Celtic Manor quieted after baby face rookies Fowler, McIlroy go in opposite directions at Ryder Cup
NEWPORT, WALES – Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course was largely quiet after the modified session of six foursomes Saturday. What appeared to be a certain 5-5 tie going into the third session, the Americans somehow snuck out with an improbable 6-4 lead.
It’s thanks in part to Ricky Fowler proving to be the King Baby Face at Celtic Manor. He hit crucial putts down the stretch, including a 3-foot birdie putt on 18, to salvage an improbable half point in a match he and partner Jim Furyk never led.
His rival baby face Rory McIlroy went the wrong way for Europe. After watching Stewart Cink shock the galleries on 17 with a 20-foot birdie putt, McIlroy rushed lining up his six-footer and missed it. Worse, on 18, he fidgeted over his wedge from 98 yards and found the bunker, sealing he and McDowell’s fate.
In what I’ve seen out of Rory so far, he’s got a lot of nervous energy, and hasn’t been able to harness it down the stretch. He found water twice this morning on the 18th, which is proving to be his nemesis thus far at his first Ryder Cup.
The crowds are massive at Celtic Manor, sure, but they’re largely quieted right now. That’s aside from the first tee, where there is a pretty raucous bunch seeing off the afternoon groups. Other than that, the occasional pockets of Americans are chanting on their players with a beer in hand. It’s hard to believe anything will match Boo Weekley’s bull dance ride off the first tee at Valhalla in 2008, but a lot of golf is still to be played. I nominate Luke Donald to do something zany, perhaps a back flip or break dance off the first tee, to get Europe back on track. It may be their only hope.
There’s a lot to be happy about for the U.S., as they’ve stolen some big points in the closing holes in each session thus far. For the many European fans, who have the Americans largely outnumbered, they can’t blame the weather anymore for being quiet, though I suppose it is tough to get too rowdy when you think the mud under your feet might give out at any second.
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