Last night Mike Harris and myself were invited to attend a dinner hosted by TaylorMade in Southports swankiest hotel The Vincent. The idea of the evening was to get TM staff players Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose to talk to the assembled media about the Open, the Ryder Cup and of course their TaylorMade equipment. (Well, it was their party and they can talk shop if they want to).
One thing that emerged from the night (that you might read in a few of todays newspapers) was that Faldo is almost certainly considering pairing Rose with Garcia at this years Ryder Cup. You may or may not know that due to a wrist injury, Luke Donald is highly unlikely to play. Donald would probably have played with Garcia given their successful track record in the event so that leaves a highly desirable spot alongside the Spaniard up for grabs.
Garcia and Rose knew each other well as amateurs having played in numerous events together. Justin revealed that Sergio waited for him to hole-out on the final green at the 98 Open to congratulate him on winning the silver medal. A show of friendship for the sake of their Captain perhaps but it became clear that the two would love to be paired at Valhalla.
One other thing in their favour, and its only a small thing, is that they both play the same TaylorMade ball. Players can be quite precious about which ball they use and this has, in the past, created a degree of tension between potential partners. Without any extra practice time required to acclimatise to new golf balls Garcia and Rose would be left to focus on the intricacies of fourball and foursome matchplay.
With this insight livening up a rather quiet opening day in terms of news, Rose and Garcia left and Faldo sat down to join us all for dinner (as a non-playing brand ambassador, Faldo was required to complete the duration of the evening). They’d all love to see Rose play well but realistically Garcia is the man carrying TM hopes this week. They weren’t shouting about it last night but there’s no doubt that team TaylorMade fancy their man’s chances.