25 Sep 2014

Golf’s great Ryder Cup spectacle – plus Nigel Farage

Europe and the US are ready for battle in golf’s Ryder Cup. Oh, and Ukip leader Nigel Farage has popped up in a pretty odd Paddy Power ad for the contest too.

The world is a precarious place. Britain may be at war by the weekend. Scotland is more divided than ever before. The Queen is not amused with our prime minister and his remarks about purring. The leader of the opposition forgot the deficit. And now, Ukip’s Eurosceptic chief Nigel Farage has come out swinging in support of Europe (see video above).

Just when you thought life couldn’t get any more fractious, Europe and America are set to storm the battlefield tomorrow, for the glory of Gleneagles – at the 40th Ryder Cup.

The solitude and quietness of this Scottish links will be replaced with three glorious days of fist-pumping, chest-bumping, eye-popping, throat-roaring, high-fiving antics by the cream of European and American golf. And we aren’t just talking about Nigel Farage here.

Europe Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (Reuters)

Europe captain Paul McGinley holds the trophy ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup (Reuters)

Greatest spectacle

A quarter of a million golf-mad spectators are expected to descend upon the longest inland course in Scotland for golf’s greatest spectacle taking place this weekend.

“The finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with,” is how course designer and golf legend Jack Nicklaus described the rolling moorland with a feast of breath-taking views over the Perthshire Straths.

The stakes are high on both sides. There is everything to lose but only one 17-inch, four-pound trophy up for grabs. The intensity on the riders, rookies, wild cards and veterans is white hot.

Even the absence of the much-loved Tiger Woods has failed to dampen the mood. The former number one has assured Team USA he will be with them in spirit and will be tuning in from his sickbed to see “how my guys are doing”.

Ryder Cup golf wives and girlfriends (Reuters)

Spectators supporting the US Ryder Cup team (Reuters)

High fashion

The world’s leading players are backed by a glamorous team of wives and girlfriends. The flag-waving GWAGs are on show to support their men and their teams. Fashion stakes are high as star-spangled, face-painted ladies take on their flag-waving European counterparts.

The weather forecast, which calls for passing showers and fresh 15 miles per hour westerly winds, will do little to deter two patriot teams bursting with passion and pride.

Captain Paul McGinley’s men are the overwhelming favourites to retain the coveted Ryder Cup trophy, while rival skipper Tom Watson’s Tiger-less team is made up of secret weapons, street fighters and a man called Rickie with USA engraved on his head.

Yet for this famously unpredictable event, one thing is certain. When this head-turning showdown tees off, smoking their drives to roars from the galleries, a nation will be gripped by the twists, turns, tears and tantrums right down to the barnstorming charge for Ryder Cup glory.

And if you aren’t into golf, at the very least, you – like the rest of the nation – can be nonplussed by the spectacle of one of our leading politicians, a candidate for election in Thanet South and the leader of Ukip, talking about golf, Justin Timberlake and sing/talking 2Unlimited.

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