By Ann Liguori
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For the first time in the 83-year history of the Ryder Cup, this competition will have to finish on Monday! The 12 singles matches have been moved to Monday and are scheduled to start at 9.05am Wales time (4.05am EST), with the last tee time to begin at 11.17am Wales time (6.17am EST). And the European Team will take a 9 1/2 to 6 1/2 lead into Monday’s singles matches. Europe won five matches on Sunday and tied one.
This rain-drenched, muddy Ryder Cup has been challenging for Wales, who really deserve so much better! The country and the people have been gracious hosts and worked so hard for years to prepare. But the timing of this competition in October (because of the Fed Ex Cup in the U.S.) in this part of the world is questionable and will be debated for months, if not years to come, as Gleneagles in Scotland is set to host the Ryder Cup in 2014.
Heavy rains blanketed the course all Saturday evening and Sunday morning and the session that was suspended on Saturday evening because of darkness was delayed until 1.30pm Wales’s time. The event could never recover from the seven hour rain delay on Friday, the first day of the competition, which wrecked havoc on the schedule from the very start. Weather forecasters say it should be clear on Monday. The conditions on the course were so soaked on Sunday that officials told spectators to stay at home until further notice. At 11am Wales’s time, they opened the gates to the spectators. But officials had to have been concerned about both keeping spectators off the soggy course and injuries to spectators, many who were knee deep in mud and slipping and sliding.
And despite the American team leading 6 points to 4 before the third session resumed on Sunday, the Americans were down in all six of their matches when play resumed Sunday afternoon.
Sunday afternoon, Tiger suffered the worst Ryder Cup defeat in his career. Lee Westwood and Luke Donald crushed Tiger and Steve Sticker, 6 & 5. Westwood and Donald were four up when they resumed on the tenth hole. They birdied holes 10 and 11 to go to six up. Westwood drained a long dramatic birdie on 10. On 11, Stricker missed a short putt for birdie, Donald made his birdie and on to the 12th hole they went. Both teams birdied that one but after parring the 13th hole, with only five holes to play, the match ended, the European team victorious.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy look like they are having the most fun here with the crowd, constantly interacting with them and thanking them for their support. The Northern Irish duo beat Zack Jackson and Hunter Mahan 3&1.
Patraig Harrington and Ross Fisher beat Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson, 2 &1. Johnson has struggled all weekend, losing all three of his matches and missing putts he should have made.
Rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton played their hearts out. When Overton eagled the par four, 8th hole, they could hear his yells in England. Watson and Overton rallied to get the match to all squared on the 14th but Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson prevailed, with birdies on 16 and 18.
Phil Mickelson is now 0 and 3 after he and Rickie Fowler lost to Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer, 2 &1. The Americans rallied when Fowler eagled the par 5, 11th and Phil birdied the 13th, but Mickelson bogied the 14th and Poulter birdied the 15th.
And just when Americans thought we’d get a point today from Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, who were 1 up going into the 18th, Francesco Molinari birdied the 18th to get to all squared. So the Americans will be three points behind when they play their singles matches on Monday.
All of the rain and the havoc it has wrecked on the schedule has been a huge disappointment for the Welsh who have spent years preparing for the global event. Here is a statement released by the people representing The Celtic Manor Resort, owned by Sir Terri Matthews.
Statement from The Celtic Manor Resort
The Celtic Manor Resort shares the disappointment of spectators, patrons and official sponsors that The 2010 Ryder Cup was not completed on schedule because of extreme weather conditions.
An additional 15.4mm of rain on Saturday night and Sunday morning meant a total of 52.2mm (2.04 inches) of rain fell on The Twenty Ten Course between 17.30 on Thursday and 10.00 on Sunday. The average monthly rainfall calculated on the months of September and October is 94mm (3.7 inches) so the equivalent of 55.5 percent of the average monthly rainfall has fallen in less than three days.
Play was able to resume at 13.30, within three and a half hours of the rain easing, thanks to the dedication of a team of 110 green keepers, many of them volunteers, led by Jim McKenzie, Director of Golf Courses at Celtic Manor.
Celtic Manor Resort Chairman Sir Terry Matthews said: “Everybody involved in organising this first Ryder Cup in Wales is deeply disappointed by the weather but our biggest disappointment is for the spectators and sponsors who deserved so much better.
“Their support and enthusiasm for the event despite the disruptions has been extraordinary. The atmosphere on the resumption of play this afternoon was again electric, as it has been throughout this Ryder Cup.
“We could have played this event exactly one year ago or exactly one week ago and we would have experienced no interruptions to the schedule of play, but one thing we cannot control is the weather.
“The fact that around four hours of play was possible on Friday and that the third session is now scheduled to be completed on Sunday is testament to the high quality of the course drainage, and the dedication of Jim McKenzie and his team who have done an unbelievable job.
“We would also like to thank everybody working at the event, particularly the volunteer marshals, for their tireless work in trying conditions and, of course, the spectators once again for their patience. We hope that as many of today’s crowd as possible will be able to return on Monday when the forecast is for better weather. I am sure we are still going to see a fantastic climax to this great sporting occasion.”
In conjunction with Ryder Cup Europe, Ryder Cup Wales and other partners, The Celtic Manor Resort has always had contingency plans for the event extending into Monday and is fully prepared to facilitate a successful conclusion to The 2010 Ryder Cup.