Ryder Cup 2008: Day 1 -- Foursomes, Fourball, and J.B. Holmes

Friday was the first day of Foursomes and Four-ball, the part of the Ryder Cup Matches that the USA usually gets way behind in.  I have no idea why this is so, bu historically, the USA has struggled mightily in team play and when they have won, they have done so, by making a comeback in the singles matches.

For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of golf, how it works is this:  In Foursomes, each team of two plays one ball, and the shots are alternated -- i.e. player one hits a drive, and player 2 for the same team hits the second shot, and so on through the green.  Yesterday, the USA was up 3-1 after the Foursomes, with two wins (one point each) and two, "halves," (where the teams end up tied after #18, which gives each team 1/2 point apiece.

In the Four-ball matches, each player plays his own ball and the lowest score is what counts for each team.  In yesterday's Four-ball, the USA once again rose to the challenge with two wins, a loss and a half.  That places the USA ahead after the first day, 5 1/2 to 2 /12, for the first time in six Ryder Cup meetings -- twelve years.

I was fortunate enough to watch all the players at one time or another, as our tendency was to pick a hole and watch all the teams cruise by.  The crowd was electric and huge, and this was only the first day.  I saw a few familiar faces there, including Matt Jones (to whom I introduced myself, but I'm pretty sure he didn't know that I write at A Sea of Blue).

Now, about J.B. Holmes.  I didn't get to see him that much yesterday, but I did during the Four-ball on #16 tee, where I watched him smash a 350+ yard drive into the fairway.  Now, folks, I have been a golfer since I was ten.  I played on my high school golf team and narrowly missed qualifying for the Kentucky State Amateur a couple of times.  I am an above-average golfer, and know what good golf looks like.  But watching someone smash the ball 350 yards in a professional golf tournament is something that I was unprepared for. No wind-aid, no hit-on-the-downhill ground effect adding 50 yards -- he simply flew the ball for 330+ yards and got maybe 20 yards of roll.

Holmes hit the ball so incredibly high, it simply vanished -- I don't think anyone could have seen it.  It wound up 50+ yards ahead of the three other players, and these guys hit great drives.  It was a margin so gaudy and unlikely that it was shocking, utterly gobsmacking to me.  I think a lot of fans just failed to appreciate the magnitude of a drive like that.  I myself have hit 300+ yard drives, but we are talking 310 at the most after a downhill roll or a 20 MPH following wind.  This was a 330+ yard carry in dead-still wind.  Amazing.

Some observations:

  • Phil Mickelson is much bigger in person than in TV.  Tight-end big.
  • Nothing can prepare you for the violence of J.B. Holmes swing.  As short as it is, the power he generates is impossible to describe or see on TV.
  • Sergio Garcia looks the same in person as he does on TV.
  • José-María Olazábal, the many-time Ryder Cupper, assistant European captain and frequent partner of Sergio García, is much, much smaller in person.  Tiny little guy.
  • The European fans break out into Olé! Olé! far too often, and at weird times.
  • Valhalla is a fantastic venue for the Ryder Cup, and the American fans have been spectacularly well-behaved.  It may get worse as we get closer to the end, as it often does, but so far, I have been pleasantly surprised given what we have seen at other Ryders.
  • Nick Faldo is a very active, very motivated captain.  Azinger is extremely involved, but less frenetic.  Interesting contrast, given Faldo's extremely stoic mein during his PGA career.
  • The Europeans have been very subdued, almost grim.  Given how loose they have been at previous Ryder Cup's it is a strange and unexpected contrast.
  • What great weather we have had.  Maybe worse today, but it should be good tomorrow.
  • Hearing the remote crowd roars in person is an experience everyone should have.  They are extremely exciting.
  • Mickelson made maybe 4 or 5 20+ foot puts.  America really had the flat stick working, and it was a 180-degree reversal from what we have seen the last six or seven Ryder Cups.

I'll be leaving a bit later today, I needed a few morning hours to recover from yesterday.  Walking around a golf course for 12 hours in the sun is draining, and at my age, I have to pace myself.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker