Give us a sign, Rory. (Getty Images)

Scene and Heard: Friday in Wales

The next best thing to being here is learning about some of the most interesting but overlooked details, and has you covered. Here's what we saw and heard on Friday at the Ryder Cup.

By John Kim, Coordinating Producer

Rain creates scrambling by networks:  Because of the large amount of golf time lost to the weather on Friday, the TV networks have made adjustments to bring their audiences as much golf as possible.  ESPN will now carry the action live on Saturday from 2:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. ET and then coverage will move to NBC from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (live).  Sunday coverage in the United States will now begin at 4:00 a.m. on NBC and stay on until completion.  If Monday golf is needed, USA Network (a division of NBC Universal) will carry it live starting at 2:00 a.m. until play finishes.

Earning their support: It is often difficult for American audiences to truly comprehend the passion and excitement that their European counterparts feel about the Ryder Cup and their Ryder Cup team.  However, visitors who saw the scene outside the massive Celtic Manor clubhouse during the 7-hour rain delay could certainly understand the support and love. Most of the European team came out and signed autographs, did media interviews and threw gifts to the fans.  Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez were among the team members who came out to mingle with the crowd. 

Said one volunteer who both helped controlled the crowd and asked for an autograph himself as Jimenez came by, “That man has to be the coolest guy in golf.  How can you not love him?” U.S. players Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson stood on the second-floor balcony and tossed pins and autographed memorabilia to the overwhelmingly European crowd as well. 

Seven hours – no problem!: With an expected crowd of well over 40,000 people, the torrential rains obviously dampened the numbers as well as the course.  But one thing it didn’t do was hinder the enthusiasm of the gathered throngs, as thousands waited out the rain delay and started to find viewing spots on the course as the players went back out prior to the 5:00 p.m. local time restart. 

The most popular spots for fans during the long delay were the food court, the merchandise pavilion and any of the various tents that might have been serving some libations.  The trademark rowdiness of the crowd became evident on the practice green prior to the restart as a thousands gathered around and serenaded, cheered and booed players as they took practice putts. 

Weather or Not: Could Mother Nature disrupt all the best-laid plans after she already disrupted the first set of best-laid plans?  According to the BBC, Saturday should be one of the best days of the week for weather, though Sunday’s forecast does call for a light rain to fall.  Monday should be a good weather day (relatively), though again, all weather forecasts in Wales seem to require an hourly update.

Resort Remarks: Hosting the Ryder Cup has been a six-year plan and dream for Celtic Manor Resort, amongst others.  The difficult first day was an obvious disappointment.  Celtic Manor did release a statement on its behalf:

“The Celtic Manor Resort is as disappointed as all spectators, patrons and official sponsors at today’s suspension of play, caused by extreme weather conditions.  36.6mm of rain fell between approximately 5.30 pm on Thursday and 3.30 pm today (Friday).  The average monthly rainfall for September/October is 91mm, so the equivalent of more than 40 percent of the average monthly rainfall fell in less than 24 hours.

It was only through the dedication of 110 greenkeepers working from 5.00am that two hours of play was possible in the morning to commence The 2010 Ryder Cup, when the spectators created an electric atmosphere on the first tee despite the adverse weather.

More than £1 million was spent on drainage during construction of The Twenty Ten Course, but there comes a point following persistent, heavy rainfall when the ground becomes saturated.

The fact that play was able to resume at 5.00pm, within approximately two hours of the rain ceasing, is testament to both the high quality of the course drainage and the continued hard work of the greenkeeping team led by Jim McKenzie, Director of Golf Courses.”

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