Tuesday, September 30

Golf Digest: '9 Reasons the U.S. Lost the Ryder Cup'


Read Golf Digest's "9 Reasons the U.S. Lost the Ryder Cup." 

The slideshow includes an explanation of all nine points and thumbnails of the action at Gleneagles.

Here's a preview of the magazine's reasons:

1. The U.S. was short on firepower.

2. They stunk it up in foursomes.

3. They couldn't hold leads.

4. The depth of the European roster shined.

5. Tom Watson's questionable decision-making.

6. The loss was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

7. The captain's picks came too early.

8. The veterans didn't deliver.

9. Those sweaters!

PGA Tour Radio: PGA's Ted Bishop Reacts to Phil Mickelson

INTERESTING COMMENTS FROM PGA of America President Ted Bishop on Matt Adam's show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio.

Bishop and Mickelson had a conversation in July at the Scottish Open about the Ryder Cup and what works. What happened next? Well, listen in.

Monday, September 29

'DRAW IN THE DUNES' Featured at RyderCup.com by PGA of America

1969 Ryder Cup materials: official program (left), a daily draw sheet (right) and more. (Paul Trevillion)
THANK YOU TO BOB DENNEY and the PGA of America for publishing an article about my new book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World. The story published on Sunday at RyderCup.com, the official Ryder Cup site of the PGA of America. Denney is a senior writer and historian for the PGA of America. He and colleague Kelly Elbin (Director of Communications) were especially helpful as I worked on this project over the last few years.

In "'Draw in the Dunes' reflects on 1969 Ryder Cup drama," Denney writes:
Neil Sagebiel is someone who inspects golf events like a buyer strolling a used car lot. Kicking the tires is not enough. Lift the hood and you will likely find more than you anticipated. For Sagebiel, "Draw in the Dunes" was a "shopping" expedition as he inspected a fascinating Ryder Cup. 
Author of "The Longest Shot" (2012, Thomas Dunne Books), the account of the historic 1955 U.S. Open victory by PGA Professional Jack Fleck, Sagebiel has found his stride again. The 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, was more than an enduring symbol of sportsmanship between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. There was more to it than that.

The A Position (Tom Harack):
"You don't have to read Draw in the Dunes while this year's Ryder Cup is in progress, but the contrast between the rough-and-tumble 1969 version and this year's elaborately produced extravaganza is gob-smacking. The unsanitized approach makes the book, at 320 pages, an engaging combination of golf and sociology you won't get watching every minute of this weekend’s wire-to-wire television coverage." Read entire review

The Irish Golf Blog (Kevin Markham):
"[Draw in the Dunes sets] an intriguing backdrop to the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale. We also get the story of Nicklaus and Jacklin and their rise to prominence. Each was about to embark on their first Ryder Cup quest, and each left an indelible mark on the event, both in 1969 and long after that....It really was a different age but that ferocious competitiveness comes through loud and clear, and Sagebiel captures every minute of it, through his story telling and through interviews with many of the event's players." Read entire review

Back9Network (Adam Fonseca):
"In his new book 'Draw in the Dunes,' author and golf blogger Neil Sagebiel provides a stunning recollection of the 1969 matches between the heavily-favored U.S. squad and the under-appreciated Great Britain and Ireland squad. With names of Nicklaus, Palmer, and even Back9 Ambassador Tony Jacklin taking part, that year’s Ryder Cup was primed to be memorable right from the start....Sagebiel’s attention to detail and extensive research not only rounds out a superb recollection of the 1969 Ryder Cup, but the reader is also given an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at some of history’s greatest players." Read entire review

For more reviews and coverage, please see the sidebar at right.

If you haven't picked up a copy of DRAW IN THE DUNES for yourself or someone else, I hope you will.

European Dominance and Culture of Blame

EUROPE HAS WON YET ANOTHER RYDER CUP. The final score was Europe 16 1/2, United States 11 1/2. The Europeans have now won three in a row, six of seven and eight of 10.

"No team embodies togetherness quite like Europe," wrote Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press.

So very true.

Judging from the press conference afterward, Ferguson could also have written no team embodies blame and bitterness quite like the United States. It was personified by none other than Phil Mickelson.

I will not defend the captaincy of Tom Watson. He may be out of date. He may not have been very communicative in this modern sports era of collaborative coaching. He did it his autocratic way, and he and his team came away from Gleneagles with a loss. The blame is now raining down on Watson like a Scottish storm.

But this U.S. team, with Watson at the helm, has something in common with 10 other American squads since 1985. A defeat. One could say that it hasn't made much difference who the captain is for the Americans. The result has been the same.

The one fairly recent exception was 2008, when U.S. captain Paul Azinger introduced the pod system and the United States won at Valhalla. Mickelson would have us believe that Azinger was the difference, that the pod system was a stroke of genius. Maybe so. But also this: maybe the Europeans didn't play quite as well that year. And, of course, the Ryder Cup was in Louisville, Kentucky.

Which matters more: the players or the captains?

Maybe the answer is not clear cut, but I go back to the Ferguson quote: "No team embodies togetherness quite like Europe."

Whether for Captain McGinley or Captain Montgomerie or [insert name], the Europeans are great players who play for each other and overcome adversity. They fight back in matches to get a half point when all seems lost. They love to win for their countries and their continent. Perhaps more than anything, they absolutely love to beat America.

By and large, in recent years, I have not seen that same resolve and fire from the American players. Is that entirely Watson's and the other U.S. captains' fault?

American skipper Davis Love III was absolutely brilliant heading into Sunday at Medinah in 2012. Ahead 10-6, the Americans were on their way to victory. And then they lost, an epic collapse.

Was that Love's fault, as Mickelson inferred yesterday? Is it all about pods?

No team embodies togetherness quite like Europe. No team embodies blame quite like the United States. This is one takeaway from the 2014 Ryder Cup.

This also could be why Team USA will continue to lose until there's a change of attitude. Regardless of the captain, it seems abundantly clear that the U.S. team needs to perform better under Ryder Cup pressure if it's going to beat the Europeans.

I suggest this to American players: You don't like your captain's philosophy or management style? Understood. Go out and win your point anyway. You are playing for pride. You are playing for your teammates. You are playing for your country.

And when it's over, whether you win or lose, don't gloat and don't blame.

Saturday, September 27

2014 Ryder Cup: Europe Builds Commanding Lead

IT'S ALL OVER BUT THE SINGLES, and it's probably all over. The United States trails Europe 10-6 after a dismal Saturday afternoon foursomes session.

The Americans were only able to win a half point in four matches. Europe, winner of five of the last six Ryder Cups, has a nearly insurmountable lead going into the final day on their home soil at Gleneagles, Scotland.

"I have to give credit to the Europeans in the afternoons," U.S. captain Tom Watson said. "They performed the best."

Then Watson tried to sound a positive note.

"You might think that it's a given that the Europeans are going to win, but I sure as hell don't."

The European team only needs 4 of 12 points in Sunday's singles matches to retain the Ryder Cup.

Sunday Singles

Match 1: Graeme McDowell (EUR) vs. Jordan Spieth (USA)

Match 2: Henrik Stenson (EUR) vs. Patrick Reed (USA)

Match 3: Rory McIlroy (EUR) vs. Rickie Fowler (USA)

Match 4: Justin Rose (EUR) vs. Hunter Mahan (USA)

Match 5: Stephen Gallacher (EUR) vs. Phil Mickelson (USA)

Match 6: Martin Kaymer (EUR) vs. Bubba Watson (USA)

Match 7: Thomas Bjorn (EUR) vs Matt Kuchar (USA)

Match 8: Sergio Garcia (EUR) vs. Jim Furyk (USA)

Match 9: Ian Poulter (EUR) vs. Webb Simpson (USA)

Match 10: Jamie Donaldson (EUR) vs. Keegan Bradley (USA)

Match 11: Lee Westwood (EUR) vs. Jimmy Walker (USA)

Match 12: Victor Dubuisson (EUR) vs. Zach Johnson (USA)

My Author Interview on NPR's Only A Game

I HAD A GREAT OPPORTUNITY to talk to Bill Littlefield, host of NPR's Only A Game. The show aired today (Saturday).

The appearance included a web page that has a Q&A and excerpt from my book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked The World.

Here's the introduction by Only A Game:
The 2014 Ryder Cup is under way at Gleneagles in Scotland. The biennial competition pits golfers from the U.S. against their European counterparts. The Ryder Cup is one of golf’s signature events and has provided fans with various unlikely shots and improbable comebacks.

Neil Sagebiel would argue that no edition of the competition has been more dramatic than the 1969 Ryder Cup, the first to end in a tie. His new book is titled DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish that Shocked the World.
Read more at Only A Game:
Interview highlights
DRAW IN THE DUNES excerpt (from Chapter 9)

WSJ: Ryder Cup Formats Explained in 90 Seconds

WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 2014 Ryder Cup and I expect you probably know this stuff inside and out. But I wanted to post this Wall Street Journal video with Joshua Robinson nonetheless because it's a clever and concise explanation of the Ryder Cup match-play formats.

2014 Ryder Cup: USA Creeps Closer

IN A STIRRING SATURDAY MORNING FOURBALL session at Gleneagles, the United States won 2 1/2 of 4 points to cut into the European lead established on Day 1 of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

The Americans had no answer for the European buzz saw known as Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar played boldly but were unable to keep up with the Euro birdie machine.

"When you get into that mindset," Rose said, "and you just see the ball going in the hole and you sort of get those positive vibes. Today was a day it all happened for me. We knew we were up against it today with two great players. Matt and Bubba played really well."

U.S. rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed continued their winning ways, and Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan disposed of their European opponents.

The final fourball game pitting Yanks Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler against Euros Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter went to the final hole and ended as a halved match.

Saturday afternoon foursomes are under way. Below are the matchups.

Saturday Afternoon Foursomes

Match 1: Johnson/Kuchar (USA) vs. Donaldson/Westwood (EUR)

Match 2: Furyk/Mahan (USA) vs. Garcia/McIlroy (EUR)

Match 3: Spieth/Reed (USA) vs. Rose/Kaymer (EUR)

Match 4: Walker/Fowler (USA) vs. Dubuisson/McDowell (EUR)

Friday, September 26

2014 Ryder Cup: Europe Takes Lead

AFTER A MORNING FOURBALL SESSION during which the United States slipped ahead thanks to some late heroics, Europe came back with a vengeance in the afternoon to take the overall lead at the end of Day 1 of the Ryder Cup.

It's Europe 5, United States 3. The Americans have their work cut out for them, needing 11 1/2 points to win the Cup. Europe needs 9 points to retain a Ryder Cup trophy they've held for most of the last two decades.

Led by Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson who won both their Friday matches, Europe nearly shut out the United States in foursomes, taking 3 1/2 of the 4 points.

European captain Paul McGinley said: "We've seen in the Ryder Cups over the years how important momentum switches are and how it can really have a domino effect. So when the surge came from America at the end of the session this morning, for our guys to react as well as they did in all four matches, shows real strength of character."

U.S. captain Tom Watson said his team was disappointed about the afternoon matches but went on to express faith in his twelve men.

"These guys are all great players," Watson said. "They can get it done."

That effort will begin early Saturday morning at Gleneagles.

Saturday Morning Fourballs

2:35 AM ET, Match 1: Watson/Kuchar (USA) vs. Rose/Stenson (EUR)

2:50 AM ET, Match 2: Furyk/Mahan (USA) vs. Donaldson/Westwood (EUR)

3:05 AM ET, Match 3: Reed/Spieth (USA) vs. Bjorn/Kaymer (EUR)

3:20 AM ET, Match 4: Walker/Fowler (USA) vs. McIlroy/Poulter (EUR)

2014 Ryder Cup: USA Has Early Edge

I WOKE UP AT 4 A.M. and clicked on the television to watch the opening fourball session at Gleneagles. The weather was cool and windy, and the play wasn't too spectacular, but I guess that was to be expected with difficult conditions and Ryder Cup pressure.

It didn't look good early for the Americans, down in three of the four matches. The one exception was the Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed dismantling of Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter.

Some late rallies lifted the United States to a one-point advantage after morning fourballs, 2 1/2 to 1 1/2.

Jimmy Walker made a clutch putt on the 18th green to secure a half point from what had looked like a losing effort. And Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson stole a point from Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in the final game of the morning.

U.S. captain Tom Watson was obviously pleased.

Friday Afternoon Foursomes

Here are the afternoon foursomes matches in progress:

Jamie Donaldson & Lee Westwood (Europe) vs. Jim Furyk & Matt Kuchar (USA)
Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson (Europe) vs. Hunter Mahan & Zach Johnson (USA)
Rory McIlroy & Sergio Garcia (Europe) vs. Rickie Fowler & Jimmy Walker (USA)
Victor Dubuisson & Graeme McDowell (Europe) vs. Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley (USA)

Europe is currently up in two matches. The other two matches are all square.

Thursday, September 25

Win 'DRAW IN THE DUNES' Autographed by Jack Nicklaus

TONIGHT, ON RYDER CUP EVE, Jack Nicklaus announced a giveaway of my new book, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World. The book includes a foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin.

Here's the message posted on Jack Nicklaus's Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram:
Time to get your patriotic on! With The Ryder Cup at Nicklaus-designed Gleneagles upon us, we want to give you a chance to win a signed copy of “Draw in the Dunes,” the just-released book on the 1969 Ryder Cup, featuring a foreword co-authored by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin—the two key stars of the historic match that ended in the first-ever tie in Cup history. Use #rydercupselfie throughout this weekend’s matches to show us how you’re watching The Ryder Cup! We’ll pick a spirited, patriotic winner Sunday.
Of course, I can put in a good word for this book. And it will look even better with the Golden Bear's signature.

See more here:
Jack Nicklaus Facebook
Jack Nicklaus Twitter

Brian Keogh on Two Captains, Two Styles

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.

TOM WATSON WEARILY, PERHAPS EVEN TETCHILY, completed his third press conference in as many days and remained behind in the near empty interview to eat a sandwich. He sat alone in the same seat from where he’d just batted away questions he didn’t want to answer, barely recovered from the jet lag that left him looking every second of his 65 years the previous day.

“I was bushed yesterday, but I’m fine now,” he said. But he didn’t appear to be enjoying what the Ryder Cup has become since he captained the last US side to win on European soil in 1993.

“The only thing different here is the media responsibilities I've had, the extra time that I've had to spend with the media,” Watson said.

He didn’t say it like a man who was enjoying that aspect of the job but as his opposite number Paul McGinley has pointed out, Watson is a hard man. And he clearly can’t wait to get it on, as they say in boxing circles.

The Ryder Cup is at its best when the hype is cranked up to fever pitch and the needle is out. Little wonder then that Watson feigned not to understand the question when asked if bringing two US veterans—amputees from the Wounded Warriors—into his team room on Tuesday as a gesture aimed at “dialling down the intensity of this Ryder Cup.”

“I don't know,” Watson said vaguely. “I can't answer that question. I honestly don't know. I don't know how to respond to that.”

Just a few hours later it became patently clear that Watson very much wants to dial up the intensity as Phil Mickelson, his face plastered with a big smile, stuck the needle deep into Rory McIlroy.

Mickelson is Watson’s right hand man, his leader in the team room and it is unlikely that he would goad Europe’s top player without a nod from the top. Not that it was anything more than some typical Mickelson banter that will be taken as such by McIlroy.

“He talks smack,” Watson had said of Mickelson’s role. “He talks the way you're supposed to be talking in the locker room.”

When Watson said in the early build up that the US was targeting Ian Poulter and McIlroy, he was only telling half the truth. McIlroy is clearly the man he wants to shoot down and he admitted as much to this writer and one other colleague in a casual chat as he finished his sandwich.

“He’s the guy, he’s the one we want to take down.”

McIlroy, as far as Watson is concerned, is the man they must stop and Mickelson is just letting him know that he's around.

“You look at ’83 when Zoeller played Seve first up (in the Sunday singles). He came back from four four to claim a half with Seve. That made a huge difference to our team. It changed the dynamic. It was a big momentum swing and we fed off that.”

Captain McGinley

On the face of it, Watson is being played off the park by Paul McGinley, who spoke for twice as long and twice as happily about Alex Ferguson’s Tuesday night pep talk with the European players, caddies and vice-captains.

He spoke with wonder of McIlroy’s ball-striking and the prodigious distances he hits the ball, admitting, “The way he hits the ball… That release is just fantastic. In the last few years my distance has just nosedived. I can’t get it out there now.”

Nothing happens by pure chance in the Ryder Cup captaincy stakes and while Watson would appear to he thinking on the hoof, McGinley has been hatching his plan for months. His vice-captain, Des Smyth, was impressed by the amount of effort that Alex Ferguson put into his chat with the players.

“He said, ‘Hi Des, how are things.’ I didn’t even know he knew my name because we only met once very briefly many years ago. But he knew everybody by their first name. He told loads of football stories, stories about Cristiano and how he liked to stay after training to do some extra work with the ball. And one day it was a really mucky horrible day and Ferguson told Cristiano he didn’t have to go out. But he went anyway, on the astroturf.”

McGinley later revealed that he’d been talking regularly to Ferguson for 19 months and the wily old Scot did not give an off the cuff chat but a bespoke and highly prepared presentation specific to what McGinley wants to achieve.

“There are a number of similarities with how Man United play,” McGinley said. “That’s why I sought Alex Ferguson out. I can’t tell you too much about what he said but he was very much on message with what we have been talking about for the last 19 months.”

Performing as favourites is only part of the equation and Ferguson made sure he knew exactly the way each player ticked before putting together his chat.

“It’s very specific,” McGInley said.

“This wasn’t just him coming in out of nowhere. He was on message from our communication over the last 19 months. It wasn’t something that happened at the last minute. He’s been absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t a case of him telling me what to do. He asked me questions. I said, here are my messages, I want you to relate those stories as they applied to the players you managed.

“It’s all about continuity. It’s like what I am going with the graphics, what I am doing with the videos. Everything has continuity. It is not haphazard. It is about attitude of mind related to football. Every one of our guys loves football.”

The dakr art of captaincy has many facets. Whether it's by design or instinct, Watson and McGinley never stop.

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

(VIDEO) 2014 Ryder Cup: Friday Morning Fourball Matches

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson and European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley announce their Friday morning lineups in the above video.

2:35 AM ET, Match 1: Watson/Simpson (USA) vs. Rose/Stenson (EUR)

2:50 AM ET, Match 2: Fowler/Walker (USA) vs. Bjorn/Kaymer (EUR)

3:05 AM ET, Match 3: Spieth/Reed (USA) vs. Gallacher/Poulter (EUR)

3:20 AM ET, Match 4: Bradley/Mickelson (USA) vs. Garcia/McIlroy (EUR)

If you watched the video ... good gracious! The hype meter will shatter at any moment. Let's get these matches started.

GolfSmarter Podcast: A Hurricane and My Book

A MAN AND HIS WIFE GO on a vacation to Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. Among other relaxing activities, the man plans to lay on the beach and read a book and play some golf.

That all changed when Hurricane Odile paid a visit to the Mexican paradise. We're talking a category four hurricane with winds of 135 miles per hour. See and hear about the couple's terrifying ordeal in the above video.

The man is Fred Greene, host of the very popular GolfSmarter podcast. The book he was reading in Cabo San Lucas was my new one, DRAW IN THE DUNES: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

Fred and his wife arrived home safely last weekend. In his most recent GolfSmarter podcast (Episode #455), Fred talks about their harrowing time during and after the hurricane, and we also discuss my book about the 1969 Ryder Cup.

Listen here: GolfSmarter podcast with Neil Sagebiel (approximately 30 minutes)

Also consider the Members Only version, which is more than 70 minutes with no edits. (Plus you can listen to all the members-only GolfSmarter podcasts.) Sign up

Wednesday, September 24

U.S. Captain Watson's Day 1 Pairings Take Shape

AS REX HOGGARD REPORTED AT GOLFCHANNEL.COM, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson appears to have decided on his foursomes pairings for Day 1 of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Three practice rounds have revealed a familiar pattern. On Wednesday, Hoggard noted, "Watson sent virtually the same foursomes out ... as the first two days."

Phil Mickelson will again pair with Keegan Bradley. The two were a successful duo at Medinah in 2012.

"I'm going to play again with Keegan. I don't think I'm letting go of any secrets here," Lefty said.

How are the rest of the pairings shaping up? It looks like this:

Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker
Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar
Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson
Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan
Jim Furyk and Patrick Reed

"[The pairings] have somewhat evolved," Watson said. "We are not set in stone."

The U.S captain said after the start he'll be "captaining by the seat of [his] pants."

2014 Ryder Cup Odds

SELECT 2014 RYDER CUP ODDS from Bovada. Rickie Fowler, the man with USA etched on his head, is getting a lot of respect. Europe is the favorite. No surprise there.

Europe             2/3
USA                 3/2
Tie                    11/1

To Lift The Trophy      
Europe             5/9
USA                 8/5

Top American 
Rickie Fowler                6/1
Phil Mickelson               6/1
Matt Kuchar                  8/1
Jim Furyk                      8/1
Keegan Bradley             8/1
Jordan Spieth               8/1
Bubba Watson              10/1
Hunter Mahan                10/1
Webb Simpson             12/1
Zach Johnson               14/1
Jimmy Walker               16/1
Patrick Reed                 25/1

Top European 
Rory McIlroy                 7/2
Sergio Garcia                6/1
Ian Poulter                    6/1
Justin Rose                   7/1
Henrik  Stenson             8/1
Graeme McDowell         10/1
Martin Kaymer               10/1
Lee Westwood              12/1
Thomas Bjørn                16/1
Victor Dubuisson          20/1
Jamie Donaldson          20/1
Stephen Gallacher         25/1

Top Points Scorer                   
Rory McIlroy                 7/1
Sergio Garcia                10/1
Ian Poulter                    10/1
Justin Rose                   11/1
Rickie Fowler                12/1
Phil Mickelson               12/1
Henrik  Stenson             14/1
Graeme McDowell         16/1
Martin Kaymer               16/1
Matt Kuchar                  18/1
Jim Furyk                      18/1
Keegan Bradley             18/1
Jordan Spieth               18/1
Lee Westwood              20/1
Bubba Watson              22/1
Hunter Mahan                22/1
Webb Simpson             25/1
Zach Johnson               28/1
Thomas Bjørn                28/1
Jamie Donaldson          28/1
Victor Dubuisson          33/1
Stephen Gallacher         33/1
Jimmy Walker               40/1
Patrick Reed                 50/1     

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