Ryder Cup: the Rain Saves the Americans on Day One

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2010

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 01:   Phil Mickelson of the USA rides on a buggy during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

If a man had walked up to you yesterday afternoon and told you that a downpour at Celtic Manor would actually save the American Ryder Cup team on Friday, you would have looked at him as if they were Colin Montgomerie announcing his captain’s picks

It doesn’t take a meteorologist to tell you that players growing up in England, Ireland, Scotland, etc...have far more experience playing in the rain than most Americans do.

However, on Friday morning the American Ryder Cup team was indeed saved by the rain in that it was raining so hard play was suspended for the first time at a Ryder Cup since 1997.

And for the Americans, the suspension couldn’t have come at a better time.  They were loosing three out of four matches in the driving rain.

To make matters worse…if you can believe it…the American’s rain gear didn’t work quite as well as they had expected.   

The supposedly waterproof coats and pants the American players were wearing were anything but. The American’s rain gear was so ineffective that they might as well have been wearing wool sweaters.

Water seeped through their “rain coats” and soaked everything they were wearing underneath, which anyone who has ever had to endure cold, damp, and altogether miserable European weather will know is not a very comfortable feeling.

But that was only part of the problem.

Their golf bags didn’t keep the water out either.  

Water began seeping through the American players’ bags drenching everything inside, including extra gloves, towels, and most importantly, the grips on their golf clubs.

Ever try swinging a golf club with a slick, water-logged grip? Now add in the most pressure packed situation in all of golf and that was what the American players were attempting to deal with early on Friday morning.  

Tiger Woods’ caddie Steve Williams told a member of the media that he put a dry towel in Woods’ PGA of America issued Ryder Cup bag and less than two holes later he needed to wring it out.

Luckily for the Americans, the weather got so bad that the course became unplayable and the matches were halted for close to seven hours.

By the time play had resumed, the PGA of America had made a trip to the merchandise tent and purchased 20 pairs of Ryder Cup souvenir rain gear and a DRY American squad began winning a few holes.  

Yes, the PGA of America did indeed walk into the merchandise tent on the grounds and purchased 20 pairs of rain gear at $350 a pop. You can’t make this stuff up.

By the time play was called due to darkness, this was how things stood:

-  Stewart Cink/Matt Kuchar were two up through 11 holes over Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlory.

-  Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton were one up through eight holes over Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.

-  Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were all square through 10 holes against Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.

Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson were one down through 12 holes against Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

All in all, the Americans were winning two matches, all square in one, and narrowly trailing in another by the end of the day.

The rain descended upon Celtic Manor on Friday morning and not only saved the Americans from what would have more than likely been a horrific defeat in the fourball matches, but also saved Corey Pavin from what would have undoubtedly gone down as one of the biggest wardrobe blunders in golf history.

If the Americans win at least two of the four fourball matches when play resumes on Saturday morning, all will be forgotten as it pertains to the rain gear…even if the American team did show up to Wales in October with defective rain gear, which is about one step better than showing up to the matches without their golf clubs.  


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