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?