Euros hope to hear the sounds of silence

When the Ryder Cup is held in the United States, fans of the European team, though decidedly in the minority, have always managed to make themselves seen and heard with colorful costumes, leather-lunged cheering and the incessant singing of “Ole, ole, ole.”

This week, though, European fans are going to be outnumbered to an even greater degree at Whistling Straits because of COVID-related restrictions, the cost of air travel and a hesitancy on the part of many to put up with the increased hassles of international travel.

Some of that is reflected in reports that prices of Ryder Cup tickets on the secondary market have dropped significantly in recent weeks. Though the Ryder Cup is technically a sellout, ticket brokers had plenty of inventory on hand on the eve of the matches.

The European players are prepared for less support on foreign soil than is usually the case. Spain’s Sergio Garcia said it would be important for the Euros to try to silence the heavily pro-U.S. galleries with their play.

“Obviously, when we’re in the U.S., we are always outnumbered when it comes down to that,” he said. “But this year is going to be even more. You can look at it two ways. … You can feed off the energy that their crowd is going to have, and also you can feed off your good moments and how (U.S. fans) will get quiet and how you can quiet their crowds.

“I think it’s going to be important for everyone to know that when the course is quiet, this is a good thing for Europe.”

Whistling Straits scouting report

When he studied the analytics from recent Ryder Cups, U.S. captain Steve Stricker said one thing that stood out to him was how many holes the Americans lost with bogeys.

Perhaps it was a hint that Whistling Straits will be set up to maximize his players’ firepower while emphasizing bogey avoidance. Stricker visited the Straits several times over the last two years and made recommendations to Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer for the PGA of America and the man in charge of course set-up for the Ryder Cup.

The Sweet Spot expects to see accessible hole locations, generous fairway widths (especially in the landing areas at 300-325 yards) and manageable rough. Also, the greens probably will be soft, and faster than they were in Paris in 2018.

Here’s what we do know about the Straits, per the tournament fact sheet from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America:

Par is 71 and the official yardage is 7,355. The creeping bentgrass greens will be cut to .100 of an inch, the tees to .312, the fairways to .400 and the fine fescue rough to 2½-4 inches. There are 23 acres of fairway and the average green size is 7,000 square feet.

Chris Zugel, the director of golf course maintenance, will have 42 employees and 60 tournament volunteers working daily on the Straits.

MKE Fellows get insider perspective on Ryder Cup

The PGA of America is providing unique Ryder Cup access to members of the MKE Fellows initiative, which encourages talented students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in Milwaukee to pursue and complete their college educations.

MKE Fellows will receive an onsite tour of the Ryder Cup’s inner workings at Whistling Straits and will attend PGA WORKS Beyond the Green, a first-of-its-kind event. Students interested in careers in the golf industry can connect with industry professionals and get a behind-the-scenes look at Ryder Cup operations.

“This wonderful opportunity … can certainly open new doors for our Fellows who might not have ever considered a career in golf,” said John W. Daniels III, executive director of MKE Fellows. “This relationship is already delivering tangible results and positively benefitting young African American men in the Milwaukee area.”

You, too, can own the official dress shoe of the Ryder Cup

For a limited time, Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds, deemed “The Official Dress Shoe of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team,” is making its limited-edition Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford available to the public.

For $395, you can buy the handsome mahogany dress shoe that the U.S. players will wear at the Ryder Cup opening ceremony.

The Oxford has been customized for the occasion with the Ryder Cup logo embossed on the premium calfskin insole. The shoes are available in extended sizes (5-16) and widths (4A-EEE) for a limited time on the company’s website.

Ryder Cup even has an official vodka

When it comes to the Ryder Cup, which has a global audience and is golf’s most lucrative event, there’s a corporate partnership for every occasion.

To wit, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has been named the official supplier and the official vodka of the Ryder Cup.

“We’re incredibly excited to add a special brand like Tito’s to what should be a spectacular celebration of golf at Whistling Straits,” said Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America and former general manager and director of golf for Kohler Co.

Thirteen years later, we’re still talking about the ‘pod system’

Paul Azinger has gotten a lot of mileage out of the “pod system” he created in 2008, which is credited for helping the U.S. Ryder Cup team upset the Europeans at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Now comes “Cracking the Code,” a documentary that focuses on Azinger’s strategy to select and structure the U.S. team. The documentary, narrated by actor Josh Duhamel, debuts at 8 p.m. Monday on Golf Channel.

Azinger enlisted the help of sports psychologist Ron Braund and used personality tests and the now-famed “pod system” to structure the U.S. team. Stricker was among the players interviewed for the piece.

Tap-ins, lip-outs and double-breakers

NBA star and scratch golfer Stephen Curry will be among the analysts calling the action at the Ryder Cup. His announcing role is part of a new partnership between Comcast NBCUniversal and Curry’s Unanimous Media. The Golden State Warriors’ star has made a couple of starts on the Korn Ferry Tour but has not made a 36-hole cut. …Speaking of Korn Ferry, the tour returns to Chicagoland in 2022 with the NV5 Invitational presented by First Midwest Bank at The Glen Club in Glenview. The dates are May 26-29. … “Carrying On,” a feature-length documentary film that profiles the work of the nonprofit Caddie School for Soldiers (CSS) will premiere at 6 p.m. Wednesday in an open-air special event stage located at the Shops at Woodlake, 725 Woodlake Rd., Kohler. The general public is invited to attend the event free of charge. Light food and beverages will be available for purchase. … Norm Macdonald, a “Saturday Night Live” legend and golf geek, died Sept. 14 after a nine-year battle with cancer. He was 61. Macdonald was a fan of Tiger Woods and often attended major championships to watch him play. In The Sweet Spot’s opinion, Macdonald anchoring SNL’s “Weekend Update” was comedy gold.

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