As this gentleman can attest, yes, it's been quite a week at the Twenty Ten Course at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. (Getty Images)
Eubanks: What a long, strange trip it's been
Uniform critiques -- not of all them positive -- rain suits that don't repel rain, rain that seemingly never went away, an unprecedented change in format and a Monday finish. Our Steve Eubanks asks, Could this Ryder Cup have been any more weird?
By Steve Eubanks, Special to RYDERCUP.com
NEWPORT, Wales -- This could be the weirdest Ryder Cup ever.
From lavender cardigans, to leaky rain suits, to a radical modification in the format, to Monday finishes, to State Department travel advisories, to the captain's wife garnering more attention than some of the players, to the rain…ah, yes, the incessant, torrential, soul-killing rain that has put the Wales Tourism Minister on suicide watch…this one has been about a lot of things other than golf, because, quite frankly, there hasn't been enough golf.
Ten matches in two-and-a-half days is not exactly compelling.
For the first time in history, the Ryder Cup will finish on a Monday, and only then if the weatherman is wrong. You have to believe that when Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie ratified the Captain's Agreement, neither of them thought twice about that obscure little clause stating that play ends at sundown on Monday with all remaining matches called a draw. But when another round of saturating rain postponed the resumption of the already re-jiggered session three matches, the Monday night deadline jumped to the forefront, and for good reason: the 18th fairway on Sunday morning could have been the location for a sequel to "A River Runs Through It." Any more rain on Sunday or Monday and this one could be called early.
"Monday finishes are no good in any sport," Montgomerie said. "It's like going away from the FA Cup Final, and they didn't have a re-play. It was a draw. It was awful. I believe this is much better to finish on Sunday. I've done playoffs in U.S. Opens and what have you on Mondays, and it really is all over: believe me. All of the tents come down, there's nobody there; it's very much of a second show, if you like."
But, Monday it will be. Singles start at 9:05 local time, which is likely to cut back on the European crowd and certainly temper the raucousness of the attendees. Socialist democrats or not, Europeans do work on Mondays.
This new-and-improved schedule to the old new-and-improved schedule is designed to get the thing done. It has been an unmitigated disaster for the Visit Wales commission and the good people at Celtic Manor, who have spent the last six years looking to this week as their coming-out party.
"Last week it was beautiful and next week it will probably be beautiful," said Steve Reynolds, a PR representative for Celtic Manor. "It's a real shame, because these are great people. But you can't control the weather."
The fans were the real victims. Friday's 7-hour rainout left thousands drenched and filling time any way they could. Songs were the main pastime. Spontaneous drinking games also broke out in the tents, including the construction of a beer-can pyramid crowned with various undergarments. One fan told former tour player Andre Magee, "I saw five shots of golf, and one of them was a gimme." Those who did see golf slogged through the kind of mud and muck that would make Bayou natives blush.
Then, adding insult to already insufferable injury, Ryder Cup Europe put out a statement on Sunday that, "only spectators with tickets valid for Sunday will be admitted to The Celtic Manor Resort on Monday when the final series of singles is scheduled to start."
So, if you saw five shots on Friday, thanks very much, and enjoy the festivities from home.
To paraphrase Jerry Garcia: what a long strange week it has been. Thankfully, one way or another, it will all be over at sundown on Monday.
"The Captains Agreement was signed that on 6.43, sunset on Monday, that's the end of The Ryder Cup," Montgomerie said. "We can't go on forever."