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September 30, 2010

2010 Ryder Cup Live Blog With Farrell Evans: Friday Morning Fourball Matches

Posted at 3:50 PM by Live Blogger | Categories: Live Blogging, Ryder Cup

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2:06 The matches will be broadcast live on ESPN on Saturday at 3am eastern. Golf.com will be there live, blogging on-site. So long.

2:02 It's approaching sundown in Wales and the matches, most of them at the turn, are all close. Neither side will have a big lead after the first session ends. It could be all square. 

Westwood/Kaymer 1 up thru 12 over Mickelson/Johnson

Cink/Kuchar 2 up thru 11 over McIlroy/McDowell

Stricker/Woods   All Square with Poulter/Fisher

Watson/Overton 1 up thru 8 over Donald/Harrington

1:58 All I'm saying—and I do like Tiger and I'm very fond of his coach—is that this is the wrong time to be tinkering with your swing. Of course this isn't as serious, but would you want to test a rifle you've never fired on the first day of a war.

1:55 Reader Big Dan has a good question: "Second session is six foursomes; third session is two foursomes, four fourballs; final session still 12 singles." And if it rains tomorrow, then what?

Big Dan, I don't think they have a clue what happens if it rains. This is an effort to try to finish the thing on time.

1:51  Rory McIlroy is not playing up to the hype. He's struggling. Cink and Kuchar have taken a 2 up lead. McIlroy reminds me of Garcia in his first Ryder Cup, but without a mature mentor like Jose Maria Olazabal on his side.

1:45 Six foursomes.  With so many players on the golf course it's going to intense but slow as hell. But the breeze will come in the afternoon with two foursomes. I think Sunday is going to be very exciting with all 24 guys hopefully sharp.

1:42 Donald and Harrington made their first birdie of the day at the 8th hole to go to 1 down in their match against Watson and Overton, who have cooled down a bit since they started the day with two birdies.

1:40   The U.S. team has a 1 point lead overall. Mickelson has made three straight birdies so his game looks to be coming around. And according to the PGA, due to the rain delay, all 12 players from each team will play tomorrow and Sunday. Second session is six foursomes; third session is two foursomes, four fourballs; final session still 12 singles.

1:31 Cink makes another bomb to help his team take a 1 up lead in their match. That's four birdies in 10 holes.

1:27 Stricker and Woods are all square with Poulter and Fisher through the 8th hole, after Stricker made a bomb. 

1:25 To Reader Steve Barry: What's the likelihood of Tiger playing good golf if he's not sure where the ball is going because he's not sure where the club is going to be during the swing?

1;20  Captain's pick Stewart Cink has made about a 100-feet of putts today and has kept his team in the match. Pavin has to feel good about that. The word is still out on Mr.Woods. 

1:17 The McDowell/MIlroy has drawn all square with Kuchar and Cink.  Mickelson had a birdie at the 10th to get his team just  1 down against Westwood and Kaymer. 

1:11 Mickelson has a good chance for a birdie at the par 3 10th. Conditions aren't tough for scoring. Preferred lines in the fairway. No wind and it's soft, but there aren't a lot of birdies out there. The course is holding well. 


Kaymer/Westwood lead Johnson/Mickelson, 2 up thru 8

Fisher/Pulter lead Stricker/Woods, 1 up thru 6

 Cink/Kuchar lead McDowell/McIlroy, Even thru 9

Overton/Watson lead Donald Harrington, 2 up thru 5

1:00  Zinger is wondering out loud why Tiger would change to somebody else's swing or why he would start it prior to the Ryder Cup. 

12:54 At the Par 5 9th from 257 out of the fairway, Dustin Johnson hit his approach pin high. His drive was some 310 yards on the 587-yard hole.

12:50 The course looks beautiful in the late afternoon. It reminds me of many of the European Tour courses, which are big and full of water--resort courses. 

12:47 Watching Tiger go through his feel swings at the 6th, he looks real mechanical. And the results showed. He had 152 to the pin and he didn't like his carry to the front pin position. The ball landed on the front of the green and spun off the front. I wish he had come to Wales to just play golf. In this situation you gotta forget everything you know about the golf swing and just try to hit shots.

12:42 It's going to be a day and half before Furyk and Fowler get on the golf course. That's if Pavin picks them for the afternoon matches. Furyk is a Ryder Cup veteran. But the wait might make Fowler anxious. And he's already a fast player with a fast golf swing.

12:40  Zinger called Mickelson the greatest bunker player that he had ever seen. Then he watches Left hit an indifferent bunker shot and calls it "horrible."  Great stuff. He went on to criticize Phil for taking the pin out for the shot when his partner was off the green. But Phil being Phil, drains the 10-footer coming back to save par.

12:36  Cink and Kuchar have gone 1 up in their match with McIlroy and McDowell. So things have drawn even with each team leading two matches.  

12:27 Last night everybody was talking about what a dumb choice Pavin made by putting two rookies out together, but the pair of Overton and Bubba are holding their own. If Bubba had not done a little decel on the tap-in birdie try at the fourth they might have gone three up through four.

12:24 Dustin Johnson got his team back to 2 down with a birdie at the 7th.

12:21 From my colleague Mark Godich: "Phil is doing nothing. Pavin should sit him in the foursome if he doesn't show signs of life."  What does everybody think?

12:15 Neither Mickelson or Johnson have made a birdie today. But Johnson has a good chance at the 7th after hitting one close to the par 3.  Playing after him, Mickelson hit a hosel draw into a bunker. Looks like DJ will have to keep them in the match.

12:10 Westwood and Kaymer are three up over Justin and Mickelson thru 6 holes. Mickelson  is playing horrible. 

12:08 I'm only going to say this once, but I hate the basketball warmup suits that the U.S. team was wearing in the morning. It looks like they have dumped them this afternoon.  

12:05 Cink just made a bomb at the fifth hole to draw that match level with McIlroy and McDowell.

12:03 The rough on the Twenty Ten course is U.S. Open thick and with the soggy conditions the course is playing really long, especially on the front nine, which measures almost 4,000 yards.

12:00 noon  There is about an hour and a half or so of daylight left in Newport, Wales. After a rain delay that has lasted most of the day. Here is how the four matches stand as the players get back on the golf course.  The U.S. is down in three of the four matches. But it's early.

Mickelson/Johnson are 2 down thru 5 over Kaymer and Westwood; Stewart Cink/Kuchar are 1 down thru 4 over McIlroy and McDowell; Woods and Stricker are 1 down thru 3 to Poulter and Fisher; and the rookies  Bubba Watson and Jay Overton are 2 up thru 2 over Harrington and Donald.

11:13 a.m. This just in from Wales: Play is set to resume at noon Eastern.

10:52 a.m. I wonder how much thought the PGA of America and the European Tour put into the location. I know it's golf and you play with the elements, but perhaps the governing bodies should consider the NFL's policy of taking the Super Bowl to warm weather climates or to indoor stadiums. While I mull over that idea with my boys here in Golf.com central, I'm going to take a break from the blog. So long until there is some golf to talk about.

10:44 a.m. Good morning. I had a feeling that this was going to happen after my conversation this week with Celtic Manor's owner Sir Terry Matthews, who told me he was keeping his fingers crossed about the weather, promising that the "microclimates" would ensure some nice days.

10:30 a.m. Something to keep in mind this weekend: Tiger is NOT a mudder. Doesn't like the cold, the rain, any of it. Anyway, that's it's for me. Thanks for reading. Over to SI's Farrell Evans... 

10:25 a.m.
The 2012 Ryder Cup goes to Medinah. Chicago in October -- need we worry about the possibility of snow?

10:22 a.m.
"Paul Casey went biking in B.C. and all I got was this leaky rain suit." Nice line, Scott. Poor ol' Casey -- dude got robbed.

10:20 a.m.
Anyone know what time The View starts?

10:18 a.m.
Shoshana, I haven't heard why they've decided to call play Monday evening (should it come to that). Best guess is that there isn't a clear day in the forecast until May.

10:14 a.m.
Streams of water are pouring down the fairways. The place looks like a water park. Forget rain gear. When this thing resumes, the players might need SCUBA gear.

10:08 a.m.
Reader Tom Hughes has been relentless with his contest submissions. His best effort: The Cup Runneth Over (into Monday). Keep at it, Tommy...

10:04 a.m.
ESPN has cut to SportsCenter. That ain't good.

10:02 a.m.
Word is, if they don't get this thing done by Monday, they'll call all matches still on the course a draw, then figure out the winner from there. That would be tragic. I'd rather see them take it the locker room and determine a winner via an Xbox round-robin.

9:59 a.m.
Seems you can't escape Tiger Woods -- on the course or off. The Euros, according to Poulter, are parked in a TV in the locker room playing ... yep, Tiger Woods's EA Sports video game. Well, at least their minds are still on the opposition.

9:52 a.m.
It's starting to feel like Groundhog Day. Since I've been watching, ESPN has show three replays of the live telecast.

9:46 a.m.
My favorite line of the week thus far came from CBS Sports golf writer Steve Elling, who quipped that by week’s end some of the American rookies might be wearing red, white and … brown. Of course if Watson and Overton keep up their clutch play, Elling will be eating those words.

9:40 a.m.
Matt from Indy fires back with: "Wales Watching (from the clubhouse)." Hmm, promising start, but a convoluted finish.

9:38 a.m.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have an early favorite in the Live Blog contest: reader Chris Swanson, who suggests "The Rudder Cup," or in honor of our captain, "The Rudder-less Cup."


9:35 a.m.
SI's Gary Van Sickle, who's at the Manor: "I'll be very surprised if play resumes today."

9:32 a.m.
Asking Sergio Garcia to be an assistant captain was a nice gesture by Capt. Monty—a cruel one, too. It’s like asking John Blutarsky to serve beers but not drink them. Still, after a dismal season, Garcia seems to be doing and saying all the right things this week. “I was only 19 when I played the Ryder Cup for the first time and I can tell you it was huge,” he said earlier this week. “I remember how some members of the team helped me out and I am going to do the same thing with the rookies. I will be there to support them and make them feel at ease.” You have to wonder, though, does Sergio himself feel at ease? He must be burning to play.

9:28 a.m.
Sullivan defends Tiger & Co.'s moaning about the rain gear: "It may sound like whining but it’s a good point. They may be the best golfers in the world, but they depend on that familiarity under pressure. The last thing any of us non-pros should do is try something different under pressure. Recipe for disaster!"

9:25 a.m.
Reader Jeff McDermott submits an entry to the Live Blog contest, suggesting this year's Cup should be coined "20,000 Leagues Under Twenty Ten." It doesn't exactly flow off the tongue, but good news, Jeff: You're the only contestant, thus far.

9:20 a.m.
Sullivan on Dustin Johnson, who may are expecting to have a big week: "He had a tough season in the majors – a soul-crushing collapse at the U.S. Open and the bunker fiasco at the PGA. Yet he has a great chance of becoming clutch because of the was he took responsibility for what happened. When he was interviewed a day or so after being penalized two strokes for grounding his club in the trap, he took responsibility for how he got there. 'I should have never hit my driver.' That’s so key: taking responsibility for your actions, whether in pressure situations in golf or at work, is what distinguishes people who choke from people who are clutch. Johnson’s one to watch during this cup."

9:17 a.m.
Reilly also reports that Tiger was chirping in the locker room about so-called Gore-tex-gate. He says Tiger was making the case that each of the player's individual sponsors should provide gear for their respective players. That way, the guys won't be forced to use foreign gear during the biggest event of the year. 

Ah, the travails Tour pros suffer...

9:13 a.m.
Rick Reilly reports that the U.S. team's golf bags are also leaking! "That's awful," Zinger says.

9:10 a.m.
Stewart Cink to ESPN on the stoppage of play: "All it is is a delay. It's doesn't change anything. This is something professionals are used to." He also noted that just about any rain gear wouldn't hold up in this weather.

9:06 a.m.
Sullivan: "They’re the best players in the world. But the Ryder Cup is something completely different for all of them. It’s like playing golf in a football stadium. How often do they hear those kind of roars? They choke, in many cases, because stop adhering to a routine. That may sound overly simple, but it’s a rigid routine that keeps them focused. And focus is the first key trait of being clutch under pressure."

9:03 a.m.
There's tumbleweed blowing through our comments section, so I'll get Sullivan started. Paul, nerves were clearly in play on the first tee this morning. A shaky-handed Ian Poulter had a hard time getting his ball on the tee. What's the deal? These guys are used to playing in front of massive crowds, and guys like Poulter have been on the Ryder Cup stage before. What gives?

9:01 a.m.
Still no word from officials.

8:54 a.m.
The pageantry of the Ryder Cup is good fun, but it’s the stomach-wrenching pressure that makes this event so compelling. To help explore that dynamic a little bit further, I’m pleased to introduce Paul Sullivan, author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure. Sullivan doesn’t cover golf—he’s a business columnist for the New York Times—but after researching his new book he knows a thing or two about how and why intense stress makes some of even the most seasoned professionals (in business, politics, golf, you name it) crumble like pita chips. “Everyone chokes all the time out here,” PGA Tour pro Mat Goggin told Sullivan. “The guy who chokes the least wins.” Goggin was talking about the Tour, but the same principle applies at the Ryder Cup. Ten-fold. Sullivan will be aboard the Live Blog Express for the next hour or so, so check back for his insights. Or leave a question for him below. 

8:50 a.m.
We should have an update from Ryder Cup officials within the next 10 minutes.

8:46 a.m.
In yesterday’s Irish Independent, Karl MacGinty took a hard look at Pavin and suggested that he has lost much of the fire that made Pavin such an effective player and more specifically a great Ryder Cupper.

...It's the job of Pavin this week to ensure he and his team do or say nothing whatsoever to antagonize the crowd or make their task any more difficult than it already is.

How sad that the overwhelming need for political correctness has crushed Pavin, one of golf's most passionate and intriguing characters, into a cardboard effigy of himself.

Man, Karl, tell us what you really think. He has a point though. The captain appears remarkably subdued this week.

8:41 a.m.
LIVE BLOG CONTEST TIME! The 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah famously became known as the War by the Shore. What, then, shall we dub this year's edition? The Washout in Wales? Best suggestion wins a ... wait for it ... wait for it ... a Golf Magazine hat!

8:36 a.m.
SI's Godich comes to Pavin's defense: "When you're ordering rainsuits for the Ryder Cup team, the last thing the captain should have to ask the manufacturer is: Does this stuff, um, leak?

Yeah, but couldn't Goydos or someone have been all over that? I mean, they were heading to Wales not Scottsdale.

8:32 a.m.
John Paramor, the head rules official, tells ESPN that he's hopeful play will resume, best case, by 3 p.m. That's 90 minutes from now. "We do know that when it does stop, it will stop [for the remainder of the day]," Parmor said, at which point he'll have more "concrete answers." Oh, brother...

8:29 a.m.
Pavin to ESPN just moments ago: "The biggest issue is the bunkers. They need to get them in order to make them playable." Pavin also confirmed that his squad did indeed buy some new rain wear from the merch tent.  

8:25 a.m.
What a week for Wales. The little country that could finally gets its moment on the world stage and -- bam! -- down come Biblical rains. Safe bet the Wales tourism folks are drowning their sorrows at the moment, if the rain hasn't already done that for them.

8:20 a.m.
T-minus 40 minutes until the next announcement.

8:18 a.m.
My pick for this year's Ryder Cup stallion: Graeme McDowell. Not only is he your U.S. Open champion but he also had a monster week at Valhalla two years ago. And you can bet the bad weather won't bother him.

8:14 a.m.
What's the more embarrassing captain's blunder: (1) ordering crappy rain gear, or (2) exposing your pairings to a nosy photographer? Discuss.

8:11 a.m.
By the way, Poulter's ever-active Twitter feed has gone silent since he posted that pic of a slumbering Paddy. Hmm...

8:08 a.m.
Chances of continued, steady rain, according to ESPN: better than 50 percent until 5 p.m. Wales time. Chances of Padraig Harrington (see below) waking up before then: 30-40 percent.

8:05 a.m.
It's official: new rain gear has been purchased for the U.S. team. No word yet on whether they will also wear plastic bags over their shoes.

8:02 a.m.
Pavin spoke to ESPN about the blazing start of his rookies, Overton and Watson : "They're just soaking it all in." Literally, thanks to their rain suits. Joking aside, stellar start. CBS Sports golf writer Steve Elling quipped that by the American rooks might be wearing red, white and … brown. Maybe not. 

7:55 a.m.
Which could at some point make for an interesting ruling...

7:54 a.m.
How wet is it? Apparently the fairways are covered in worms, which have emerged in droves from the soggy turf. 

7:48 a.m.
The captains' combined Ryder Cup records: 28-14-7. Yeah, they're qualified.

7:44 a.m.
Look for fatigue, both physical and emotional, to play a role this week. Most of the Americans are coming of an intense run of FedEx tournaments, which concluded with the Tour Championship in Atlanta just five days ago (Luke Donald was the only Euro Cupper to play in that event). Pavin hasn’t gone particularly easy on his guys either. On Tuesday morning, under a heavy downpour, Pavin had his squad out walking the course, while the Europeans kicked back by the fireplace in the sumptuous locker room (or whatever it is they do to relax).

7:38 a.m.
Key bit players this week: the caddies. Don't envy their jobs.

7:36 a.m.
SI senior editor Mark Godich notes that Bubba followed Overton's birdie by stuffing one tight at the second. Says Godich: "These guys have to be chomping at the bit to get back out there."

True, but you wonder if the delay hasn't given them time to realize that they have no business being 2 up.

7:32 a.m.
Curtis Strange says he had a "long talk" yesterday with Tiger about his swing changes, then proceeds to offer nary a single detail. "He's working on some good stuff," Strange says. Searing insight. 

7:30 a.m.
How about Jeff Overton dropping a 30-footer for birdie from the fringe at the first? Dude was fired up, too, letting out a throaty "Yes!" after his putt disappeared. Love to see that kind of fire this early in the proceedings.

7:27 a.m. EST
Occurs to me I'm stilling working on Wales time here, which explains that jet lag I'm feeling. Switching over to EST...


12:23 p.m.
If there's ever been a year to sit out the Ryder Cup and play the Viking Classic (talking to you, Boo Weekley and Henrik Stenson), this is that year. Conditions in Wales: dreadful. Conditions in Mississippi: sublime.

12:18 p.m.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Post them below. Please!

12:17 p.m.
Andy North of ESPN had his own take on the layout, telling pga.com: “I was shocked when I saw the setup. There are spots beyond 300 yards where it’s wide open. I don’t think Corey (Pavin) would have set it up any different.” Perhaps not, but carrying the ball 300-plus in these conditions is no small chore. Never underestimate Monty, not at this event. 

12:14 p.m.
Zinger described the thick stuff at Celtic Manor as "U.S. Open rough on steroids." In the early-going, it showed, with some players struggling to advance their balls more than 40 or 50 yards.   

12:08 p.m.
Couple of other tasty nuggets on Poult's Twitter page, like this one from Thursday: "Joke of the day ... Westwood set Mcginleys iPhone alarm to go off at 16.42 half way thru Montys speech. u should have seen the panic. Hilarious."

That Twitter ban is making more and more sense.

12:04 p.m.
Hold on, some good news! A Ryder Cup official just told ESPN that the front might well blow through in the next couple of hours and could actually give way to some sunshine. I'll believe it when I see it.

12:02 p.m.
Padraig Harrington is clearly a bundle of nerves as he waits out the rain delay (care of Ian Poulter's Twitter account)...


11:59 a.m. An announcement is now scheduled for 1 p.m.
Wales time. It's unlikely to be good news.

11:57 a.m.
Our man-on-the-ground Mike Walker is braving the elements in Wales: "Just got back from walk outside and weather is still terrible. The queue to get into the merchandise tent stretches almost halfway around the tent, and I saw lots of sad people sitting at wet tables under umbrellas."

Wonder if Pavin was one of them?

11:53 a.m. Twenty Ten is a killer name for a golf course: hip, memorable. But I fear for its shelf life. Would you be in a hurry to play a track called Nineteen Seventy Three?

11:48 a.m.
Azinger on the rain gear snafu: "It's the easiest thing to get right." Man, of all Corey Pavin's concerns going into this week, he couldn't have been sweating having to answer questions about his slickers. Should be a fun press conference.

11:43 a.m.
There were some 30,000 people at the Ryder Cup kick-off celebration in Newport last night. Zinger says at his first Ryder Cup there were ... 500. Another sign of the Ryder Cup's hugeness: it's now the third most-watched sporting event behind the World Cup and the Olympics. Sorry, Super Bowl.

11:39 a.m.
By the way, alert your boss that those TPS reports may have to wait until Tuesday: with all the nasty stuff in the forecast, this thing could well finish on Monday.

11:37 a.m.
Butch Harmon, on Sky Sports, predicted a Phil Mickelson-Zach Johnson pairing in this afternoon's alternate shot matches. Makes sense. What's less fathomable is that they'll actually get to those matches.  

11:33 a.m.
Wow, watching the replay of Tiger's first hole. After three shots on the par 4, he was still 30 yards short of the green. Paul Azinger, calling the action for ESPN, said Woods was the third American player in a row to need four shots to get to the first green.

11:30 a.m.
Hard to believe they got even a few holes in this morning. With deep puddles in the fairways and bunkers and squeegee men on the greens, they had no business being out there -- even by Wales' soggy standards.

11:26 a.m.
ESPN's Mike Tirico said the U.S. squad sent someone to the merchandise tent to purchase new rain gear for the boys. Wonder if the Sun Mountain PR guy is up yet? He's got a looooong day ahead of him.

11:21 a.m.
It’s still early obviously, but it was discouraging to wake up at 5 this morning and find the U.S. already down in three of the four matches. The bright spot thus far for the Yanks: rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, who have snatched a 2-up lead through two holes over Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington. Maybe the delay will play into Team USA's hands by giving them a chance to exorcise some nerves. Is there a team chaplain on hand?

11:17 a.m.
The biggest loser thus far today: Sun Mountain, maker of the RainFlex rain gear donned by the U.S. squad. Word is, the gear is leaking like Swiss cheese despite Sun Mountain’s promise on its web site that “the combination of a dot-laminate waterproof membrane and stretch-taped seams make RainFlex waterproof.” Tiger, in a heavy downpour this morning, chose to go jacket-less on the first tee. Condemning stuff.

11:12 a.m.
Thanks, Mike, and gritty blogging through the delay. Clearly you're a mudder. I’m calling the action (or lack thereof) from Golf.com HQ in New York, which remarkably might be wetter than Wales. Let’s get you updated: Play was suspended on account of sideways, upside-down rain at about 9:40 a.m. Wales time (4:40 a.m. EST). The forecast for the rest of Friday calls for more of the same (there’s a 70-90 percent chance of rain ALL day). Organizers won’t make a decision about when and if play will resume until 7 a.m. EST.

11:06 a.m. That's it for me. Alan Bastable is taking over the Ryder Cup Live Blog, No Golf edition. Advantage: USA.

11 a.m. On Sky Sports TV, Ryder Cup referee John Paramor sounded confident about getting players back out this afternoon. "We are hopeful that we still will finish on time. We have Monday as an option."

10:55 a.m. The MVP of the day award definitely goes to the Celtic Manor fans who kept the energy up throughout the morning downpours. By the end of the day it could look like Woodstock out there. If Woodstock was cold and the only drug available was lager.

10:50 a.m. The mood at Celtic Manor? In a word, grim.

10:41 a.m. My morning headline prediction for Golf.com: "Rain delays Tiger Woods, others at Ryder Cup."

10:36 a.m. Butch Harmon on Sky Sports says he's seeing a new Tiger this year: More relaxed, more outgoing and happy to be part of this Ryder Cup team.

10:34 a.m. Bad news. The next weather announcement won't be until noon local time (7 a.m. EST) so no play for at least two-and-a-half hours.

10:30 a.m. ESPN is now tackling "rain-suit-gate." Some American players are griping over the official Ryder Cup rain suit, saying they aren't all that, you know, waterproof.

Paul Azinger says when he was captain in 2008, he gave his players choices on fabrics, clothes, etc. Guess the Pavins didn't ask him about that.

10:25 a.m. Apparently the ping-pong controversy* in the American team room is over. Matt Kuchar is the undisputed champ. Here's my story from 2007 on how Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods Forrest-Gumped their way to detente over the ping-pong table.

*Yes, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel for rain delay material now.

10:20 a.m. Too bad Rickie Folwer and Buba Watson can't share some of that great hair with their more follically challenged teammates.

10:15 a.m. Lee Westwood says he's lost about 16 pounds. Coming soon, Westwood's new diet book Drink Less Beer, Lose More Weight!

10:09 a.m. Difference between Team USA and Team Europe No. 174: the Europeans are talking to the media during the rain delay.

10:05 a.m. Europe is up in three matches but it's not all clouds and rain for Pavin. Even though Tiger and Stricker are down one, Tiger is playing well, and Pavin's biggest gamble -- putting his rookie team of Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton out as the morning anchor team -- paid off early as the rooks won the first two holes over Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald.

10:03 a.m. The reason they suspended play was that the entire fairway had become casual water so there was no place to drop, says Luke Donald.

9:55 a.m. Biggest surprise: Phil Mickelson wearing two gloves for the first time, even while putting.

9:51 a.m. Too bad the rain stopped play. Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington had finally figured out which one was Watson and which one was Overton.

9:48 a.m. From Golf Magazine's Paul Mahoney, via twitter: "Ah, it IS the Wales Open after all. Play suspended. There will be a tag team drinking match in the hotel at noon if it's still raining."

9:46 a.m. Play has officially been suspended due to weather. No word on when we'll start play again but the live blog will plod on.

9:43 a.m. Sky Sports announcer blaming the FedEx Cup for Ryder Cup starting in October and thus the nasty weather. Really, hasn't the FedEx Cup taken enough abuse already?

9:42 a.m. Smells like a wet dog in the media center. Although that could just be my neighbor, Golf Magazine's Paul Mahoney.

9:40 a.m. No official announcement but play has stopped at Celtic Manor although there's been no official announcement.

9:38 a.m. Scoreboard update:

Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer

Europe 2 up through 5

Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson

Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy

Europe 1 up through 4

Steward Cink/Matt Kuchar

Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher

Europe 1 up through 3

Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker

Jeff Overton/Bubba Watson

USA 2 up through 2

Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald

9:35 a.m. Ryder Cup officials are talking about whether to suspend play due to the weather.

9:32 a.m. No blood on 5 as Mickelson and Westwood both make pars. Westwood/Kaymer still 2-up over Mickelson/Johnson.

9:30 a.m. Watson taps in for birdie on No. 2 -- he and Overton now 2-up on Harrington/Donald. However, Cink misses a six-footer and McDowell wins the hole for Europe. He and McIlroy now 1-up on Cink/Kuchar.

9:28 a.m. The rain is now coming down especially hard now. Today's headline: How the Mess Was Won!

9:26 a.m. Padraig Harrington has his game face on. Either that or a bad Botox accident.

9:24 a.m. Ian Poulter takes one back with a birdie on the par-3 second. He and Fisher now 1-up on Woods/Stricker.

9:23 a.m. Maybe Corey Pavin can buy some rain suits off the squeegee guys.

9:20 a.m. Mickelson and Westwood are safely on the green on 5, but Dustin Johnson flies the green with a wedge. Advantage: Even.

9:18 a.m. Bubba Watson sticks a wedge into 2 to about 6 inches. The USA rookies are looking good! Well, they're still wearing those ridiculous striped rain suits, but they're playing well.

9:15 a.m. Against Tiger and Stricker, Fisher finds the green and Poulter is close. Advantage: Europe.

9:12 a.m. Tiger overshoots the green on the par-3 third, as does Stricker. Incidentally Sticker calls for his ball to "bite, bite, bite!", showing more emotion than he has in the past three years combined on the PGA Tour.

9:09 a.m. Tiger makes a birdie on No. 2 and win the hole to get back to all-square and Cink's birdie on 3 holds up as well, so Cink and Kuchar are all square as well. Lot less blue on the scoreboard than 5 minutes ago.

The weather's easing up (a little) too.

9:08 a.m. Uh-oh! Mickelson misses a short putt on four for a halve and he and Dustin Johnson go down 2 holes to Westwood and Kaymer after Westwood sticks a sand shot to about 6 inches.

9:07 a.m. Stewart Cink makes birdie on the par-3 third.

9:05 a.m. Course report from Golf Magazine Paul Mahoney: "Rules official John Paramor says if it was the Wales Open, they wouldn't be playing."

9:03 a.m. Scoreboard update:

Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer

1 up through 3

Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson

Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy

1 up through 2

Steward Cink/Matt Kuchar

Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher

1 up through 1

Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker

Jeff Overton/Bubba Watson

1 up through 1

Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald

9 a.m. Tiger hits a nice approach in to No. 2. Advantage: USA.

8:57 a.m. What to make of the surprising Overton/Bubba Watson pairing? First, Corey Pavin is all-in on his long-hitters for fourballs strategy (and the straighter guys for alternate shot). Second, since he's going to need his rookies to play well to win, he might as well show confidence in them from the start. It's a gamble, but Pavin must think he needs to make some gambles to win this thing.

8:55 a.m. And then Overton putts in from the rough for a birdie 3. Take that, Sky Sports guy. Team USA takes its first lead.

8:53 a.m. They're talking about butterfly-in-the-stomach Jeff Overton like a racehourse, "he's nervous, his jittery, his twittering." No wait, that's not allowed.

8:50 a.m. Kuchar and McIlroy both miss birdie tries on No. 2. McIroy/McDowell still 1 up through 2 over Kuchar/Cink. Putting is going the be difficult on these waterlogged greens.

8:47 a.m. Not the early morning scoreboard U.S. captain Corey Pavin was looking for....

Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer

1 up through 3

Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson

Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy

1 up through 1

Steward Cink/Matt Kuchar

Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher

1 up through 1

Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker

Jeff Overton/Bubba Watson


Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald

8:46 a.m. Phil has a 15-foot putt to win one back on three but just misses. Still 1 down.

8:43 a.m. Sticker misses his chip and Poulter and Fisher are 1-up.

8:41 a.m. Fisher makes par and Stricker will need to hole his 30-foot chip to halve the hole.

8:40 a.m. Long wait for Woods/Stricker on No. 1 as the grounds crew squeegees the green.

8:38 a.m. Sky Sports: "I could have told you six years ago that the weather on Oct. 1 in Wales would be wet and windy." Makes you think Team USA should have double-checked those rain suits.

8:36 a.m. Mickelson sticks his iron close at the par-3 third. Advantage: USA.

8:35 a.m. How nasty is the weather? Even tough guy Padraig Harrington is wearing a ski hat and a jacket.

8:31 a.m. The final match of the day on the first tww: Bubba Watson/Jeff Overton vs. Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald. Bubba, Overton and Donald in the fairway, but Harrington is way left.

8:30 a.m. Lee Westwood makes birdie on the par-5 second, Europe is up 1 in each of the first two matches.

8:29 a.m. Dustin Johnson misses a makeable birdie putt on 2 and Westwood will get a chance to win the hole.

8:27 a.m. Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com is looking for the missing WAGs. "But I thought they were so important," she says.

8:26 a.m. Every tee shot in the Woods/Stricker-Poulter/Fisher group was missed in the same place left.

8:24 a.m. Europe draws first blood: McDowell/McIlroy 1 up on Cink/Kuchar after McDowell's par.

8:23 a.m. One guy unaffected by the weather: Dustin Johnson, who hits a nice approach into 2.

8:20 a.m. McDowell will have two putts to win the first hole.

8:19 a.m. Cink and Kuchar are making a mess of the first hole, each taking four shots to get to the green.

8:16 a.m. Tiger hits his tee shot near the left bunkers. He's not wearing a rainjacket. Word is that the U.S. players are unhappy with the rainsuits, which are not completely waterproof. George Costanza must have picked the fabric.

8:12 a.m. The third match is Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker vs. Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher. Sticker is the latest partner for Tiger, who seems to change Ryder Cup partners as often as he changes....never mind.

8:10 a.m. The atmosphere at the first tee where Tiger just appeared is already getting a little Braveheart. Can't wait to see what it's like by Saturday.

8:09 a.m. Interesting that Monty put Rory McIlory in the second group this morning. He clearly want to stay away from a Tiger-Rory duel since Monty had to think Tiger would be playing first or fourth.

8:08 a.m. How bad is the weather? Team Europe captain Colin Montgomerie says that if was a stroke play event, they muight not even be playing.

8:07 a.m. Westwood misses his putt -- Johnson taps in and we're all square through one.

8:06 a.m. Dustin Johnson misses his birdie try on No. 1, so Westwood will have a putt the win the hole.

8:04 a.m. Rory McIlroy hits his first Ryder Cup tee shot into the right rough, McDowell is in the fairway.

8:02 a.m. Cink misses his drive in the same place. "Not the best start," the understated BBC says.

8:01 a.m. No report from the first green yet, where Westwood got his approach much closer than Jonson or Mickelson. Kuchar misses the fairway on his drive on No. 1.

7:58 a.m. It's a cold, dark and wet morning in Wales, but you wouldn't know it by the roars at the first tee for Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who will face Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in the second match of the morning.

7:55 a.m. Kaymer misses the green left, but Westwood sticks his to about 15 feet. Advantage: Europe.

7:50 a.m. Live from Wales: It's the Ryder Cup. Play in under way at Celtic Manor in the first fourballs match between Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson and Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer. Good drives from Mickelson, Westwood and Kaymer, while Johnson hits his into the gallery right.

Mike Walker, Alan Bastable and Farrell Evans will be live blogging Friday's matches at the 2010 Ryder Cup beginning at 2:45 a.m. ET. Join the conversation by leaving a question or comment below.

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