Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland

This trip so far has been pure poetry

Thursday, September 21, 2006 1:43 PM

STRAFFAN, Ireland -

There was once was a man from Killarney
Who wanted to go kiss the Blarney
He soon puckered up
But kissed Ryder's Cup
At K, The Club built by Arnie

That ancient Irish limerick dates back to this morning's breakfast. It was inspired by a pair of chance encounters I had with the King after my last post. I've always thought there's a sense in which that regal moniker doesn't fit Arnold Palmer. Kings aren't cozy with their subjects like Palmer. He's more like the mayor of Golf Town. Or the head of golf's universal Chamber of Commerce.

Everywhere he goes, people yell out, "Arnie!" or "Mr. Palmer," and each time, he turns, looks the person in the eye and smiles as if they're old friends, when in reality their relationship goes back about as far as my limerick.

I bumped into Mr. Palmer last night in the lounge at the Citywest Hotel after yet another evening gala. (There's a rumor swirling around the grounds here that they may eventually play a golf tournament. I'm cautiously optimistic.) The gala was a black-tie affair for members of both teams, assorted dignitaries, and even selected members of the media who've historically interpreted "formal wear" to mean "including socks." Most of us in the traveling media enjoy shoehorning our In-N-Out Burger bodies into a tux about as much as Tiger likes playing fourball with Phil.

Speaking of the hotel, it's been a huh-yuge disappointment in that it's clean, roomy, internet-ready, and entirely too comfortable. I was fully expecting some drafty, fleabag of an inn with holes in the ceiling, thin walls, and hot-and-cold running varmints. There are a few differences from typical American accommodations. For one thing, the sinks have dual spigots, which sounds as if it could be the guest from Kilkenny in Room 207. ("Paging Mr. Spiggets, Mr. Doole Spiggets.") This bit of lavatorial genius ranks right up there with the spring-loaded airplane faucets, which, when depressed, emit all of a nanosecond of water, leaving the user depressed.

While it has spigots in spades, the loo lacks woefully in wetness protection. For some reason, the shower door only covers half the tub. The optimist would say the shower's half closed; the pessimist, half open. Both can agree the floor is fully soaked.

I'm just happy to put what shower door there is to good use. I was taking baths until this morning when I finally figured out how to keep the water from coming out in full boil. It would've been perfect for noted shower chef Kramer, especially if we could've replaced the drain with a garbage disposal.

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