Editors' BlogSeptember 17, 2008

Ryder Cup: Faldo as Hogan ?

Golf World reader Ted Schumacher writes to praise theRyder Cup preview, despite some, to put it mildly, trying circumstances. His letter puts the Cup in perspective.

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I have written to you twice before and both times you have published my comments.>

As a lifelong golfer and a former 2 handicap, in March I was suddenly stricken with > an aortic dissection (think actor John Ritter...he didn't make it). When I got to the hospital (I was in Naples, FL at the time) I had less than a 10% chance to survive the surgery needed to repair the tear in my aorta.>

Now in the midst of a long recovery that includes some pretty severe nerve damage to my right leg as a result of my surgery, the highlight of my week is the arrival of my GolfWorld magazine. I have not been able to get back to play. (YET !!!)>

Thank you for the article on the '67 Ryder Cup. I'm a big Hogan fan although I never got to see him play. Besides sharing my above thoughts, I'd like to know how or where I can get a copy of the picture of the '67 Ryder Cup team featured on pages 62 & 63 this week in the magazine. I'd like to frame it and put it on my golf wall. Any shot? A reply would be appreciated and keep up the good stuff, especially the great history of the game you keep bringing us from time to time.

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We'll get you a copy, Ted. Get well--and thanks for the letter.

At first glance, yesterday's interviews with the captains seemed eons away from the days Hogan and his squad. Captain Azinger talked about how relaxed he was....and spent five minutes on the team foosball competition. (See Local Knowledge post by Mike O'Malley). Faldo, meanwhile, dodged questions about the piece of paper--apparently yielding the names of his Friday pairings--caught on camera by Sky TV and a photographer and then investigated like a weapon of mass destruction by the British Press.

__A: So it just had the lunch list. It had sandwich requests for the guys, just making sure who wants the tuna, who wants the beef, who wants the ham. So that's all it was, sandwich list. Later, not giving up, a member of the British press asks again:

Q: Some of them do look like pairings.

A: Really? That's worrying, isn't? (Laughter) I haven't put numbers next to them yet have I. We don't know what order they will go out so some are safe. And that was on the 7th tee. And if the photographer was on the 13th or 14th, it all changed, so it's all different now. __

Two questions later, still not done:

__Q: Just to return to your lunch list one more time, having looked at the pictures, it looks like you've got Garcia and Westwood and Harrington and Karlsson as two pairings. Can we make the assumpiton that those are your first two pairings on Friday morning? A: Those are tomorrow's pairings, Thursday's pairings, practice round.

Q: They will be practicing together, so that's not Friday morning's pairings?

A: No, Thursday. Tomorrow's Thursday. I'm doing tomorrow's pairings....>

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It reminded one of the exchange Nick Seitz covers in his piece on the 1967 team:

__Asked by an intrepid reporter (not this one) why Palmer was not playing in the morning four-ball the next day, Hogan replied, "Because I am captain and I say so." The reporter asked if he had any reason. "Yes," Hogan said. Could the reporter ask what it was?

"You can, but I won't tell you," said Hogan. __

As the "lunch list" exchange continued, the veil of charm that Faldo wears as a broadcaster gradually gave way to the old Nick, the prickly Nick of rolled eyes, mocking tone and unveiled disdain for the print media.

And as Azinger talked of the the lack of pressure he as a captain feels (as opposed to when he was a player), Faldo conversely seemed to return to his playing days, and to the gnarliness that won him his previous reputation. The Faldo game face emerged, and that may not be a good thing for the Americans.

Come to think of it, if there's a Hogan here this week, it may be that lunch-list guy.

--Bob Carney

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