Editors' BlogSeptember 20, 2008

Faldo: Off His Rocker or Inspired?

Nick Faldo's benching of Sergio Garcia--"he just needed his rest"--and Lee Westwood this morning, which now looks prescient, nonetheless drew some are-you-kiddings from the European press. My favorite is John Hopkins commentary on TimesOnline.

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Nick Faldo is off his rocker. He has either gone in the head or his brain has been fried by his rampaging emotions. Or he is inspired.

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His foursomes pairings for the second morning of the Ryder Cup do not contain Sergio Garcia who has won eight and halved one of the nine foursomes in which he has played in his Ryder Cup career dating back to 1999. Europe's pairing also do not include Lee Westwood who equalled the record set by Arnold Palmer for the most consecutive matches without a loss - 12.

There might be some justification for omitting Westwood who was suffering from tonsillitis two weeks ago and will have his tonsils out in November and who is said to have been feeling a little under the weather. But Garcia? The heartbeat of past teams, one half of the partnership that salvaged a half point in the morning, the one player who really rubs the Americans up the wrong way in this event? It is the most extraordinary decision of the 16 Ryder Cups that I have covered.

Here is Mike Aitken, blogging for the Scotsman.com.

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While it's far too early to burden Nick Faldo with the soubriquet of Captain Calamity, the Englishman's blend of muddled and emotional leadership has yet to do Europe too many favours here in Kentucky.>

Trailing 5 1/2-2 1/2 going into today's foursomes, which start at 1pm GMT, the Europeans were flat outplayed on Friday by an American side which established a handsome lead thanks to a mixture of shrewd captaincy and stalwart golf.

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Europe's troubles began, of course, with Faldo's wild card selections...

The second topic of conversation for Euro writers was Paul Azinger's comments that it was okay for American fans to cheer European team mistakes. Here is Mike Aitken of the Scotsman:

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When asked about the comment, Azinger admitted he'd made the remark but claimed all he was trying to do was establish a level playing field. According to the American captain, the nasty Euros always cheer when the US miss putts while good-natured Americans prefer to clap politely.

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Azinger, who has obviously never watched a DVD of Brookline, said: "Essentially, you know, when we go over there, they cheer when we miss. I don't think that the American fans are really into what the Ryder Cup is all about in the fact that, you know, there is that other element. And it wasn't meant to be malicious and I'm really proud that the fans have been absolutely perfectly behaved this morning."

Starting to feel more like a Ryder Cup all the time.

--Bob Carney

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