Media, Day 2: 'A runaway freight train'
The pairing of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker continued to be an interesting one on Saturday, worthy of scrutiny for continued success in the morning and for their absence of the same in the afternoon.
They were four down through six to Lee Westwood and Luke Donald in the afternoon foursomes, with Woods facing a par putt on the seventh to keep from going five down. "It's about to become a runaway freight train if this doesn't go in," NBC's Roger Maltbie said. It didn't. By the end of play on Saturday evening, Woods and Stricker had cut the lead back to four through nine holes.
A comeback will likely depend on Woods' ability to find a reliable swing.
"A lot of thinking going on with that swing," Johnny Miller said while Woods took several practice swings before hitting a shot in their morning foursomes victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson.
"I said it earlier, I see a lot of rehearsal motions," Gary Koch replied. "I almost get the impression he's playing, at this point, golf swing instead of golf shots. Making (swing) changes is hard to do when you're under the gun like this."
NBC did note that Woods seemed to be more engaged than perhaps he was in previous Ryder Cups, working hard to help Stricker read putts.
"Tiger is definitely involved," Miller said. "I actually think Tiger was involved with Stricker to keep him from hitting those little push putts. And Stricker was actually helping Tiger with his putting. So it's definitely a symbiotic relationship going on here."
-- The Welsh language is a difficult one to the uninitiated (good morning, for instance, translates to noswaith dda), which includes about 80 percent of the citizens of Wales. A little more than 20 percent of the population speaks the language.
NBC anchor Dan Hicks was discussing the language, then said to Miller, "Johnny, you've learned a few sayings in Welsh, haven't you?"
"I don't know where they came up with that language," Miller replied. "Probably in a pub at 4 a.m."
-- Miller on Phil Mickelson, who has continued his run of poor play in recent Ryder Cups: "Phil's just got the bad mojo. Two wins in 17 matches is crazy."
-- Miller wondered why Stewart Cink was again a captain's pick, given his Ryder Cup record (4-7-4) in four previous appearances.
"I'm not even sure, on his record, why he keeps getting picked," he said. Of course, this was moments before Cink holed a long birdie putt that put the Americans ahead, 1-up, with one to play in his and Matt Kuchar's match with Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
-- Just say it, they're slow. Instead, Miller and Dottie Pepper simply strongly hinted at it as Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher methodically (translation: slowly) went about helping one another line up putts.
"Well, these are two real grinders, huh Dottie?" Miller said as Harrington and Fisher again took their time on a green.
"Well, they certainly are," Pepper replied. "They cross all their T's and dot all their I's, but I don't know that that's a pace of play that's going to help them in the long run."
-- John Strege