Saturday, October 16, 2021

Ryder Cup: Saturday’s tee time ahead of final day

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Viewers tuning in to the 2019 Ryder Cup on US broadcaster NBC are in for a treat.

Their choice of Saturday afternoon tee time at Le Golf National is also a gem. The winning team gets to tee off at 12:40 BST on the final day while on European side it’s not until 1:45 when the other two team’s begin.

The not-so-long-awaited match-up of Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau is taking place at 8:40 that afternoon. The Americans are aiming to come out on top for a third time at the Ryder Cup.

But as three of the most famous teams in sport are meeting up over the next three days, fans can begin gearing up for Sunday’s European point at 1:00.

How did they make it happen?

British-born Ryder Cup manager Ralph Rodgers was the brain behind Saturday scheduling. He was in charge of BBC Radio 5 live and his radio show, Football World Thursday, at the time of the meeting at Le Golf National.

“We decided to take a tougher path in the final day and take the USA side straight to the 18th,” Rodgers told BBC Sport.

“We’re never saying you’re going to get extra time, but that’s the only way you can get some extra time. We did our preparation.

“I didn’t go to the players’ room, because they were down in the practice. I got a call at half four to say we were going to an meeting and the boys knew it was on.

“I said, ‘I’ve got a thought’, so I went to the practice range and they were in there. I had them in the room for about a half an hour and I said ‘I really feel that it’s going to be important for you to get your preparation in.’ So we did.”

The top qualifiers – first picks from each country – picked at a captains meeting the day before each team’s arrival in France.

“You start throwing out the names and the momentum starts to build and we all go to the practice sessions.

“It’s an awkward business, but I think we are all relieved to see everybody, to shake hands and see everyone come to visit. The atmosphere in Paris is huge and the enthusiasm the guys will have and the fans. It’s going to be fantastic.”

A tie that no-one needs

There was little-to-no cause for tension between the two sides. The USA walked off with an emphatic, 11 to 8, victory in the 2016 Ryder Cup in Hazeltine, Minnesota.

But it is just the set-up, which essentially serves as a tie, that could make it more of a game.

“We have one point each in the bag at the moment and what happened at Hazeltine is a victory for the USA and no-one in the team should feel any pressure to get that one point,” said Rodgers.

There is now the possibility that Europe can go three for three at the Ryder Cup.

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