas Bjorn. (Courtesy of Brian Keogh)

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

RYDER CUP TUESDAY BROUGHT THE FIRST full day of serious practice and 14 media centre interviews that threw up the usual questions about Europe's "template", targeting "big dogs", Rickie Fowler's haircut and exactly how shy/odd is Victor Dubuisson.

As far as news go, we had confirmation from Paul McGinley that Alex Ferguson was to give the European team a motivational talk on Tuesday night and the real reason why Graeme McDowell might not be paired with Rory McIlroy—he's simply not comfortable in the new dynamic that's been created since his former stablemate became a dominant, major winning juggernaut.

As far as the on-course stuff went, Europe went out in threes with Miguel Angel Jimenez accompanying Henrik Stenson, Dubuisson and McDowell; Sam Torrance with McIlroy, Sergio Garica and Martin Kaymer; Des Smyth with Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Stephen Gallacher and Jose Maria Olazabal with Jamie Donaldson, Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood. Pádraig Harrington appeared to roam with Paul McGinley, indicating that he may continue in that role with the other four assistants remaining with their threesomes, unless McGinley changes plans.

Bjorn Salutes Seve

Thomas Bjorn on the Seve quote (above) that can be seen from the first tee:

"Seve lives with us. He lives with The Ryder Cup more than anything, but he lives with us as a team. He's a huge inspiration to this team and he always will be... He will live with us forever... I'll still look back at it as some of the best days of my life to get close to a man that was that great for this game."

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Ryder Cup Guardians Sing 'Eyes of the Poulter'

YES, IT'S RYDER CUP WEEK, which, among other things, means to expect anything. I think the Guardians of the Ryder Cup (above) fall into the expect-anything category.

The Guardians of the Ryder Cup have a new collection of songs to rally the European side. And also some interesting outfits.

INFOGRAPHIC: 2014 Ryder Cup Facts and Need to Know

Note about this graphic: The first Great Britain win was in 1929 not 1933.

Ryder Cup Facts And Stats Infographic

Monday, September 22

VIDEO: My Book Party and Reading

I WISH YOU COULD HAVE COME to my DRAW IN THE DUNES book party last Thursday evening in Floyd, Virginia, my one-stoplight town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. What I can do is share a small part of it here.

About 50 folks turned out, including two friends who drove four hours (round trip) for a two-hour party. That's friendship! We had a great time.

Colleen Redman covered it for the Floyd Press, and she also shot the above video. You can read more and see party photos at Colleen's blog.

A huge thank to noteBooks and Black Water Loft (and Red Rooster Coffee) for hosting my book party. They were incredible in every way, with a creative golf theme for the evening, from the slide show, to the food (cupcakes combined to look like a golf course as just one example), to the prizes, to the giving back (10 percent of proceeds from book sales is going to the Floyd County High School golf team).

We sold all the books! I was told more are on order.

SKY SPORTS Serving Up Record Ryder Cup Coverage

From Sky Sports PR. For my golf friends on the eastern side of the pond.

SKY SPORTS will offer more Ryder Cup coverage than ever before, including a dedicated channel broadcasting over 300 hours of programming.

Sky Sports 4 has become ‘Sky Sports Ryder Cup’ for two weeks around The Ryder Cup. In addition to exclusively live coverage of all three days’ play, the Sky Sports Ryder Cup channel will offer round-the-clock golf programming including the opening ceremony, build-up shows, documentaries, player interviews, plus highlights and analysis of the day’s matches and a preview of the following day’s between 7pm and 10pm Friday to Sunday.

The channel is part of unparalleled coverage across TV, mobile and online which also includes Sky Sports News HQ, apps, skysports.com and the On Demand service, giving fans even more Ryder Cup content, wherever they are.

Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: “The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in sport and we’re offering our viewers coverage to match. Our dedicated channel will tell the complete story; fascinating features, comprehensive build up, and of course live coverage of all three days. We can’t wait.”

The schedule of coverage across all platforms includes:

RYDER CUP LIVE: Coverage of the entire Ryder Cup from Gleneagles including the opening ceremony on Thursday which is also live on Sky 2, all three days’ play and the trophy presentation on the 18th green on Sunday evening across TV, online and mobile via Sky Go.

DOCUMENTARIES: Ian Poulter discusses his 2012 winning putt in Ian Poulter: Europe’s Postman, available on On Demand, Sky Sports and Sky 1. Other shows include USA captain Tom Watson in Lessons of a LifetimeSporting Greats: Seve Ballesteros, and Paul McGinley – Europe’s Captain.

SKY SPORTS NEWS HQ: Round-the-clock coverage live from Gleneagles including breaking news, live press conferences and player and Sky Sports talent interviews. Kirsty Gallacher will anchor coverage from Monday and James Haddock and Charles Patterson report.

VIDEO ON DEMAND: Official films, countdowns and Ryder Cup programming, daily highlights, player interviews and analysis, team previews, course guides and documentaries.

DIGITAL: For the first time, Sky Sports will screen the Exhibition Match live on YouTube. Sky Sports website and apps will offer build-up, a live blog, near-live video clips, player tracker, and a companion player via the iPad app, plus extended highlights and a round up programme.

Live coverage will be presented by David Livingstone, who will be joined in the studio overlooking the first tee by Darren Clarke, who has appeared in seven Ryder Cups either as player or vice-captain, winning European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and coach to US Ryder Cup stars Butch Harmon. 

Providing commentary will be Royal Television Society award winners Ewen Murray and Bruce Critchley as well as Rob Lee and Mark Roe.  On-course reporting comes from Howard Clark, who played in six European Ryder Cup teams between 1977 and 1995, Richard Boxall and Tim Barter, and highlights programming will be presented by Sarah Stirk who will be joined each day in the studio by Andrew Coltart and Nick Dougherty to review the key moments in the previous’ days matches. 

The full schedule on Sky Sports Ryder Cup channel (channel 405) is as follows:

Monday 22nd
17:00-18:00                       Ryder Cup Countdown: 4 Days to Go
18:00-19:00                       Ian Poulter: Europe’s Postman
19:00-21:00                       How The Ryder Cup Was Won 1995
23:00-02:00                     How The Ryder Cup Was Won 1997

Tuesday 23r
03:00-05:30                     How The Ryder Cup Was Won 1999
06:00-06:30                    Sporting Greats – Seve Ballesteros
13:00-16:00                       How The Ryder Cup Was Won 2002
17:00-18:00                       Ryder Cup Countdown: 3 Days to Go
18:00-18:30                       Paul McGinley – Europe’s Captain
19:00-21:00                       How The Ryder Cup Was Won 2002
22:00-00:00                    History of The Ryder Cup

Wednesday 24th
01:30-04:30                      How The Ryder Cup Was Won 2006
11:00-12:30                        Official Film 2008
13:00-14:30                       Official Film 2010
15:30-17:00                        Official Film 2012
17:00-19:00                       Live Ryder Cup Countdown: 2 Days to Go
19:00-21:00                       The Miracle of Medinah
22:30-23:00                     The Ryder Cup – Scotland Prepares

Thursday 25th
11:30-14:30                         Live Ryder Cup Celebrity Challenge
14:30-17:30                        Live Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony

Friday 26th
05:30-06:00                    Sporting Rivalries – The Ryder Cup
06:00-07:00                    Sporting Heroes – Paul McGinley
07:00-13:00                      Live Fourballs matches
13:00-19:00                       Live Foursomes matches
19:00-19:30                       Day 1 The Verdict
19:30-21:30                        Day 1 Highlights
21:30-22:00                      Day 2 Predictions

Saturday 27th
06:00-06:30                    Sporting Rivalries – The Big Three
07:00-13:00                     Live Fourballs matches
13:00-19:00                       Live Foursomes matches
19:00-19:30                       Day 2 The Verdict
19:30-21:30                        Day 2 Review
21:30-22:00                      Day 3 Prediction
22:00-23:00                     Ryder Cup Concert

Sunday 28th
10:00-19:00                       Live Singles matches
22:00-22:30                     Day 3 Review

Monday 29th
09:00-18:00                     Singles matches Repeat
20:00-22:00                     How The Ryder Cup Was Won 2014

Tuesday 30th
07:00-13:00                      Day 1 Fourballs matches Repeat
13:00-19:00                       Day 1 Foursomes matches Repeat
19:00-01:00                       Day 2 Fourballs matches Repeat

Wednesday 1st October
07:00-13:00                      Day 2 Foursomes matches Repeat
13:00-22:00                      Singles matches Repeat                            

Saturday, September 20

Golfweek Review, Matt Adams PGA Tour Radio Interview and More

Yours truly at book party on Thursday.
SHARING MORE OF THE MEDIA on my new book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

"I'm really, really enjoying your book, not only for the fact that it chronicles and details what happened in 1969 at that Ryder Cup, but because you provided context and history in essence for ... how we got to there. Very, very well done. I'm very much enjoying the read."
—Matt Adams, host of Fairways of Life on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, during September 18 interview with author

Click link to listen> Interview with Matt Adams, Fairways of Life, SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio

When you click the above link, you'll see Tom Watson. Then scroll at right to my interview (Neil Sagebiel, Golf Author) with Matt.

Golfweek review (September 20):
"In 'Draw in the Dunes,' Neil Sagebiel has authored a faithful account of a match of which only 3 minutes of TV footage exists. By speaking to many of the ’69 Cup participants, Sagebiel has breathed fresh life into the rich story of a competition that had been reduced to that one charitable act." Read entire review

Click link to listen> Interview with Gene Marrano of WFIR News Talk Radio 

Play by Play story (September 22 issue):
"For the non-golf fan, 'Draw in the Dunes' may require a learning curve to read, but the Floyd author does a good job of explaining the Ryder Cup format and the sport's lingo. Then he builds drama throughout 'Draw' as it heads towards The Concession." Read entire article

Friday, September 19

Media Conference Call: Miller, Feherty, Nobilo Preview 2014 Ryder Cup

TODAY NBC SPORTS GROUP HOSTED a media conference call to preview the 2014 Ryder Cup. Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo, Golf Channel host David Feherty and NBC/Golf Channel lead analyst Johnny Miller were on the phone sharing their thoughts about the upcoming matches at Gleneagles.

Following are comments I pulled from the transcript.

JOHNNY MILLER: I obviously have to act like I don't necessarily care who wins between the two sides, but I do care. I'd like to see the U.S. finally get a win. Obviously that would be super important. I'm just really pumped to go over there. That's all I've been thinking about.

FRANK NOBILO: It looks like we're going to have another doozy. That's the way it looks from my point of view.

DAVID FEHERTY: Well, it's the greatest event in golf for me. I don't think there's any more stress in any other event because players are used to playing their own ball for their own needs, and all of a sudden you've got 11 guys and a captain and your entire country or continent, as it turns out in Europe.

NOBILO: ... They've [the Europeans] always been the perennial underdog, and even though on paper this year they might look slightly superior, I think the old Winston Churchill attitude comes in, I think they'd like to be underdogs, even if they're not, because they play better that way. There's such a fine line between trying to lose and trying to win, and I think that's always been the difference for the European side. When you have your back against the wall, you just fight, and that's what I think has always made them so dangerous, and they would never be complacent.

MILLER: I just think that all the world when they get a chance to beat the United States, it's a big deal. I'm not trying to sound pompous there, but I just think it's so much fun for Europe to beat the U.S., and it used to be Europe wanted to beat the U.S. but they were scared to death of the players, and then when Europe joined in with Seve and the boys, I just think that they, again, loved to beat the U.S. When they started beating them, they just wanted to beat them right into the ground.

FEHERTY: I think that it's going to be a lot closer than perhaps many people think. If you look at the U.S. Team, only one of their players has a winning record. Only four of the European team have a losing record. But it's been a contest that over the years where the underdog, the team with nothing to lose, if you like, has played so well on occasions that it wouldn't surprise me if this young team of Americans gets really inspired and is really hard to beat.

MILLER: My slant on it is that Europe is definitely more of a family and they love the Ryder Cup matches. They just cannot wait. I mean, the press starts talking about the Ryder Cup the week after the Ryder Cup, and it's two years away. It's just a love fest. It's a team love fest. I think the U.S. -- they like each other and they get to know each other better, but I think it's more of a gotta-win type of -- it's not so much that I love to put my thumb out there and hit it with a hammer.

Does Team USA Have a Prayer?

IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THE U.S. Ryder Cup team hasn't won on European soil since 1993. Those matches were played at The Belfry in England, and the man who sank the clinching putt, Davis Love III, is making his Champions Tour debut this week in Hawaii. The U.S. captain was Tom Watson. The final score was United States 16 1/2, Europe 11 1/2.

Winning five of six and seven of nine, it has been all Europe since then. America has won the Ryder Cup just once in the 21st century. That lone victory was at Valhalla in 2008, with Paul Azinger at the helm.

I now have some golf friends across the pond who are unabashed European team supporters. They don't hold back, telling me in no uncertain terms to expect another European victory.

One friend asked me if I was coming to the Ryder Cup. When I told him no, he said, "Personally, I believe it would have been a wasted visit. The USA will definitely come in second...and in a two-horse race that's no consolation!"

I exchanged tweets with another friend.

Me: Asked a friend how he thought the 2014 Ryder Cup stacked up. "The US is going to get killed!" he said. Is he right? #RyderCup

Him: Yes, sorry Neil, he's right

Me: On other hand, no one has ever won the #RyderCup on paper. Being underdogs should help the U.S., maybe free them up a bit.

Him: Maybe indeed but we will soon know the outcome

Asked for my pick in a recent interview, I said, "I know they're underdogs, but I'm going to pick the United States. I think they need to win one, and that would be good for the Ryder Cup after a period of European dominance."

Perhaps it's only wishful thinking.