Gloomy is less a weather forecast in Wales than it is an assessment of U.S. Ryder Cup prospects. The European lead, in fact, is virtually insurmountable, according to NBC's Johnny Miller.
Early in the Ryder Cup telecast on Sunday, long before anyone knew that the Europeans would carry a three-point lead into Monday's singles, Miller said this: "I don't think the U.S. can trail by two or three points going into the singles. That's just asking too much, especially when you're not at home."
After the Euros' three-point lead materialized, Miller didn't soften his earlier assessment, noting that it would take a mini-miracle for the U.S. to prevail.â¿¿ "It's going to be tough, especially overseas," he said. "It's very hard to win over here."
Anchor Dan Hicks had it right after NBC replayed the shot of the day, a holed 8-iron for eagle by America's Jeff Overton, who responded with a loud, "boom, baby."
"Well," Hicks said, "they're going to need some more 'boom babies' tomorrow."
There is no doubt that Tiger Woods is a lightning rod, which was encapsulated nicely by Miller and Roger Maltbie on the 12th green, with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald six up on Woods and Steve Stricker.
"This is some electric crowd here," Maltbie said. "They are relishing every second of this."
"Three things Europe loves to do," Miller replied. "Win Ryder Cups. Obviously beat Americans. And beat Tiger Woods."
"From their perspective, it just can't get better than that," Maltbie said.
From Paul Azinger on Twitter:
I'm not sure what Azinger is talking about here. I don't recall Miller using the words "sweeping hook," though he did note that Zach Johnson prefers to draw the ball. Then there is this:
From a Golf Digest instruction piece from Jun,2009: "I've always hit it pretty straight with a little draw."
From Travis Fulton, director of education, PGA Tour Golf Academy, on his instruction blog on PGATour.com: "With a very strong grip, Johnson gets the clubface closed at the top of the swing...With the clubface closed, Zach naturally plays a draw."
Dottie Pepper had a timely observation and opinion regarding the tandem of Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson and their exhaustive dialogues on reading putts.
"I just think there's too much going on, too much second guessing, too much analysis on the part of this team over the putts," she said. "They'd have never gone to this sort of specificity had it been their own putt and I really think it's hurting Dustin Johnson."
A few minutes later, Pepper reported that she and U.S. assistant captain Tom Lehman had just been conversing on the matter, that Lehman had concluded the same thing and was en route to informing captain Corey Pavin about it.
Miller has a habit of asking odd questions of Maltbie, who occasionally allows his irritability with them to come through. This was one of those times.
"You feel this going in, Roger?" Miller said regarding a 15-foot putt.
"Well, John," Maltbie replied, "I don't come equipped with a crystal ball."
-- John Strege