Scottie Scheffler is used to being the top man: he is ranked number one in the world, finished first in strokes average on the PGA Tour this season – averaging 68.62 – and was also ranked first in the statistical category for finding greens-in-regulation.
However, the Texan ranked only 151st in putting on the US circuit - and that resulted in him sending an SOS to putting guru Phil Kenyon in advance of the Ryder Cup.
Scheffler has been working with Kenyon since his arrival in Rome, which means that the English coach has a foot in both camps, as he is also the long-time putting coach to Tommy Fleetwood.
Not that Fleetwood is in any way put out by his coach aiding and abetting the other side.
“Phil is somebody that’s very close to me from Southport,” said Fleetwood. “I’ve known him for a long time and always very supportive of his career as well as my career. He’s doing his best for his players, of course he is, and then when we’re out there on the golf course, Phil is there, supporting them in their careers.
“Playing a team event this week, I would never wish poorly on anybody, and I’m glad that Phil has the opportunity to work with someone like Scottie and help him along in his career.
“Hopefully his putting takes another week to really get hot,” joked Fleetwood. “I think we all love playing against the best players in the world, and we would like to play them on their best form. It’s just great, and I think it’s an amazing experience for coaches as well as players.
Keeling’s comeback keeps Europe on course
The Junior Ryder Cup – of which the first two days take place at Golf Nazionale before the final day at Marco Simone on Thursday – saw Europe and the United States locked together after a first day of foursomes and mixed foursomes.
Europe, captained by tour player Stephen Gallacher, has not won the competition – which features six boys and six girls on each team – since 2004, when a certain Rory McIlroy was on the team.
This time, Roganstown’s Seán Keeling is the sole Irish player (following in the elite footsteps of McIlroy, Leona and Lisa Maguire and Gavin Moynihan) and the 16-year-old plus-4.4 handicapper teamed up with Scotland’s Connor Graham to produce a quite remarkable turnaround in their foursomes with Jay Leng and Billy Davis, coming from six down at the turn to tie their match.
In the afternoon mixed foursomes, Keeling was paired with Sweden’s Nora Sundberg but lost the 16th and 17th to lose by two holes.
Europe and the USA were tied at 6-6 after the opening day’s play with two sessions (foursomes and fourballs) to be played on Wednesday and 12 singles on Thursday.
“I would not put myself in the same sentence as Abba. All I try to do is play golf and I try to hit as few shots as I can every tournament I play in” – Ludvig Åberg on being compared to the Swedish mega band.
By the numbers: VI
There have been six holes-in-one in the history of the Ryder Cup, with the most recent coming in the 2006 match at The K Club when Scott Verplank holed out at the 14th in his singles match with Pádraig Harrington.