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James Lawton: The sound of Ryder Cup rain drowned out by aroma of greed

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The 18th fairway is waterlogged as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

The 18th fairway is waterlogged as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

USA captain Corey Pavin (left) and Europe captain Colin Montgomerie (centre) look on during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

USA captain Corey Pavin (left) and Europe captain Colin Montgomerie (centre) look on during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Rui Vieira

USA's Tiger Woods during a practice round at Celtic Manor, Newport

USA's Tiger Woods during a practice round at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

Lisa Pavin, wife of USA Captain Corey Pavin during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lisa Pavin, wife of USA Captain Corey Pavin during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

David Davies

2010 Ryder Cup, Day 1, Morning Fourballs. 1/10/2010Europe vs USAGraeme McDowell of Europe hits his drive on the 2nd hole

2010 Ryder Cup, Day 1, Morning Fourballs. 1/10/2010Europe vs USAGraeme McDowell of Europe hits his drive on the 2nd hole

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ross Fisher of Europe hits his approach to the 6th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Ross Fisher of Europe hits his approach to the 6th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

 Ian Poulter of Europe hits a shot to the 9th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Ian Poulter of Europe hits a shot to the 9th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

Luke Donald of Europe walks with Padraig Harrington (R) during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Luke Donald of Europe walks with Padraig Harrington (R) during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Ross Fisher of Europe tees off on the 7th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Ross Fisher of Europe tees off on the 7th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

Tiger Woods of the USA hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Tiger Woods of the USA hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

Ross Fisher of Europe reacts to a missed putt on the 10th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Ross Fisher of Europe reacts to a missed putt on the 10th green during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

General View as Europe Team Captain Colin Montgomerie rides in a buggy during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

General View as Europe Team Captain Colin Montgomerie rides in a buggy during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Bubba Watson of the USA and Padraig Harrington of Europe shake hands with their caddies during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Bubba Watson of the USA and Padraig Harrington of Europe shake hands with their caddies during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Luke Donald of Europe walks across the 5th green with caddie John McLaren during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Luke Donald of Europe walks across the 5th green with caddie John McLaren during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Tiger Woods of the USA hits from a bunker on the 7th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Tiger Woods of the USA hits from a bunker on the 7th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

Martin Kaymer of Europe tees off during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Martin Kaymer of Europe tees off during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Ross Kinnaird

Europe Team Captain Colin Montgomerie looks on during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Europe Team Captain Colin Montgomerie looks on during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Stewart Cink of the USA look on during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Rory McIlroy of Europe (L) and Stewart Cink of the USA look on during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andrew Redington

A golf fan's muddy attire during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

A golf fan's muddy attire during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

A USA fan with a flag is seen as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

A USA fan with a flag is seen as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andy Lyons

Padraig Harrington of Europe waits on the second hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Padraig Harrington of Europe waits on the second hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Jamie Squire

Dustin Johnson of the USA hits the opening shot on the 1st hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Dustin Johnson of the USA hits the opening shot on the 1st hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Sam Greenwood

Rory McIlroy of Europe signs autographs as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Rory McIlroy of Europe signs autographs as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andrew Redington

Graeme McDowell  of Europe hits his 2nd shot on the 8th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Graeme McDowell of Europe hits his 2nd shot on the 8th hole during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

Andrew Redington

Ryder Cup 2010, Celtic Manor

Ryder Cup 2010, Celtic Manor

David Davies

Europe's Lee Westwood tees off from the 8th during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Europe's Lee Westwood tees off from the 8th during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

Europe's Lee Westwood tees off from the 11th during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Europe's Lee Westwood tees off from the 11th during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

Europe's Martin Kaymer tees off in front of the setting sun during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Europe's Martin Kaymer tees off in front of the setting sun during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

Spectators walk in the thick mud during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Spectators walk in the thick mud during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

A Ryder Cup golf ball sat in a puddle on day one  during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

A Ryder Cup golf ball sat in a puddle on day one during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

Europe's Lee Westwood during the friday fourball round during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Europe's Lee Westwood during the friday fourball round during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport

Lynne Cameron

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The 18th fairway is waterlogged as rain falls and play is suspended during the Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 1, 2010 in Newport, Wales

If golf has any interest in preserving the Ryder Cup as one of the world's great sports events it should never forget October 1, 2010.

The date, unlike so many others in the history of the event that has been so enhanced by great men like Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros, has to be logged with shame. The day has to be remembered not for the sound of torrential rain, but the aroma of greed.

Forty-five thousand golf lovers were trapped with nothing to see for more than seven hours in this Welsh valley which had come to resemble a stretch of flood pain when the action was suspended. The first four-ball match pitting Europe's Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer against Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson had sloshed its way only as far as the sixth hole — in more than two hours.

Rain happens, of course, but the responsibility of the organisers of the 38th Ryder Cup was always to set acceptable levels of risk and by pitching the event so late in the year, on a course where millions spent on drainage could never match the natural facility of the sandy linksland of some of Britain's best and most prestigious golf courses, that burden of care for the live spectators was disastrously neglected.

As play resumed in early evening officials conceded that forecasts of further grim weather, particularly for Sunday, meant there was not much hope of completing the match before Monday - and no guarantee against a farcical, arbitrary guillotining on play at a sunset timed for 6.43.

Matches in which one side had built up a formidable lead would be declared halved. It is an outrage to the dignity and the credibility of the Ryder Cup, one that could turn it into an irrelevant farce. But then no-one had to look hard for an explanation.

Part of the responsibility undoubtedly belonged to the US PGA Tour, whose commissioner Tim Finchem, happily posed with his compatriots on the first tee.

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The US PGA required the Ryder Cup dates be pushed back in order to protect the tournament that represents their biggest motherlode of hard cash, the FedEx Cup which last week left American team member Jim Furyk $11.5m richer and, before some rule changes, promised to pay Tiger Woods a pension fund of more than $100m.

Denied revenue from major tournaments — and the Ryder Cup — the American tour fiercely protects the place of Fedex on the golf calendar. As yesterday degenerated into a marathon drinking session for many fans held captive by the bars and the food and sports good concessions, America's winning captain two years ago, Paul Azinger, pointed his finger at one basic problem.

He said, “It's a great shame. It has been dictated by the FedEx Cup date. The Fedex tournament was not invented when the Ryder Cup was awarded but its date has been pushed back and back.”

The consequences, if the worst-case weather reports prove anywhere near accurate, will be nothing less than farcical. If matches have to be cut off on Monday, which is far from a remote possibility under these moist Welsh skies, a massive asterisk will have to be placed against the campaigns of Colin Montgomerie and his American counterpart Corey Pavin.

There will also be fresh doubts against the priorities of the European PGA and Ryder Cup committee.

Profits may have been secured but as yesterday's inclusive action came to a close there was another reason to believe that financial opportunity had come at too high a price.

It was a change of format that might just get the match settled by tomorrow night — but only after a change of format which takes away much of the challenges facing the rival captains.

Montgomerie and Pavin are no longer required to leave out players on the way to the singles showdown with the introduction of a final team session of two foursomes and six four-balls.

This rips away the character of this Ryder Cup. It is, more than anything, another bogey for greed.


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