First things first: OK, so maybe it wasn't smart to keep Tiger Woods from giving a motivational speech to the U.S. players at the Ryder Cup, because Europe got off to another fast start. Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson birdied the first hole shortly after sunrise today to go 1-up on the U.S. team of Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim. Then Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey quickly jumped ahead in their match when the next U.S. pair, Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan, bogeyed the first hole.
As I post this, however, the U.S. has evened it up through 11 holes.
Our own Thomas Bonk weighed in with an article in today's Sports section focusing on Phil. Bonk points out that Phil has the ability to turn around the U.S. team's fortunes (the Europeans are seeking their fourth straight win in Ryder Cup).
I'm still studying Mahan's bio. This is first Ryder Cup and he was born in Orange right here in Southern California. Now he lives in Plano, Texas. Hmm. He was a "captain's pick" -- not among the Ryder Cup points leaders. Stay tuned.
Getting kicked: Last night the staff members working in the office were loud in their reaction to the end of the game between No. 21 West Virginia and Colorado. Colorado kicker Aric Goodman made a 25-yard field goal in overtime to give the Buffaloes a 17-14 victory. That came minutes after the Mountaineers' kicker, Pat McAfee, missed a 23-yard attempt. I feel for McAfee, pacing the sidelines for so long and then being brought in under such intense pressure to win. And then hearing your coach, Bill Stewart, say afterward, "Those guys in that locker room have hurt hearts. They don’t feel good, I don’t feel good." That's right, Pat. The whole team hurts because of you. And so does your coach. You knew that, but wow, wasn't it nice Coach made sure you knew that? Sweet, Coach.
In first place: It's Dodgers-Giants time. Greg Maddux is on the mound tonight. The magic number is 7. Meanwhile, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick cracks: Manny Ramirez "is the biggest thing to hit Los Angeles since the high-occupancy vehicle lane." Cute, Jerry. But clueless. One word: Kobe. And we still aren't excited about the HOV. Crasnick is right about Manny being a true star, though, something we Dodgers fans haven't had for such a long, long time. And I would wear one of those Dodgers blue skullcaps with dreadlocks attached. I love watching Manny be Manny. And that's what it's all about. Oh, and Curt Schilling? You need to chill. Our own Brian Kamenetzky offers his take.
Not in first place: The Yankees are already looking to next season. I'm not crying. I sometimes wonder if Joe Torre, in quiet times when he is away from the ballfield, ever thinks back on how poorly the young Hank Steinbrenner treated him in those final days. Joe is such a classy guy and smart enough to enjoy it when Manny is "just messin' with me," as he said with a laugh recently.
And how appropriate that the Yankees are a bit of a mess right now, just as the reign of the great Yankee Stadium comes to a close Sunday. Just look at the shape of that field.
And the game, which will be on ESPN, goes up against the Cowboys-Packers game on NBC. How many people will be clicking away from football every so often just to see the last play in the House That Ruth Built as it happens? I will be one of them.
Check out latimes.com/sports later to read our story on the Yankees final homestand in a history-laden weekend.
-- Debbie Goffa
Top photo: Irish fans follow Padraig Harrington at the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images