Friday, October 01, 2010

Pavin overcomes Cinking feeling

Nick Faldo got it wrong and didn't have the class to make amends; Corey Pavin got it wrong and won a few more friends in the Valleys of Wales and beyond.

The highlight of an opening ceremony that was more efficient than extravagant for the 38th staging of the Ryder Cup was undoubtedly when Pavin forgot one of his players - a former champion nonetheless - when he announced the American team to the crowd and a worldwide audience.
After presenting Tiger Woods to a cheer that was second only to Colin Montgomerie in terms of noise, Pavin missed out Stewart Cink, last year's Open Championship winner, and announced the name of Rickie Fowler, the last man in the line, instead.
As Pavin looked out from the stage to tell the fans that was his team, Cink was popping his head out past the line of team-mates and eventually caught his captain's eye.
It was a potentially embarrassing moment for Pavin but he handled it exceptionally well, asking the crowd to give "a special round of applause" for Cink as he got to his feet.
There was no such slip from his opposite number as Montgomerie, who was given one of those receptions that give you goosebumps, did his bit in the professional way we all expected following the gaffes by his successor at Valhalla two years ago.
"Without question, this is the proudest moment in my golfing career," declared the Scot before going on to say he had confidence his team would be playing with "heart and passion".
Like it or not, the wives and girlfriends are a big part of Ryder Cups these days and, on this occasion, the lovely ladies were actually up on the stage alongside the players and officials.
Both captains paid particular thanks to their wives for the help and support they'd given them over the past 18 months or so.
Montgomerie, in fact, went out of his way to give "my loving wife Gaynor" a serious name check.
While the Americans like to go for a bit of razzamatazon occasions like these, the Welsh dish was simple but, at the same time, palatable. Katherine Jenkins, wearing red, of course, sang beautifully, while the American players, in particular, were also transfixed by a stirring rendition of 'The Land Of My Fathers' by male voice choir Only Men Aloud.
Despite Pavin's blunders, it was an opening ceremony that had winners all round. The Americans, though, can expect something a lot different in terms of a greeting when they step on to the first tee today with its stadium-like grandstand for 2000 fans.



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