Darren Clarke insisted Europe’s Ryder Cup team are not without Sunday hope, despite trailing the USA by three points heading into the singles at Hazeltine.
Finding appropriate context or comparison for the behaviour of spectators at a Ryder Cup is not particularly easy.
With four matches of this Ryder Cup complete Europe’s obituary was half-written. The USA, inspired by the legend of Arnold Palmer, claimed the first session of the event with a whitewash not seen since The King was captain in 1975.
Rory McIlroy insisted the European team mood is “buoyant” after an afternoon Ryder Cup recovery took Darren Clarke’s men from a morning deficit of 4-0 to 5-3 by close of play on day one at Hazeltine. McIlroy, who celebrated in emphatic style after converting an eagle putt on the 16th green to seal a third point for Europe, admitted to being inspired in part by a “hostile” home crowd.
The problem with golf’s time in the spotlight is the recent propensity for that focus to be negative. Never before has this sport, apparently in the midst of a scrap for relevance and identity, so needed a scintillating Ryder Cup.
Danny Willett fears he has become a “target” for American fans at his maiden Ryder Cup with the Masters champion also conceding his experience has been tarnished and his focus hard to maintain.
Darren Clarke has expressed anger after the brother of Danny Willett used an online column to attack American fans in a supposedly light-hearted way that has spectacularly backfired.
In what will be portrayed either as a motivational masterstroke or a needless act of compassion, Bubba Watson has been named as a fifth and final vice-captain to the USA Ryder Cup team.
In any list of reasons for the present popularity and high financial standing of golf, the name, and the game, of Arnold Palmer are irresistibly linked.
The closing in of Dustin Johnson on the summit of golf’s world ranking may be the least of Jason Day’s worries.
Danny Willett’s 2016 will forever be defined by the donning of the Green Jacket.
Rory McIlroy had a potential out from golf’s Olympic return from the moment that landmark decision was voted through in 2009. The delicacy of a Northern Irish sportsman, not least one as high-profile as McIlroy, having to declare for an Irish or British Olympic team meant the option of passing up the 2016 Games entirely was initially a live prospect.
Tiger Woods, beset by injuries and the decline of his playing career, appears to have at least one person who still believes in him. And that person is Tiger Woods. In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS on Thursday night, the former world No1 said he is targeting an imminent return to golf as well as more victories in the majors.
There is reason Tiger Woods did not only win the Masters this year. It's the same reason Woods did not win the Grand Slam this year.
The topic which dominated post-Ryder Cup media duties for the European team had nothing to do with the concession of the trophy for the first time since 2008. Rather, the level of hostility those visitors to Hazeltine encountered from a frenzied home crowd created a narrative which will flow into 2018 and Paris. The reserved French may tone matters down.
Danny Willett has said his brother Peter’s pre-Ryder Cup criticism of American supporters was backed up by the behaviour of some supporters at Hazeltine.
There was nothing to separate Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson through 71 holes with the former Ryder Cup partners both 15-under par as they stepped on to the 18th green at the Olympic Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.
Even when broken, don’t fix it.
Tom Watson’s Ryder Cup legacy did not solely relate to the continuation of a poor United States run.
When Thomas Pieters struck his first tee shot at 11.26am local time, the 24‑year‑old became the first European rookie to play in all five sessions since Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Paul Lawrie and Sergio García at the Battle of Brookline in 1999.
Thorbjorn Olesen’s grip on the Turkish Airlines Open is now so tight he would enter golfing legend for all the wrong reasons should he not win.
Out of non-appearance comes opportunity and scope for a fairytale. It was lost in the buildup to the Turkish Airlines Open that Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Martin Kaymer and others’ refusal to participate opened the door for less decorated professionals to earn a life-changing sum. First prize here is £950,000.
Europe’s tormentor in chief may well be afforded special salvation from the same continent. Patrick Reed’s leading role in the USA’s Ryder Cup success at Hazeltine has apparently enhanced the desire of Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, to keep the 26-year-old as part of his business equation.