Ryder Cup 2018: Philip Reid’s Le Golf National diary

Irish Times golf correspondent keeps us up to date from his base in the French capital

The yellow ribbon worn by Team Europe has the name of Celia Barquín written on them in tribute to the young Spanish golfer who was killed last week. Photograph: PA

The yellow ribbon worn by Team Europe has the name of Celia Barquín written on them in tribute to the young Spanish golfer who was killed last week. Photograph: PA

 

Europe’s first impressions are hilarious

Thomas Bjorn got rid of his fiery on-course persona to play a joke of his own on his European team at their first official get-together on Monday night. The Dane told his men to settle into their seats for a “serious video” that he wanted them to watch . . . and instead had them rolling off their chairs with laughter as he showed them a 10-minute clip put together by impressionist Conor Moore, who hails from Westmeath.

Moore took it in turns to play each one of the 12 players, and also impersonated Bjorn himself, using a shower cap as an aid for the Dane’s bald head.

A regular contributor to the Golf Channel, Moore’s video was specially made for the European team and won’t be shown publicly. So we had to rely on the players to divulge who Moore managed to ace.

“I got away lightly, I’ve just got hair to talk about,” revealed Tommy Fleetwood, who felt Moore’s impression of Francesco Molinari (left) was “absolutely spot on . . . just how deadpan he was and trying to make out how excited he was. It has made me giggle for 10 hours now.”

Ribbons to honour murdered golfer

Those blue and yellow ribbons on the shirts of European team members aren’t fashion accessories, they’re far more meaningful: the ribbons are in memory of Celia Barquin Arozamena, the young Spanish player who was murdered when playing in Iowa a fortnight ago.

Bjorn said: “The golfing family extends way beyond what we are trying to do this week, and those events in America with Celia being killed playing golf is something that has has hit everybody. We felt after a conversation from Ryder Cup Europe with Celia’s mother that we would honour her here this week. It’s nothing about us, just more about the golfing family that gets touched by these things all over the world. It is terrible when things like this happen.”

In numbers: 1/6

Tommy Fleetwood’s career appearances on the Albatros Course for the French Open make for interesting analysis. In six appearances Fleetwood made the cut only once . . . in 2017, when he won the tournament. That breakout win defied logic as he had missed the cut in four previous appearances, and again missed the weekend on his defence of the title earlier this season.

In words

“I always say he is the one guy I’ll pay money to watch play because he’s always quality” – Thomas Bjorn speaking about . . . no, not Tiger Woods, actually Rory McIlroy.

Furyk has bags of praise for the bagmen

USA captain Jim Furyk has involved his team’s caddies – including Ulsterman Ricky Elliott (right), who will be on Brooks Koepka’s bag for a second straight Ryder Cup – in his advance planning, and even took them out as a group for dinner during the recent BMW Championship at Aronimink in Philadelphia.

“I let them know they were valued, valued by us as captains.

“Their player relies on them 52 weeks a year, and I wanted some feedback, some input.

“I wanted them to help me do the best job I could for the team . . . the prep work [they do] and to see their work in the yardage books, you just can’t replace it.

“The players will be under the most stress they have been, a lot of them, all year. To have that confidant [by] their side is comforting,” said Furyk of the role the bagmen play in the match.

Weather Eye

The weather is said to be fair for the Paris region for the duration of the match, with zero threat of lightning and mainly dry weather forecast for all three days of play.

Although temperatures are set to tip 24 degrees for tomorrow’s final day of practice at Le Golf National, a cooler prospect for the match itself will see temperatures dip to 21 degrees for Friday’s opening sessions. and drop further to 19 degrees on Saturday, and 18 degrees for Sunday’s singles.

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