The Ryder Cup is underway at Le Golf National in Paris following Thursday’s opening ceremony. What should fans expect from Friday’s matches?
Fans are in for an unforgettable weekend if the action on the course can provide half as much excitement and drama as the Ryder Cup’s opening ceremony. Before we get to the four ball matches, let’s take a minute to appreciate a remarkable and borderline absurd telecast.
What an unexpected treat, tuning in expecting a mundane golf pregame broadcast and finding myself immersed in a spectacle fit for, well, maybe not a Super Bowl but certainly something on par with a meaningful Monday Night Football game.
If Europe wanted to intimidate the US team they misread the green by opting for an unnecessary rock & roll performance and an environmentally disastrous military jet flyover. That type of excess makes us feel right at home.
Once the jets’ sonic boom faded away and the crowd’s relentless “ole”s diminished to a reasonable volume Jim Furyk took the podium. The man has a future in politics.
Did I expect Furyk to give a diplomatic address? No. Was he supposed to? We’ll never know. Did he praise the longstanding relationship between the United States and France through references to Lafayette and Washington standing side by side as though that had relevance to a golf tournament? You bet he did.
Furyk laid it on thick. At one point referring to the Ryder Cup as a rivalry unmatched in all of sports. The IOC and FIFA could take issue, as they host far more impressive and storied international competitions. Folks watching from Butler Cabin may have hurled some strong words (in hushed Augusta National whispers) at the TV, too.
Other highlights from the festivities include:
- Furyk’s attempt at a French accent.
- The US team’s commitment to buttoning their blazers as they stood to be recognized. All but Jordan Spieth remembered the choreography. Dang it, Jordan.
- The transatlantic, international likability of Matt Kuchar. Kuuuuch translates to any language.
- Ian Poulter being at the Ryder Cup. He’s CoolSculpted his place in the collective heart of Europe.
- Imagining what the players were thinking about during Jain’s musical performance. Part of me wishes this entire article were dedicated to that last sentence.
Friday Morning Matches:
Furyk and Bjorn weren’t shy about sending out the big guns early for Friday morning’s four ball matches as they made their long awaited announcement over hilariously out of place “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” style background music.
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau vs. Justin Rose and Jon Rahm
I like the Europeans in this one. Koepka is coming off a horrendous Tour Championship and you just can’t beat the alliteration of Rose and Rahm.
Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy and Thorbjørn Oleson
No shortage of talent for either side in this one, but again I can’t help but side with the Europeans on the strength of Rory’s play last week. Plus, I recently discovered that Thorbjørn translates to Thunder Bear.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas vs. Paul Casey and Tyrell Hatton
I’m picking Jordan, despite his shabby, unbuttoned style, and his old pal Justin. This feels like a match that could damper the US spirits if it’s anything but a win. My bold (that’s code for arbitrary) prediction for the Ryder Cup: The result of this match will be the result of the tournament.
Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods vs Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood
Once again, I like the Euros. Tigermania has to catch up to Woods. Anything but dominance will feel like a letdown, and it has to be tough for a guy Tiger’s age to keep his foot on the gas after an emotionally draining victory and a transatlantic flight. Expect jet lag from Tiger on Friday and fireworks by Sunday.
Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong, I’ll rest easy tonight knowing that I’m waking up to DVR coverage of the Ryder Cup. And that will always feel like a win.