Nights out in Birmingham will never be the same again. For a start, whatever happened to the Bull Ring? Wait a second – this is Birmingham, Michigan, not Birmingham, West Midlands.
This suburb of Detroit is a 10-minute taxi ride from the course at Oakland Hills. It’s where the European team stayed during the 2004 Ryder Cup and where they partied all night on that victorious Sunday four years ago. Purely in the act of research, Golf Monthly checked out Dick O’Dowd’s Irish bar on Saturday night. The blue and yellow European flag is still flying in the window although the life-sized cardboard cutout of Padraig Harrington has, apparently, been nicked.
Players spotted in the restaurant across the road were Mike Weir having dinner with friends and Jim Furyk knocking back a cold one and cheering at Michael Phelps winning gold in Beijing on the widescreen TV over the bar.
Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood popped in to O’Dowd’s at the beginning of the week at the US PGA Championship. Just to drink in a little nostalgia – and perhaps also a wee glass of you know what. Westwood said the bar owner didn’t recognise him. Probably because Westwood wasn’t blazing drunk and dancing on the tables this time. “Er, yeah, I refrained from jumping up and down on the bar this time,” Westwood told me. Clarke and Westwood paid a final homage to O’Dowd’s on Friday night, after missing cut, before jetting off home to Blighty.