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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
US practice upsets Ryder Cup fans
Tiger Woods and Tom Lehman
Woods and Lehman confer at the US team's practice session
The United States team were booed by frustrated spectators as strong winds disrupted their plans on the second day of practice for the Ryder Cup.

The US team, playing as a group of 12 rather than in pairs, chose not to play off tees at the longer holes, preferring to work on approach shots.

The decision meant they disappointed the fans waiting at the first tee.

"We left everybody sitting in the stands by the first tee waiting. It was a mistake," said US captain Tom Lehman.

The US team played from about 150 yards on the par fours and from 200 yards on the par fives.

"It's a fun thing to do when the weather is bad - we just had a bit of a game from 150 yards in," said Lehman.

Our blogger Matt Slater at the rain-hit K Club

In contrast, European captain Ian Woosnam, who made several changes to his pairings, was keen for his players to play, although he gave them the option of remaining indoors.

"The weather is bad, and I can understand that some guys don't want to go out and ruin their swings," he said.

"But looking at the forecast, it might be the calmest day for a while. It will give them an idea of what it will be like over the next few days.

"And also there's 40,000 fans who have paid a lot of money to come and see the golfers."

Only Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood were kept together from the pairs which practised together on Tuesday.

Europe's Darren Clarke chips out of the bunker during practice
Clarke was kept together with friend Lee Westwood

Paul Casey teamed up with David Howell, while Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, and Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie were also paired.

Henrik Stenson and Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal and Robert Karlsson made up the remaining partnerships.

Europe's pairings are expected to form the basis of the foursomes which will take place on Friday afternoon.

"I still haven't made my mind up," said Woosnam.

"I'm going to go out with the four strongest pairs, if that includes rookies then so be it. I want the strongest team out there."

Foursomes play features two players from each team playing with one ball, with the pair taking alternate shots.

Group 1: Jose Maria Olazabal and Robert Karlsson, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald
Group 2: Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and David Howell
Group 3: Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, Henrik Stenson and Paul McGinley

Woosnam asked his players to practise in a foursome-type format, but with all the players driving off the tee before then playing the ball of the other player.

He said it was designed to give players a feel for which holes suit their style of play either off the tee or with iron shots, and also get them accustomed to striking golf balls they are not used to playing with.

Woosnam said the adverse weather could be an advantage for his side.

"I would have to say the weather does favour us," he said.

"We've played much more in these conditions than the Americans. The air is heavier here and if you slice or draw the ball, it goes twice as far. It's a big factor.

But world number one Tiger Woods insisted the US would hold their own whatever the weather.

"We've played in bad weather all around the world, so that's not anything new," he said.

"I certainly have and all of the guys who have been involved in golf know that you have to be able to play through conditions like this.

"It's all about the quality of ball-striking, controlling your flight. That's something all these guys can do."





Ryder Cup: Wednesday photos
20 Sep 06 |  Golf


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