Just a Breeze in a Hurry

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36th Ryder Cup MatchesIts going to be a war.
 
Of attrition.
 
Thankfully, weve gotten past all those golf-as-real-war metaphors that surfaced so prominently and inappropriately at the 1991 Ryder Cup.
 
Remember? The so-called War By The Shore at Kiawah. Players wearing fatigues. That sort of stuff.
 
The Ryder Cup that begins Friday at The K Club near Dublin in The Republic of Ireland looks like it will be about a different kind of fatigue.
 
The three-day crucible that is the Ryder Cup is always an enervating experience for the players, the coaches and even the fans. But this time the weathermen all are predicting foul weather in the form of unrelenting rains and high winds.
 
Its going to make for interesting theater on a parkland golf course built on heavy soil that, by the way, may struggle to hold all the water. But its going to be an endurance contest for the players. Especially the ones who have to play twice a day and/or five matches in three days.
 
Were talking about mental and emotional fatigue. Survival of the fittest bodies and the fittest minds. Somewhere Tiger Woods is smiling.
 
The last time the Americans won this thing was in 1999 at Brookline when they routed the Euros in the Sunday singles because Euro captain Mark James troopser players.were spent by the time the final day arrived.
 
This time more attention will have to be paid to the toll that will be extracted by pressure, long days, long delays and the stops and starts that go with it.
 
Captains Lehman and Woosnam will be well-served to try and avoid using players for all five matches. Woods and Furyk, well-conditioned and proven grinders, can handle maximum usage. Nobody on the Euro side jumps out at me in a similar obvious way.
 
As the matches wear on, pay close attention to this dynamic. Meanwhile, dont be fooled by all the quaint Irish stereotypes you will hear this week.
 
One of my favorites is the notion that Irishmen are so used to playing in gales that they have taken to referring to high winds as merely a breeze in a hurry.
 
The high winds and pelting rain forecast for the K Club wont be anywhere near that amusing for the participants. This thing is going to be a test of will'even more so than usual'from beginning to end.
 
The Americans, more than ever (and despite Tigers 7-11-2 career Ryder Cup record) should be glad to have Woods on their side.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder Cup