Notes Stewarts Legacy Lives On


04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Payne Stewart's presence is still with the U.S. Ryder Cup team, nearly five years after his death.
Stewart died in a plane crash in 1999, but his memory lives on in the American team room at Oakland Hills.
Captain Hal Sutton brought with him a picture of Stewart, Sutton and David Duval celebrating their 1999 Ryder Cup victory from a balcony at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
It hangs as an homage to the fiery competitor and well-liked teammate who so relished Ryder Cup play.
'I felt like everybody needed to remember Payne,' Sutton said Wednesday. 'He has a prominent spot in our team room this week.'
The picture was the first thing Davis Love III saw when he walked into the room this week.
'Every time we play one of these we think about him,' Love said, 'because he should have been captain, he should have played on another couple teams.'
Stewart, who had an 8-9-2 record in five Ryder Cups, died a month after his U.S. team rallied for the improbable win at Brookline.
Now the event is back on U.S. soil for the first time since Stewart's death.
Stewart's mantle as a practical jokester and comic relief seems to have fallen to rookie Chris Riley, who has kept things light with his youthful exuberance.
But Love said no one can replace Stewart.
'He is missed in the team room, he's missed as a competitor,' said Love, who was paired with Stewart in the morning foursomes at Brookline. 'He was a bright spot ... We don't have enough Payne Stewart, Chris Riley-type players out there.'
Proud Papa
American Chris Riley was grinning ear-to-ear as he walked into the media room on Wednesday.
The Ryder Cup rookie proudly showed off pictures of his daughter, Taylor, who was born Sept. 2.
The affable Riley had trouble coming up with words to describe the experience of becoming a parent for the first time, so he offered up a gem of an anecdote that captured the moment.
'I asked the doctor if I was able to cut the umbilical cord and she told me, 'Chris, you can't even sign your name right now. I'm not going to let you cut the umbilical cord,' Riley said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
'To be a father,' Riley said, shaking his head. 'I can't stop kissing my little baby, it's unbelievable.'
Tough Memories
Davis Love III returned to Oakland Hills for the first time since the 1996 U.S. Open, and he was very familiar with two of the holes during his first practice round.
'Certainly,' Love said, 'I remembered 17 and 18 very well.'
Those two holes cost Love the U.S. Open. He was at 3 under par and tied for the lead in the final round when he missed the green on the par-3 17th and made bogey. Then, Love had a downhill, 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, but it somehow stayed above the hole by some 3 feet, and he missed that for another bogey.
He wound up one shot behind Steve Jones.
'The memories are coming back,' Love said Wednesday. 'The worst memory I have is sitting in the room watching the guys finish, knowing I should have finished better. But any time you play good on a golf course, you feel comfortable. And I feel comfortable here.'
Love got to the 18th during his first practice round and decided against returning to the spot of his 20-foot putt.
'I didn't want to go and putt,' he said. 'But I thought about it.'
Dress Code
Ian Poulter has made no secret of his disdain for stodgy golf attire.
But the 28-year-old Englishman has no problem complying with the European team's conservative look this week.
'I'm happy to wear any uniform this week, no matter what it is,' Poulter said. 'Whether it be funky pullovers or nicely tailored trousers, I really don't mind.'
Poulter caused quite a stir at the British Open when he showed up in Union Jack trousers that elicited cat calls from some and complaints from others.
European captain Bernhard Langer said he knew Poulter's eagerness to play in his first Ryder Cup would outweigh his need to make a fashion statement.
'You know, it might not be totally his choice what he's wearing, but he's so happy to be here that he'll put his legs into anything and put any shirt on that he's going to be given to look like the team,' Langer said.
Caddie Prank
It didn't take long for Steve Williams to realize the joke was on him.
The caddie for Tiger Woods is a race car driver in New Zealand, and last year he signed a deal with Valvoline to wear its logo on his sleeve while carrying Woods' bag.
All 12 players, and 11 other caddies showed up at the team photo session with a small Pennzoil patch on the left sleeve.
The patch was removed before the official photo was taken.
The security presence at Oakland Hills was understated, but unavoidable.
Security officers dressed in all black carefully inspected each bus that brought fans to the course from the Silverdome in nearby Pontiac. The officers checked under each bus and around the wheel wells for anything suspicious.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said he didn't see a need for anything more.
'I was at the Democratic National Convention where people were dressed in full military gear, with M-16s and helmets,' Kilpatrick said. 'I just don't think we need it here.'
Related Links:
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  • European Ryder Cup Team

  • Full Coverage - 35th Ryder Cup

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