Grinding out 12 hours of Solheim viewing

Morgan Pressel lines up a putt during the afternoon fourballs on Day 1 of the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle.


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Thoughts from a long, long day of Solheim Cup viewing:

2:41 a.m. ET – The first-tee announcer says Maria Hjorth is on the tee to lead off morning foursomes. That comes as a surprise to Cristie Kerr, whose peg already is in the ground. Apparently even the announcer has first-tee jitters.

2:47 – Golf Channel anchor Rich Lerner misidentifies Brittany Lincicome as Paula Creamer. Everybody seems to have Solheim Cup jitters.

2:50 – Lerner’s introduction ends with a shot of the Solheim Cup sitting in the high fescue. Does anyone else think it’s odd that the trophy is sitting in the middle of a field?

3:27 – “It’s incredibly cold out here,” on-course reporter Phil Parkin said. “I’ve got five layers on and I’m still frozen.” How cold was it? Who knows. Would it be too much to ask someone to tell us the temperature and wind chill? In Fahrenheit, please.

3:45 – I’m distracted by Melissa Reid’s platinum locks. They remind me of Billy Idol. I can’t get this image out of my head of Reid dancing down the fairway singing “White Wedding.”

3:46 – GC’s Tom Abbott says he played at Killeen Castle in May. “The putting surfaces were so pure,” he recalls. “They were pristine. It’s like nobody had ever played on them before.” There might be more truth to that than you realize, Tom. Can you imagine tourists’ thought process: “Hmmm, should I play Royal County Down or . . . Killeen Castle?”

4:28 – There seems to be a Shake Weight commercial at every break. I briefly consider calling the toll-free number.

4:37 – Abbott goes to break saying “there’s plenty of great golf still to come.”

4:40 – Coming out of the break, Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist three-putt from 12 feet. I’m guessing that’s not the great golf Abbott had in mind.

4:44 – On-course announcer Jerry Foltz to Lerner: “Rich, you said you can get four seasons in a day here?” Lerner: “Yeah.” Foltz: “When does summer get here?” When will someone tell us the temperature?

5:12 – Analyst Jane Crafter refers to Nordqvist’s layup on 12 as “curious strategy.” Four minutes later, Nordqvist’s playing partner, Maria Hjorth, dunks the third shot in the stream fronting the 12th green. An exasperated Crafter can’t take anymore: “Goodness gracious, I just think that was completely the wrong strategy for Nordqvist. There was plenty of room to miss (the second shot) left.” Nordqvist then shanks the pitch into the stream. That’s probably not the “great golf” that Abbott envisioned either.

6:16 – Crafter and Val Skinner speculate on why Karen Stupples’ husband is not caddying for her, as he usually does. Skinner: “Sometimes you need a husband and not a caddy. Maybe this week that was the appropriate fit.” Crafter: “Yeah.” This just feels awkward speculating as to why Stupples’ husband is not on her bag.

7:06 – Here’s a sequence on 18 that encapsulates the morning foursomes: Stupples chunks her pitch to the green. Melissa Reid shanks the recovery shot. Paula Creamer blows her birdie putt about 15 feet past the hole. Stupples chips the fifth shot across the green into the rough. At this point, I briefly contemplate switching from coffee to Bloody Marys.

8:12 – Anchor Terry Gannon, who had the morning off, tells us that Ryann O’Toole “is a player who came here to win.” Ugh. C’mon, Terry, you’re better than that. Resorting to tired cliches on the first hole is not a good sign.

8:23: Analyst Dottie Pepper: “The condition of the golf course is fabulous. I honestly don’t know if I’ve seen a golf course manicured this well since ’98 at Muirfield Village.” This prompts two thoughts. First, isn’t this just where we wanted to see the Solheim Cup played – on a perfectly groomed, American-style course near Dublin? Second, I’ll take seriously the commentary on course maintenance the moment that an analyst tells me a course is not in fabulous condition.

8:34: Abbott says hello to Pepper. I mention this just because it amuses me each time I hear Abbott say “Dottie” in his proper, clipped British accent.

10:13 – Abbott notes that Christina Kim “has not been playing particularly well this year, but you sort of throw the form books out the window when you arrive at the Solheim Cup, Dottie.” Pepper: “You do, but it gives us something to talk about.” I’m reminded of how much I loathe all of those pre-tournament prognostications that are made with such conviction, then quickly forgotten when don’t pan out.

10:49 – Doesn’t the black sheet behind the players as they’re interviewed seem kind of tacky for such a big event? Couldn’t they find a nice clubhouse setting with lots rich woods and leather to do the interviews?

11:15 – Abbott: “If you’re thinking about coming and playing golf in Ireland, you want it to be blowing on the links courses and these lovely inland parkland courses.” Who goes to Ireland to play parkland courses, even if they are lovely?

1:00 – Extended Solheim Cup coverage bumps coverage of the Tour Championship. Don’t get used to it, ladies.

1:13 – Rookie Ryann O’Toole makes her fifth birdie to square her fourball match on 17. It’s a reminder: Always choose talent over experience.

1:35 – Parkin, interviewing Christina Kim and O’Toole, says he was concerned some of their boisterous chest bumps might cause an injury. O’Toole points to Kim’s chest: “Cushion.”

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