CHASKA, MINNESOTA – Thankfully, the actual Ryder Cup matches are almost here.
The last matches in Scotland had barely ended two years ago when Phil Mickelson lit the fuse on an American controversy that led to the creation of a Ryder Cup task force in hopes of stopping the European dominance.
That took care of nearly two years of talking.
Then there was the Bubba Watson question – would the seventh-ranked player in the world be left off the American roster?
He was but his offer to serve as an assistant captain was accepted, earning Bubba a cart this week and softening any potential hard feelings.
Then Mickelson carefully deconstructed the captaining style of the various men he’s played under in the Ryder Cup, particularly rolling a large bus over Hal Sutton. Mickelson eventually apologized but not before the damage had been done.
Mickelson’s comments weren’t as spicy as of those Pete Willett, brother of Masters champion and first-time Ryder Cupper Danny Willett. The writer brother took a blowtorch to the Americans – the fans and players – and it didn’t take long for the noise to rush through the plains of Minnesota.
It made life miserable for Danny Willett, who apologized Wednesday and again on Thursday. Willett also managed to bonk a spectator on the noggin with an errant tee shot Thursday, which didn’t help matters.
In the meantime, Hazeltine is outfitted in red trim on the community of buildings that have sprung up around the golf course, allowing the 45,000 spectators places to go while waiting for the golf to pass by. The Ryder Cup is a wonderful event, maybe the most compelling in the game, but it’s made for television. Trying to catch a glimpse of any action is a challenge larger than that of Pete Willettt’s public relations man.
Finally, though, the golf itself is almost here.
“I just think we’re 24 guys wanting to play some golf,” Danny Willett said Thursday afternoon.
It can’t arrive quickly enough.