Mayer's Memos From The Ryder Cup - Day 1
Sept. 28, 2010
NEWPORT, Wales - Indiana University head men's golf coach Mike Mayer made the trip to Wales for the 2010 Ryder Cup, serving as Jeff Overton's instructor for the competition. Coach Mayer will be providing IUHoosiers.com with a daily blog during his entire trip.
Overton played at IU from 2002-05 and is making his Ryder Cup debut, playing for Team USA. Here is the first installment of "Mayer's Memos From the Ryder Cup"...
The talk on the team plane coming over to Wales yesterday was definitely all about the Hoosier Nation and all the support shown for Jeff Overton. Absolutely great to see all the Hoosiers on the plane sporting the IU logo and wearing Cream and Crimson. I was very proud to be a Hoosier on that plane. Another big hit were the IU/Overton hats distributed by the IU Varsity Club. The hats were such a big hit that Ryder Cup Assistant Captain Tom Lehman asked me this morning on the driving range to get him one. I am going to deliver one to him in the morning and he promises that he will wear it during tomorrow's practice round. Lehman, a Minnesota grad, is thrilled that there are three former Big Ten golfers playing here this week -- Jeff, Steve Stricker (Illinois) and Luke Donald (Northwestern).
Difficult, to say the least, to get out to the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort from my hotel here in Cardiff. Took about a 30-minute cab ride to the shuttle area and then another 30-minute ride to the resort and then a 30-minute walk to the course. On the return one of our shuttle busses got lost, if you can believe that, then our cab driver got lost coming back to the hotel. Can't imagine what things are going to be like when the compeititon actually get's underway on Friday and 45,000 people try to get back and forth to Celtic Manor.
Jeff was paired with Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, and Stewart Cink in today's opening practice round. All three of Jeff's playing partners had great seasons highlighted by Furyk's Fed Ex Cup win this past weekend in Atlanta. Walking down the first fairway with Jeff and this group was a thrilling experience, one that I will not soon forget.
The Twenty Ten Course opened for play in July of 2007 and was built specifically for the 2010 Ryder Cup. The course is very "Americanized" and should suit the US team pretty well. It is a long course with plenty of water hazards and bunkers and the rough is very, very penal. You must hit the ball in the fairway to have any chance to score well. Greens speeds, by American standards, are pretty slow but that will fit the European squad.
It's interesting to see how the players are adapting to "team" golf after a long tournament season. US Captain Corey Pavin is doing a great job with the process of transforming his squad from 12 individuals into one team. Captain Pavin seemed very at ease today and I think his team will follow the lead of their captain. He walked with Jeff on a few occasions today and I was very impressed with what he had to say ... he fits Jeff very well.
But I digress -- back to the practice round -- Jeff and Kuchar took on Cink and Furyk in a "fun" little match and were, to say the least, dominated. Cink and Furyk ham-and-egged it very well while Kuchar and Jeff were hard pressed to make a putt. Jeff's ball striking was very solid, for the most part, but his normally spot on putting stroke was a little lacking. I went out on the course with him after the round to do a little extra putting practice and he started rolling the ball very well. I hope it continues tomorrow and the rest of the week.
No ideas on Jeff's pairings for the second practice round tomorrow, but wouldn't be suprised if a Tiger was involved. Can't wait to see Lehman walking down the fairway with his IU/Overton hat!
Signing off from Wales for now but promise to return tomorrow.
Check back soon