Prince Charles spent a little time with both captains on Wednesday in Wales. (Getty Images)
Scene and Heard: Wednesday in Wales
The next best thing to being here is learning about some of the most interesting but overlooked details, and PGA.com has you covered. Here's what we saw and heard on Wednesday at the Ryder Cup.
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
Is that the right red?: One-time U.S. Ryder Cup captain and current assistant captain Tom Lehman surprised many American fans today while driving around the course while wearing a red Indiana University hat. Lehman is famously an alumni and the former golf coach at a different Big Ten school – Minnesota – and the dichotomy was noticed by a number of onlookers. “I was just out there with Jeff Overton (an Indiana alum) and his group all had Indiana hats, so I asked for one,” Lehman explained. So no divided loyalties, just an assistant captain supporting one of his players.
Ryder Cup gear going fast: The wet weather may have kept many golfers off the course, but the crowds still came and most found their way to, what else, the Merchandise Pavilion. Every manner of apparel, accessory and golf gift could be had – for the proper quid – all emblazoned with a Ryder Cup or Celtic Manor logo. “Sales are going very well,” said one of the customer service managers. “No lessening in enthusiasm or purchasing thus far. Our goal is to sell out by end of day Sunday, I think we’re on a good track for that.” Which means visitors who wait until the final day may find their selections quite limited if not totally bare. Flag pins and – what else – rain gear are top sellers thus far.
The Ryder Cup was visited by Prince Charles on Wednesday. Commonly referred to as HRH (or “His Royal Highness”), the first-in-line for the Royal Throne also has the title of Prince of Wales. This being the highest profile sports event in Wales’ history, the ceremonial leader is using the opportunity to welcome the world to the region. He will be meeting with both teams and then taking part in a concert event later in the evening.
Competitive fire stoked:
U.S. Captain Corey Pavin is holding most of his cards to the vest about his talks with the team, his strategy and his all-important pairings. But he did reveal one insight about activities in the team room. “We play a lot of ping pong (table tennis)” he stated. When pressed to say who were his top players, he once again went into his captain’s role. “I don’t know who’s the best, but I know that Matt (Kuchar) is pretty good.”
Putting the “grand” in grandstands:
One of the major topics of discussion in the grandstands was – the grandstands. Specifically, the grandstands that overlook the 18th green, which rise up almost 50 feet and can seat nearly 2,000 fans. The view from the top offers an almost aerial view of the spectacular 18th hole. Said one onlooker, “This is bigger than where I watch football.” The entire venue is massive in scale but even golf writers, who’ve seemingly seen it all, were remarking at the sheer size of the seating. Ironically, because the Ryder Cup is a match-play event, there is no guarantee that all, many or even any matches will get to the closing hole.
Now that’s a welcome!:
Wales is putting on quite a show already, and Wednesday night the welcome mat is rolled out like never before. Favorite daughter and acclaimed actress Catherine Zeta-Jones will serve as the master of ceremonies in a “Welcome to Wales” event that will feature Dame Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins, Lost Prophets and other Welsh icons. Also taking part in the special concert event will be both Ryder Cup squads.