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Ryder Cup diary: Michael Jordan makes entrance while putting punter cashes in

Rafa Cabrera Bello is temporarily forgotten; there’s an Irishman in the American ranks; and Prince is a popular playlist choice

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a golf fanatic and has previously held an honorary role for the USA’s Ryder Cup team.
Photograph: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

Jordan shows colours again

Michael Jordan’s place as a Ryder Cup vice-captain was one of the more bizarre, and unsuccessful, attempts by the USA in recent times to reverse fortunes. Jordan no longer occupies such a berth but remains a golf fanatic who is regularly seen playing at the Bears Club in Florida. Jordan also remains captivated by the Ryder Cup, it seems. He was back on property at Hazeltine on Friday, bedecked in American colours and a bucket hat but in the relatively cheap seats of a corporate area. Passers-by could not exactly miss him.

García appears to go it alone

Europe were facing a tough enough challenge in on Friday afternoon’s fourball session without the unwitting intervention of the official Ryder Cup app. There, timings were initially posted when showing Sergio García playing on his own against JB Holmes and Ryan Moore at 12.45. The matter was thankfully resolved before his Spanish compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello had time to take offence.

Irishman Elliott in USA ranks

There is a little-known European participant in this week’s USA team. Ricky Elliott, the caddie for Brooks Koepka, hails from Northern Ireland and is a lifelong friend of Graeme McDowell. Elliott has forged a successful partnership with Koepka, whose road to the Ryder Cup is worthy of immense credit given a season hampered by injury. “I’ve spent half my life over here,” Elliott explains. “You’re still always from where you’re from but I’m pleased as punch to be an American citizen.”

Prince popular on playlist

The music of local hero Prince has been omnipresent at this Ryder Cup: overheard in the merchandise tent, performed by the Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division Red Devils Band at Thursday’s opening ceremony and even deployed on television as the bumper music for Sky Sports’ coverage. But the ongoing tribute reached a high note early on Friday morning when Let’s Go Crazy blared from the loudspeakers by the opening tee as the first playing group went through their final preparations, whipping the thousands of fans that packed the grandstands into a frenzy amid chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and “I believe that we will win!” that could probably be heard from Paisley Park, the late musician’s estate and studio located only minutes away and open for tours as of next week.

Mickelson hits right note

“Lefty” went off-brand early on Friday morning when Phil Mickelson’s drive off the 6th tee drifted out of bounds and Rickie Fowler’s re-tee ended up in the rough against a fence. That forced Mickelson to invert a wedge and take the shot right-handed. The ball wound up trickling through a fan’s legs and the American pair would concede the hole, but they scored birdies to win the next three en route to a stirring fightback that sealed the US team’s morning sweep.

Fan makes most of 15 minutes

A spectator named David Johnson provided one of the week’s lighter stories on Thursday when he was pulled from the crowd to attempt a 12ft putt on a $100 bet from Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, sinking the putt and punctuating the moment with a hearty fist pump. On Friday the North Dakotan was back on the grounds at Hazeltine – this time signing autographs and posing for photographs with fans. Milk it while you can.


Source: Michael Jordan

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