What if they held the Ryder Cup and a ping pong tournament broke out?
I swear, if I hear one more adorable anecdote about Matt Kuchar’s table tennis tenacity or Phil Mickelson rallying the U.S. squad with the swish of his backhand, someone is going to get hurt. The only thing worse: predictably lame jokes about Tiger Woods dominating at cornhole. (Paging Beavis and Butt-head…)
Mercifully, the actual matches – golf matches, that is — get underway Friday morning at Medinah Country Club’s No. 3 course. Given that hordes of Chicagoans have turned out to watch this week’s practices, it’s safe to say the atmosphere will be downright raucous, even by Ryder Cup standards.
A few more predictions on the eve of golf’s most combative event:
- First ping pong reference during ESPN’s Friday telecast: 9 minutes in.
- Average time between ping pong references over the course of three days: 47 minutes.
- Advantage gained by America due to captain Davis Love III’s wide-open course setup: Next to nil. Average 2012 driving distance for the U.S. team: 293.4 yards. For Europe: 292.7. Average driving accuracy, U.S.: 63.13%. Europe: 63.2%.
- Amount of fun fans have watching 24 extraordinary players bomb it all over the yard: Boatloads.
- Tiger Woods’ record: 2-1-1 (Assuming Love sits everyone for one match.)
- Tributes to Seve Ballesteros in the first Ryder Cup since his untimely death in 2011: Not enough.
- Chance of the “Bird Man” showing up: 99.9%
- U.S. MVP: Keegan Bradley
- European MVP: Graeme McDowell
- U.S. unsung hero: Webb Simpson
- European unsung hero: Peter Hanson
- Johnny Miller references to his two Ryder Cup appearances: 7
- Johnny Miller references to his 1973 U.S. Open victory: 82
- Shivers down my spine from watching Rory McIlroy’s breathtaking swing: Too many to count (sigh).
- Odds that everyone in golf will get their wish of a Woods-McIroy singles showdown: 7-1
- Casual slaps by Mickelson at Rees Jones’ redesign work on Medinah: 8
- Replays of Sergio Garcia’s hop-skip-jump during the 1999 PGA Championship on the same course: 37
- Time lapse between Europe’s Cup-clinching putt (should there be one) and Vice Captain Darren Clarke falling off the wagon: However long it takes to open a bottle of Guinness.
- Golf columnists calling for a change in the U.S. points system/captain’s pick process/attitude in the event of a loss: Every single one of them.
- Credit given to Woods and Mickelson for their newfound leadership skills in the event of a U.S. win (regardless of their records): Nearly all of it.
- TV shots of Justin Timberlake: Too many.
- TV shots of Timberlake’s fiancée, Jessica Biel: Too few.
- Final score: U.S. 14 ½ to 13 ½
Headline no one will use, but somebody should, in the event of a U.S. victory: Ping Pong, the Witch is Dead
Daniel Mitchell is a golf writer and Golf-Newz.com contributor who lives in Jupiter, Fla., a few miles from Tiger Woods as the crow flies but worlds away in every other respect. An avid golfer since age 12, Mitchell carries a (shaky) single-digit handicap, investing far more time in his dogs than his swing.
You can read his regular musings at a-gamegolfblog.blogspot.com