Notebook: Lehman surrendered the shirt off his back
Tom Lehman reveals what happened to the shirt he wore during the history-making Sunday rally at Brookline. Plus, Darren Clarke feels for a struggling Tiger Woods, the Junior Ryder Cup team whoops it up, and more.
September 23, 2006
STRAFFAN, Ireland -- One of the most enduring memories of the United States' dramatic comeback victory at Brookline in the 1999 Ryder Cup is of the colorful shirts that Captain Ben Crenshaw dressed his players in for that fateful Sunday. The shirts were burgundy and dotted with portraits of victorious U.S. teams from the past six decades.
Some found them inspiring, though others did not -- including a BBC commentator who said they reminded him of pepperoni pizzas.
Five years after "The Battle of Brookline," Golf Digest asked members of the 1999 team what they did with their keepsake. Few could remember, but current U.S. Captain Tom Lehman acknowledged the one he stored in a box in his closet was a replacement.
"The one I wore I threw into the crowd," he recalled. "The guy who caught it put it on eBay. I don't know what he got."
DRESS CODE: Ian Woosnam and Tom Lehman have to guess how the other captain is going to arrange his team for each session of matches. Apparently, they don't trade secrets on uniforms, either.
Both teams arrived on the first tee Saturday morning wearing dark slacks and blue shirts, and the only way to tell them apart was when the Americans put on their black sweaters.
The Americans kept their same uniforms for the afternoon, while the Europeans switched to a lavender top.
SYMPATHIC: Tiger Woods clearly has not played his best in the first days at the K Club, and Darren Clarke, for one, feels for the No. 1-ranked player in the world.
"I do feel for Tiger because he's such a good friend to me," said Clarke after he and Lee Westwood topped Woods and Jim Furyk in fourballs on Saturday morning.
Woods was among those who urged Clarke to make himself available for the Ryder Cup after his wife Heather lost her cancer fight only six weeks ago.
"He is just struggling a bit with his timing," Clarke added. "It happens to us all, but because his standards are so high it's highlighted a bit more."
SMALL MAN, BIG HEART: The sure sign Europe is in the lead is when Colin Montgomerie turns into a standup comic.
Sergio Garcia was asked about the attributes of captain Ian Woosnam, especially after Europe built a 10-6 lead.
"He might be a short man, but he's got a huge heart," Garcia said.
"He IS a short man," Montgomerie said of the 5-foot-4 captain. "There's no question about that, Sergio. He is a short man with a very, very big heart."
"But I think he's grown about 3 inches this week," Garcia countered.
MILLER TIME: Johnny Miller might have been getting on the nerves of U.S. players without even knowing it.
Ryder Cup officials made available NBC Sports' raw feed, which included the chatter during commercial breaks. Miller had no shortage of material, whether it was Tiger Woods' sloppy game or Scott Verplank needing to "wake up" because his partner, Zach Johnson, was making all the birdies.
Once it was pointed out the raw feed was going to the U.S. team room, it mysteriously ended.
There was talk the U.S. players decided not to speak to NBC, but Chris DiMarco said that wasn't the case and that players weren't even listening.
"We don't flatter him that way," he said.
Miller's most infamous line at the Ryder Cup was in 1999, when it was suggested Justin Leonard should have sat out a team match Saturday when Europe was dominating. Miller said Leonard should have stayed home.
The Americans rallied around that remark, winning at Brookline when Leonard holed a 45-foot putt on the 17th.
"Since then, nobody really hears anything he says," Verplank said. "I don't think he's important enough to inspire Tiger or Phil."
JUNIOR CHEERLEADERS: The gang in U.S. team clothes hanging around the 16th green Saturday morning was doing its best to cheer on their fellow Americans.
It was the Junior Ryder Cup team, just back from their matches in Wales, and they were determined to make their voices heard over that of thousands of European supporters in the nearby bleachers.
The crowd had been serenading the Europeans with a rousing "Ole, Ole, Ole," and the U.S. juniors tried to come up with their own version of the song. Failing that, they reverted to a basic "USA, USA" chant.
That's what greeted Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood as they arrived at the green with Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. The group kept it up as the two Europeans arrived at Clarke's ball, which was just off the back edge of the green only a few feet away from them.
Then they stopped, except for one unfortunate cheerleader who kept going.
"Didn't you get the memo?" an amused Westwood asked him.
Clarke wasn't exactly intimidated. He walked up to his ball in the muddy rough and calmly chipped it into the hole, sending the crowd into a frenzy and giving the Euros a win.
Next to the green, though, things grew suddenly quiet.
DIVOTS: Zach Johnson made seven birdies as he and Scott Verplank won their fourball match Saturday morning. That's more birdies than Chris DiMarco and Phil Mickelson made combined in their two fourball matches at the Ryder Cup. ... Mickelson now is 1-7-1 in his last nine Ryder Cup matches. ... Europe's captain's picks (Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood) have contributed half of Europe's 10 points.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press and PA Sport. All rights reserved.
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