High drama -- if a bit on the noisy side

High drama -- if a bit on the noisy side

In recent weeks, Europe and the United States competed in two terrific golf match-play tournaments in Spain and Italy that had the huge galleries and television viewers on the edge of their seats.

In the Solheim Cup, after a disastrous start, the European women clung on to the trophy in a nail-biting 14-14 draw in Spain while in the men's event Europe regained the Ryder Cup with an equally dramatic 16.5-11.5 victory in Rome.

It was a particularly good effort by Europe's Ryder Cup squad who managed to shake off the unhappy memories of Whistling Straits the last time the teams met in what the Daily Telegraph called "Slaughter By The Water".

On the opening day last week, it soon became clear that Europe, led by captain Luke Donald, were determined to take the initiative as they stormed to a 4-0 lead in the morning foursomes.

Things settled down after that and it was a gripping battle for the next two days as the Americans fought back.

In the Solheim Cup, it was the other way round with the US taking a similar 4-0 lead before the Europeans rallied.

Golf is a rare sport in which good behaviour and etiquette is still entrenched.

It extends to the fans who around the world are generally well behaved.

Go to any regular stroke-play golf tournament during the year and you will find the galleries are very respectful, knowing when to clap, when not to clap and perhaps most importantly, when to keep quiet.

But in the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, it is a different story brought on by the exciting match-play format.

In match play, every hole counts and the fans know it.

As a result, the galleries are becoming increasingly boisterous, sounding more like football crowds.

Most of the support is good natured, with the Europeans launching into that rather tedious "Ole, ole, ole" chant while the American respond with their equally familiar "USA, USA".

To their credit, the crowds are respectfully quiet when a player is actually making a shot.

Unfortunately, the event will always attract a certain element who think it is clever to shout "in the water" or "fore" when a player tees off.

And of course, there are always the tiresome shouts of "get in the hole".

The pantomime booing is also a bit tacky.

Most players have become used to the rowdiness and accept it is part and parcel of the Ryder Cup.

Golfers from both teams were generally well-behaved, although the normally placid Rory McIlroy had an angry exchange with American caddie Joe LaCava.

However, the following day McIlroy said he was in "a great state of mind" and went on to play brilliantly.

Miserable display

It was hard not to feel for world No.1 Scottie Scheffler who after a miserable performance in the opening foursomes was reduced to tears.

The powerful pairing of Scheffler and Brooks Koepka surprisingly lost by a record 9&7 to Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg.

Scheffler is not the first to shed tears at the Ryder Cup.

Costantino Rocca admitted: "I cried in the locker room and Seve Ballesteros cried with me" after the Europeans lost in 1993.

Four years later Jose Maria Olazabal was blubbering away like a child -- and his team had just won!

One thing they could do without at the Solheim Cup is the deafening music at the first hole.

The crowd were making enough noise without requiring any assistance from the DJ.

With everyone dressed up in funny outfits at times, it resembled the Eurovision song contest.

And I won't complain if I don't hear "Ole, ole, ole" for a while.

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