Bunker Mentality: Hic hic hooray for Tiger
Eurosport - Mon, 13 Sep 15:44:00 2010
Anybody who has ever seen hit BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey will be well aware of the cheeky sense of humour enjoyed by the residents of South Wales.
So it's only natural that the people of the principality should embrace the impending arrival of the Ryder Cup with a saucy crack at the expense of one or other of the players. And given that the October 1-3 match will see the world's most famous sportsman in action, it's only natural that Tiger Woods should be the first target for a little bit of pre-event fun.
That's where the Vale of Glamorgan brewery comes in. The brewery (based in Barry, home of Gavin and Stacey) has produced a special edition ale to mark the arrival of Tiger in the Principality: the beer, whose logo features a scantily-clad blonde holding a golf ball, goes by the name of 'Tiger Would'.
Some 6,000 pints of the beer have been brewed and will be sold in pubs throughout South Wales, including several in Newport - though it seems pretty unlikely Celtic Manor will be buying in a keg for the week.
"If Tiger Woods saw it I would hope he would still have a sense of humour after all he has been through," said brewer Dave Walbeoff.
Tiger Woods? Exhibiting a sense of humour about the sex scandal that ended his marriage and robbed him of a year of his career? Looks like Dave has been enjoying a bit too much of his own wares...
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Tiger might have to deal with all sorts of jibes at Celtic Manor - but given the year he has had, even a half-decent performance will enable him to head home with his head held high. And even if he loses every match, well... the ignominy of going a year on the US PGA Tour without a victory will hit him far harder than flopping in what many players see as a glorified exhibition match.
But though Woods has nothing invested in success or failure in Newport, things are very different for Colin Montgomerie.
This year's Ryder Cup was set to be Monty's crowning glory. After he blew the opportunity to bury his Major demons on the 72nd hole of the US Open at Winged Foot in 2006, the idea of captaining a European team to Ryder Cup glory on home soil was all that is left for the Scot. The failure of Captain Faldo last time out only set the stage even more perfectly, since a victory would mean regaining the trophy on home soil in front of a partisan crowd.
Yet it all seems to be going horribly wrong. Paul Casey's excellent showing at the weekend makes Monty's decision to pick Padraig Harrington over the Englishman look increasingly idiotic - particularly since Casey has played more golf in Europe this season than Harrington (despite 'contribution to the European Tour' being cited as a factor in Harrington's selection).
Chuck in a suitcase full of personal life problems - including allegations of marital infidelity - and Monty's glorious year risks going flatter than a
BM genuinely hopes it doesn't turn out that way, if not for sheer humanity's sake then for the simple fact that Monty almost single-handedly flew the flag for European golf for the best part of a decade in the 1990s.
Yes, Tiger may be taunted by partisan fans in Wales; but Tiger has nothing to lose and many more years left in which to re-ascend the world of golf.
But for Monty, who has pinned everything on this career pinnacle, a bad week at Celtic Manor would mean a sour end to a great career.
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Scorecard of the week: Martin Kaymer, whose twin rounds of 66 at the tricky Hilversum course in Holland gave him the Dutch Open title by four shots, and suggested that the US PGA Champion's victory at Whistling Straits will launch him to ever greater achievements rather than give him a bed of laurels on which to sit back.
Slap on the back of the week: Dustin Johnson. Robert the Bruce would have proud of the giant-hitting American after he bounced back from devastating near-misses in two Majors this year (an implosion at the US Open, and a rules gaffe at the US PGA) to win the BMW Championship and give himself a great chance of lifting the $10 million prize that comes with the FedEx Cup.
Shot of the week: Johnson's gorgeous wedge to the 17th at Cog Hill to set up victory was good, but Tiger's birdie from under a tree out of thick rough on the 10th was a glorious reminder of just how much golf misses out on when the great man is not on song.