124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Fleet Street Tuesday: Team USA providing little fodder

September 23, 2014

The most intriguing development out of Fleet Street? So little coverage of Team USA!

Other than Rickie Fowler's haircut earning some desperate follow up coverage via Lee Westwood's admission that he touched the USA follicle engraving -- Michael Gadd of the Daily Mail's take here -- the vaunted British press has been given little controversy or intrigue to work with by Tom Watson's team. As for Team Europe, Graeme McDowell addressed his friendship with Rory McIlroy, and while he insisted things are stronger than ever, The Guardian's Ewan Murray seized on his comment about how the "golf dynamic has changed significantly."

"He's the world's No1 player. He's a four-times major champion. The dynamic between him and I is changed forever. He would now be the leader of the two of us and perhaps the dynamic doesn't work as well as it did in the past. Perhaps I'm the kind of guy that needs that leadership role a little bit, who needs to feel like he is on at least on a level with the guy he's playing with. I'll be the first to admit it."

The always convincing McDowell spelled out why this dynamic does not work for him in fourballs, and while it was believable, there is little question that the skepticism will remain since all of this talk could have been dealt with prior to this week. Another favorite pastime of the UK papers: analyzing the practice round pairings for hints of the universe's origins. Failing that, Phil Casey analyzed Tuesday's groupings for The Independent and believes we won't see McIlroy and McDowell together. Derek Lawrenson took things a step further in The Daily Mail, suggesting a McIlroy-Ian Poulter pairing might lead Europe out of the gates Friday morning in fourballs based in part on their pairing in 2012.

Imagine what a boost it would give the visitors if a US partnership took down that talismanic pairing? A move that's not without risk for McGinley, therefore, but one he appears to be leaning towards. One of those where you look like a genius if it works and get pilloried if it doesn't.

And in news of almost no significance to most Americans but of massive import to Scots, Kevin Garside reports on Tuesday night's team speech from Sir Alex Ferguson, legendary manager of Manchester United. Naturally, this being Fleet Street, there were questions about the choice.

You wonder if the footballing knight might have been better utilised in another dressing room, given the plight of Manchester United, the institution he rebuilt over 25 years. McGinley had intended to keep the identity of his speaker secret but there was nil chance of that once Sir Alex was spotted out on the course watching the European team practise.