…well, kind of. Le Golf National is technically in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, but some sites are having their writers file from Paris in the byline. Close enough! It’s like 30 miles away. We’re closer to Versailles, but anyway, hello, I’m back…for the week. It feels so strange yet so familiar because apparently the only thing I’ve really missed is Tiger Woods being good again. Great news for all-around!
Pardon my jetlag but I’ve been in four different time zones in a week, so I have no idea what day and/or time it is. Oh, add sleep, too. I mean, look, I’m whining already! I miss being on sabbatical already! Kidding.
There’s a lot to take in at every Ryder Cup, but I would have felt way more lost had I not taken a scouting trip to Le Golf National last December.
My God, I’ve been at the course for nine hours (and had the same conversation 35 times), and I’m like, is it Friday yet? Can we get these matches going already? Which is 1) weird, I know; but 2) funny to me because I usually LOVE the practice days, like more than the tournament rounds.
The Ryder Cup is a different beast, though, and I guess I’ve done this about a handful of times now and it’s not that it gets old; it’s just the matches are SO DAMN AWESOME (not only lives up to hype, but exceeds it) that I want the action to start already. I know you all feel the same. We have way less access to the players than a regular or major stroke-play event, though.
But seriously, I’m already tired of making “educated guesses” about who will play with whom. You know? Besides, on the U.S. side, it seems pretty predictable if the practice-round pairings tell us anything.
*Tiger Woods/Bryson DeChambeau/Phil Mickelson/Patrick Reed
*Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth
*Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau/Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson
*Patrick Reed/Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
*Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson
*Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka
I mean, it’s not that hard to make some basic deductions and I have a feeling Captain Jim Furyk isn’t playing 3-D chess.
I don’t know about Tuesday, but from the few holes I saw, Tiger and Reed sure looked like two guys practicing as if they were going to be partners. Like on the 16th:
I hope Furyk sends Tiger and Reed out first on Friday. Speaking of which, the grandstands on the first hole…
The grandstands encompassing the first tee fit nearly 7,000 people! (Please see Insta-story for 360-degree video.) Holy shit, it’s gonna be wild Friday morning — one of my favorite moments in golf, watching the first matches kick off. The atmosphere on the first tee is unmatchable, and they sing witty songs in Europe! Can’t wait to see what the fans come up with this year.
The one where everyone is pumped Tiger Woods is a winner again for the first time in five years. Hip,hip, hooray. Love the chilled-out, friendlier Tiger. Save a few holes today, I haven’t seen him play in person since last December in the Bahamas, but he looked solid back then, so it appears he’s just built from that and carried the momentum throughout the year or something like that.
*Tommy Fleetwood, referring to his tweet Sunday:
“I might have got carried away in the moment a little bit, but I think it’s up there, definitely.
“Honestly, on Sunday, I think you just literally had to get lost in that moment that was happening. I was stood on the balcony, I got to watch Rosey 2-putt and win the FedExCup; couldn’t be happier for that man, and then watched Tiger win on his comeback. In the space of that ten minutes, it was just such a great time in golf, and I really thought it was amazing.
“Yeah, you know, you’re watching something very, very special. That was Sunday. This week’s this week. I think it makes no difference to us at all. Tiger’s been playing great for awhile, and I don’t think — it wasn’t a shock to anybody that he won, so it’s not like he came out of the blue and all of a sudden, Tiger’s won and we’re worrying about that.”
*Rory’s like, yeah, whatever, I was there:
“This week, he’s one of 12. We’re not looking at any individuals. We’re just trying to beat the U.S. Team. It’s great what he did on Sunday. It was great for golf. It brings a lot of excitement to the game. I think to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him this week at any point this week because I mightn’t be on the course with him or play against him.
I don’t really want to speculate how he’s going to play or what he’s going to do. I think it’s great for the U.S. Team that he’s in the mix, and it’s great that it’s given their team a little bit of momentum coming over here. You know, we’re looking to beat the U.S. Team. We’re not looking to just beat Tiger Woods.”
One thing I really love about Webb Simpson is how honest he is about how human he is as a golfer. A while ago, he revealed that he shanks the ball on a somewhat regular basis in practice and we’ve seen that several times over the years in competition. Well, remember his first tee shot at Gleneagles? Yeah, the pop-up. I was there. It still makes me cringe and laugh at the the same time. Probably more the latter now after Webb reflected on that gaffe.
You know better than most how challenging hitting the opening tee shot of a Ryder Cup is. Can you tell us, first of all, your memories of that day at Gleneagles, and if you were given the opportunity again, would you relish a chance to hit the first one again?
Are you referring to the pop-up?
Okay. So the backstory, why it’s even funnier to me, it was funny to everybody, but that was a shot I had in my bag all year. It was like the fifth time I had done it. I was losing my concentration a little bit and I teed it up a little too high, and I had done it a few other times that year, usually it goes straight down, that one went straight and hit the fairway.
But yeah, we’re more nervous here than any other tournament, and it’s not the fans. It’s a good thing. You want to play well for your teammates, for your captain, for the assistant captains and your partner, and so it’s a good kind of pressure.
But you know, everybody that made both teams can deal with pressure. But yeah, the first tee, that environment is fun, and a little more — probably a little more nervous there than the second hole or third hole, and that’s why you might see me teeing off on the evens.
One weird Bubba thing: He decided to wear a glove to his presser Wednesday. Why? Because he’s Bubba.
Bubba on why he’s wearing a bright blue glove for his pressers… pic.twitter.com/NEn1t2syw2
— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) September 26, 2018
And then Spieth was like 🤷🏼♂️
Jordan Spieth on Bubba’s glove 🤷🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/6ak3AT0aPI
— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) September 26, 2018
OK, au revoir!