NOT exactly going to plan is it? Still thrilling though. Some of the golf

played in the afternoon four balls was as good as I have seen in these

matches, guys reaching deep inside themselves to find stuff many of them

didn’t know they had.

This of course is how it should be. At the end of it all a weary looking

Nick Faldo came into the Media Centre here and projected positivity. What

other choice did he have? Answer: None. Still, it was an impressive

performance from a man who must have feared the worst until JB Holmes and

Boo Weekley went for the water option up the last to throw him and his team

a life-raft.

Until that moment it had been overwhelmingly America’s day. Good on them

too. The last couple of matches have been fun in a take that you blighters

sort of way but for those of us who savour a close contest there was

something missing. Yesterday in Kentucky this something was back.

The Americans, minus Tiger Woods, but plus Factor X put on a show. Europe,

slipping into an early and high gear, slid away under the onslaught while

the local fans roared their delight. It was in many ways good both to hear

and to see. Nothing bad took place at Valhalla yesterday, just good, old

noisy support. It may yet turn bleaker but for now the atmosphere is

perfect.

What is not perfect is the way this course is set up. It is just a tad too

easy for that to be the case. Wide fairways, playable rough, accessible pin

positions. Paul Azinger has gone for the birdiefest option and it may be

smart move on his part. Or it just may play into the hands of the Europeans

who have now taken a couple of blows to the chin but who also know what to

expect during the second day.

In the end it will all come down to who holes a putt here and a chip there.

These sides are close. Europe are the superior players as a whole but the

Americans have the support and this home advantage is playing well for them

right now. You have to make them favourites but don’t despair of a European

victory.

“America threw a great first day at us but the golf over the last hour

particularly was just fantastic, ” said Faldo. “We may be down in points

but we’re up in spirits because the way it all ended. We’ll be ready to

have our own great day now.” Watch and, hopefully, enjoy from here on in. I

know I will. Pity about Ben Curtis though. Isn’t it?