Day 1 at the 2012 Ryder Cup

Aussie Golfer’s man on the ground at the 2012 Ryder Cup gives us a little taste of what’s to come with some shots around Medinah Country Club on Day 1.

The opening day of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club favoured the US Team who go into the second day holding a two point advantage. All this despite the amazing effort from Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts who was simply outstanding on his debut.
Aussie Golfer correspondent Nick Sinclair gives us his wrap of the opening day along with a few photos including one that captured a very famous Chicago Bulls player in attendance. No, it’s not who you’re thinking.

Bubba Watson warms up in front of Medinah’s majestic mosque-like clubhouse
Something or someone lit a fire under Bubba Watson and playing partner Webb Simpson this afternoon. Maybe it was Davis Love III omitting them from the morning foursomes  lineup (quite a luxury to be able to bench the defending Masters and US Open champs!). Or perhaps it was the cheeky European supporter on the first tee who yelled “Bubba, your sister wants her driver back!”.  
In any case Watson was so pumped about his first Ryder Cup match on home soil that he and Simpson’s caddie stole a page from Happy Gilmore and implored the ‘gallery’ to make as much noise as possible while he bombed his drive down number 1 (a somewhat ironic spectacle for a guy with a reputation for hearing shutter-clicks two fairways over!). Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie probably wish they had conceeded right then and there; they promptly dropped 6 of the first 8 holes before going down 5&4  – a final score which flattered them.
Despite many American ‘fireworks’ during a boisterous afternoon fourball session, the story of Day 1 was probably Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium who handed Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker their second defeat of the day with an afternoon scoring clinic that included 8 birdies and an eagle. His playing partner – an Englishman named Lee Westwood – might have offered more support just carrying drinks around, as this win (which gave Europe a crucial 3rd point) was all Colsaerts.  
The exclamation mark came on the par three 17th. With Tiger’s tee shot sitting 4 feet from the hole,  Chicago’s passionate sports fans were poised to erupt at the imminent prospect of Woods squaring the match with a second straight birdie, which would have left open the possibility of a 4-0 USA sweep of the session.  Instead Colsaerts calmly dropped a 30 footer for birdie, and Medinah suddenly went very quiet.
The 15th at Medinah will be crucial in deciding many matches over the weekend.
Look for plenty of roars over the weekend from the dramatic 15th and 17th holes (photos attached), where many matches are likely to end. That’s just as well for spectators because both holes are natural amphitheatres offering great sight lines for thousands of fans. The Ryder Cup is an incredible and unique event which I think all golfers should stick on their bucket lists.  
But the PGA of America’s decision to sell more than 40,000 tickets at Medinah (perhaps making up for lost revenue at Kiawah Island, where attendance for this year’s US PGA Championship was capped at 25,000?) means the course is just a bit crowded.  Especially with no more than 4 matches on course at any one time during the first two days!
Scottie Pippin was spotted on course during the opening day. Obviously pushing for an assistant’s role at the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *