Last night, before Fergus and I left the media centre we wrote a post on the GM Forum asking if there were any questions that you wanted us to find answers for. Thank you to all those who posted, here are the answers:
Viscount 17: the US are making a lot of noise about their ‘european togetherness’ – does it seems real or hype?
I’d say the Americans look like a far closer unit than I’ve ever seen them before. Everyone here sees them as massive underdogs and Azinger has definitely sent them out with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude. If you ask me (which you did) Tiger not being here has certainly helped them.
Dodger: How fast are the greens?
The American commentators on ESPN seem to think they are slower than the average PGA Tour event. I was amazed by this because they seem just as fast as Augusta’s. If they are a touch slower than the average PGA Tour greens, they are still faster than European Tour greens.
John Findlay: What’s the rough percentage of European fans? Are there lots of them?
On the first tee this morning I reckoned the European fans totalled around 30-40%. However, when you get out onto the course, it feels as if that percentage goes down massively. Perhaps we’re just early risers!
TOMO21: What’s the general feeling about Faldo so far.
In the media centre, the general consensus is that Faldo is acting very strangely. His opening ceremony speech went down like a lead balloon and some of his parings have already been questioned. By contrast, everyone here seems to respect Azinger, especially as he had the balls to play all 12 of his team today. Put it this way, Faldo’s got some serious catching up to do!
Imurg: Are there any obvious tweaks that Zinger has had made to the course to increase home advantage?
In his press conference yesterday Azinger said that he wanted the course to be generous off the tee so that if you finished in the rough, you still had a shot to the green. I’m not too sure if that gives them an advantage but it certainly adds to the exciting birdie-making potential.
HomerJSimpson: Do you sense an undercurrent of over the top patriotism especially with two hometown boys in the team or is the atmosphere fervent but fair?
No. Not yet, at least. So far it’s been really friendly and as Europeans they seem to like it when we cheer. However, it’s still early on day one and there is plenty of beer to be drunk. I think these guys have the potential to get quite feisty… If it’s close on Sunday, I’m sure it’ll get very noisy. But I suppose, after the K Club, what did we expect?
Gil_Emot: Do sports journalists from the rest of Europe give the impression of disliking Faldo as much as the British “journalists” do?
In a word, yes. He’s so strange and the other European seem to pick up on that. Conversely, the Americans seem to quite like his style. Perhaps they know him better than we do??
Tony N: Who was the cheeky chappy to spot the “sandwich list” wasn’t u guys was it?
Good question and the answer is, I’m not sure. However, I suspect it was one of the photographers who then fed it to the press. I could be wrong though.
Theeaglehunter: Is it difficult to actually see any of the players?
This is a real stadium course and to my surprise, it’s remarkably easy to see. There are loads of people here but natural mounding allows for some great vantage points. Every spectator here will have been able to taste the action and the atmosphere. Yesterday Fergus interviewed Terry Matthews, the owner of Celtic Manor and he said some really interesting things about what makes a good Ryder Cup course. You can find the interview on the news pages of this site.