Thursday 22 February 2018

Rain forces Ryder Cup play to be suspended

Europe's Martin Kaymer of Germany, left, and Lee Westwood of England shelter under umbrellas on the first hole. Photo: PA
Europe's Martin Kaymer of Germany, left, and Lee Westwood of England shelter under umbrellas on the first hole. Photo: PA

Europe today made an excellent start on the opening morning of the Ryder Cup before horrendous conditions brought play to a grinding halt.

Play was suspended at 9:45am after persistent heavy rain left many parts of the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor under water, despite the best efforts of the greenkeeping staff.

There was already standing water on the first fairway before the opening shots were struck at 7:45am, and two more hours of rain meant large puddles on the greens and bunkers which looked more like lakes than sand traps.

Speaking about the decision to suspend play, European vice-captain Darren Clarke said: "It's a tough call with all these people here and everyone watching but I think it's the right call.

"It's going to be a little while before we're back out here."

Europe's players seemed to be coping better with the conditions, with Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer two up on Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the first match after five holes.

Westwood, playing his first competitive round since August 6 after a calf injury, birdied the second and saved par from a saturated bunker on the fourth to win that hole as well.

In match two, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were one up on Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar after four holes, Cink having birdied the second but the home pair winning the first and fourth with pars.

Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher were also one up on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in match three, Woods having got the Americans back level with a birdie on the second but Poulter responding with a long birdie putt on the third.

US captain Corey Pavin had sprung a surprise by putting rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton out in the final match, but Overton responded by holing from off the green at the first for a birdie.

Watson then birdied the second as well to put the American pair two up on Luke Donald and Harrington, those two holes taking an hour to complete.

Speaking before the suspension of play, European captain Colin Montgomerie had said: "I've been told if this was a strokeplay event this might not be taking place.

"Fingers crossed this (play) continues because we don't have much leeway to finish these matches on time.

"It must favour us this weather. It's not fun for anybody but less so for the Americans. Let's just hope it does not get so waterlogged that we can't play."

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