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One Year To Go For Ryder Cup

The late Walter Hagen, who used to exhort everyone “to stop and smell the flowers,” would have approved of last week’s “One Year to Go” celebrations for the 2014 Ryder Cup. A handsome breakfast at Edinburgh Castle was followed by a ride to Gleneagles on a train as old as the match itself. The 1927 locomotive hissed and huffed as it set off with captains Tom Watson and Paul McGinley on board. Not since the Chinese pandas were delivered to Edinburgh Zoo have visiting celebrities been accorded such a welcome. People took pictures from every station along the way, while golf at Falkirk Golf Club came to a standstill as members watched and waved. The captains gave informal news conferences during the hourlong journey. Both were in fine form, though Watson, bearing in mind that he was bound for the five-star Gleneagles Hotel, might have been wiser to keep his views on hotel wake-up calls to himself. The subject had arisen when mention was made of Rory McIlroy’s last-minute dash to the tee at Medinah. Though McIlroy’s mistake had more to do with time zones, Watson recommended that no one should nowadays have faith in a hotel wake-up call. When Patrick Emslie, the general manager at Gleneagles, learned of the comment, he had no inclination to ask Watson for a quiet word. Instead, he furnished the results of the last couple of “quality assurance” tests in which wake-up calls loom large. Gleneagles’ scores? A hundred out of a hundred each time.


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