Ryder Cup: Epic comeback one for the books at Medinah

My report for Crain’s Chicago Business.

Birdies and bogeys from a historic day at Medinah.

Birdie. Medinah Country Club. Aside from the result,  it couldn’t have been a more perfect Ryder Cup.

The weather was a late-September gift, showcasing the city to a worldwide audience. Medinah No. 3 performed beyond expectations. U.S. captain Davis Love III wanted to set up the course for birdies, and there were many of them. But it also penalized for poorly-hit shots, providing the players with the kind of exacting test you want in a big event.

The crowds were huge and Chicago loud, creating a memorable atmosphere. They did give the U.S. a home course advantage. While there always are a few idiots, the crowds generally were respectful.

Chicago embraced the spirit of the Ryder Cup with a passion usually received for late-stage playoff … Continue Reading

Ryder Cup report: U.S. rides ‘rock star’ Bradley; Sunday drama could be lacking for NBC

My report for Crain’s Chicago Business on Day 2 of the Ryder Cup:

Birdie. U.S. Tiger Woods? Who needs Tiger Woods? Never in anyone’s wildest dreams, especially U.S. captain Davis Love III’s, did it seem possible that the Americans could hold a 10-6 lead with Mr. Woods sitting at 0-3 for the matches.

The U.S. played brilliantly in the morning, winning three out of four matches, and only a late European rally in the afternoon prevented things from getting completely out of hand.

Love now has to get his team focused on finishing the job Sunday. If he does, he will be lifting the Ryder Cup on Sunday night.

Bogey. Playing the role of the Chicago Cubs: The European Ryder Cup team.

Jose Maria Olazabal now needs to cue the Ben Crenshaw “I’ve got a good feeling about this” speech from … Continue Reading

Day 1 Ryder Cup TV Coverage: Too much Lee Corso, commercials

Since I was on the course and in the press room, I didn’t see much of ESPN’s presentation of the Ryder Cup Friday.

However, GeoffShackelford.com did, and he wasn’t pleased with ESPN running the Lee Corso-West Virginia commercial 18 times during the telecast.

From Shackelford:

To be clear, the mostly NBC produced pictures, sound and announcing from Friday’s Ryder Cup made the fantastic golf that much better.
Unfortunately, over the course of 11.5 hours, we were actually deprived of coverage.

We all know they have bills to pay, but showing a promo 18 times over the course of 11.5 hours? Obnoxious.

The primary atrocity committed by ESPN and the PGA of America was the call in three instances to leave live, thrilling Ryder Cup golf. Twice they showed a Scott Van Pelt narrated highlight package and most painful of

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Saturday flashback: Calc’s epic meltdown at Kiawah

There’s nothing like the pressure of the Ryder Cup. Especially during the singles on Sunday.

Nobody succumbed to that pressure worse than Mark Calcavecchia. Up 4 with 4 holes to play against Colin Montgomerie during the 1991 Ryder Cup, Calc, the winner of the 1989 British Open, choked–big time. His shank off the tee at 17 ranks among the worst shots in golf history.

Watching it again, you can still feel his pain 21 years later.

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Ryder Cup Birdies and Bogeys: Keegan, U.S., Medinah up; Tiger, Europeans down

Some bonus golf coverage:

Putting on my golf cap for birdies and bogeys on a day when the U.S., Keegan Bradley and Medinah Country Club shined.

Birdie. Davis Love III. All things considered, it was pretty solid opening day for the U.S. team. It could have been a slam dunk if Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker don’t go 0-2, but the U.S. captain will take a 5-3 lead going into Saturday.

As for his decision to play Tiger Woods in the afternoon in fourballs, it was the right move. Even though Woods struggled in the morning, the afternoon format is the place to for players who make a lot of birdies. Mr. Woods did, recording six.

Love, though, has learned his lesson, placing Woods on the bench for Saturday morning’s Foursome matches. I suspect it will be a while before Woods … Continue Reading

Still the best: Dan Jenkins’ Twitter is a must-follow during Ryder Cup

One of the highlights of covering a Ryder Cup is being in the same press room as Dan Jenkins.

At age 82, the Hall of Famer is covering his 1,003,416 major golf tournament, dating back to 543 B.C. Or something like that, as he would say.

Once again, Jenkins is tweeting his thoughts, easily the best thing about Twitter. Make a point of following him at @danjenkinsgd.

Nobody does it better in 140-characters. I told him I won’t be satisfied until I see a tweet referring to Lou Graham, who won the 1975 U.S. Open at Medinah.

Here are some of the best from the best:

One theory why Tiger didn’t sit after the erratic display this morning: Maybe one of those stray drives hit Davis in the head.

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Westwood and Sergio had a dogfight to see which European could … Continue Reading

My First Job: Roger Maltbie tells off producer during first Ryder Cup; Thought his NBC career was over

Roger Maltbie will be working his 11th Ryder Cup for NBC.

However, back in 1991, Maltbie feared his broadcast career was over after his first Ryder Cup.

In today’s My First Job, an on-going series on people’s first forays in the business, Maltbie discusses why he decided to leave the PGA Tour even though he still was exempt to play for several more years.

And Maltbie talks about how he told off the producer in the aftermath of Mark Calcavvechia’s meltdown at Kiawah in 1991. When the confrontation happened, he didn’t expect to be on hand for a second Ryder Cup.

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Roger Maltbie: Announcing came out of the blue. In 1987, NBC tried out a bunch of us at Kapalua. Koch was there. Johnny Miller. Dick Stockton. Irwin. They offered me a job, but I said, ‘No thank you. For what you’re offering me, it doesn’t make sense.’… Continue Reading

On-Course TV reporters get best view for Ryder Cup; Rolfing says ‘favorite event in golf’

This is the story I wrote for the official Ryder Cup program:

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Dottie Pepper was pumped up. Not that she requires much of an energy boost, because as her last name implies, she always is ready for action.

It turns out Pepper is just as feisty as a broadcaster as she was during a stellar playing career. A member of six U.S. Solheim Cup teams, she experienced her first Ryder Cup as an on-course reporter for NBC at the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland. The experience, Pepper said, was exhilarating.

“For me, it was almost as exciting as playing in the Solheim Cup,” Pepper said.

Now she was eagerly awaiting the 2008 Ryder Cup at Vahalla in Louisville. It would be her first on U.S. soil.

But on the eve of the matches, the anticipation suddenly deflated for Pepper. … Continue Reading