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

Did you know that "Grant" in Gaelic is spelled "Grant?"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:35 PM

STRAFFAN, Ireland - Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, with the only possible exception being when that woman’s husband is Tiger Woods and a terminally-sleazy Irish periodical publishes a nude photo of a woman it claims is Tiger’s wife and piles on with verbal pejoratives about wives of other U.S. players and American women, in general.

A local magazine did just that earlier this week. When the clothes came off, so did the gloves. Tiger prefaced his press conference comments Wednesday morning with a statement denouncing that publication, carefully measuring his words but making clear the depths of his disgust. On the other hand, a U.K. tabloid printing slander isn’t exactly front-page news. It’s about as surprising as Nicole Richie dropping another dress size. My only hope is that this incident won’t dampen Woods’ love affair with the media.

There was a legitimate skins game on the course Wednesday as U.S. players jettisoned plans for a full-scale practice session because of conditions that most closely resembled a dishwasher. Heavy winds and rain peppered The K Club all morning, so the American team headed out as a twelvesome around 2 p.m. local to hit a few random shots and wager a couple of quid.

It turned an otherwise miserable day into a memorable 90 minutes as the players heckled each other and took an occasional barb from the partisan patrons when a shot went awry. For a group whom Jim Furyk said often looks constipated during the Ryder Cup, the American team on this day appeared to be a bunch of regular guys, enjoying the opportunity to one-up the other in a friendly game.

I was out there for about an hour before taking refuge in the massive media center. The press room here at The K Club is slightly different than in the U.S., and by different I mean “equipped with an open tap.” The leering press, as Mike Rhyner of The Ticket in Dallas calls it, has historically needed little encouragement to choke down a brew or two or 12. Having such libation within arm’s length of the assembled scribes is akin to putting in a Cinnabon outside Oprah’s office.

Another local quirk is the language. These people speak English, but stuff is also written in Gaelic. The best way to describe the Gaelic language is to imagine a drunken journalist trying to bang out a story on deadline after about six pints o’ Guinness, which is probably happening somewhere in here as we speak, come to think of it.

For example, the lass dispensing drinks in the press room pub pronounces her name, “Neev.” The spelling? Niamh. There’s no particular relation between the actual letters and the sounds they make. It’s like when you accidentally put your fingers in the wrong starting position on a keyboard and blast away.

I asked Niamh what my name would be in Gaelic, hoping for something exotic. She said it would just be “Grant.” Figures.

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