x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Indulging in the de-Twittered dramas of the Ryder Cup

Every two years around this time, I close the curtains, switch on the television and prepare to wallow in the drama of the Ryder Cup. This year, the time difference between the UAE and Wales means I can get my own round of golf in before watching the mighty tussle between Europe and the US.

Sensibly, after the cricket star Kevin Pietersen’s silly rant on Twitter when he was dropped from England’s Twenty20 side, both captains have banned players from sounding off on the social-networking site. Golf is not a natural team sport, but the Ryder Cup is different and the ecstasy witnessed when the winning putt drops is evidence of the incredible bonding it engenders between former rivals.

It has also seen some boorish behaviour, notably at Brookline in 1999 where US supporters cheered missed European putts, especially those of Colin Montgomerie, this year’s UK captain and members of the US team invaded the 17th green after their boy Justin Leonard sank a long putt and before Jose Maria Olazabal had putted out.

If Twitter had existed in those days, full-scale war might have broken out before the end of the tournament. US captain Corey Pavin, one of the worst rabble rousers in his youth, has clearly mellowed, and both he and Montgomerie are determined the cup will be played in the proper spirit.