Watching Golf this Week: The Ryder Cup

It’s really too bad that the Ryder Cup, the biennial golf competition between the U.S. and Europe, takes place in the fall — because that means a lot of fun and interesting golf is going to get lost in the tornado of football this weekend. Fortunately, thanks to the PGA and Turner Sports there’s a boatload of Ryder action taking place online, so get your browsers fired up for Friday morning foursomes. And then some fourballs. What?

Oh yeah, the Ryder Cup’s first two days have something we never see during the regular tour year — team competitions! If you need a how-is-it-scored primer, the BBC has a great one explaining the scoring — but basically foursomes are alternate-shot competitions (meaning each of the two players trades shots) while fourballs are more familiar team play, with everyone playing their own ball and the team with the player with the lowest score wins the hole. Each hole is worth a point, and the team with the higher score at the end wins an overall match point. If the match is tied each team gets a half-point. Singles on Sunday need no explanation. Mano a mano, also match play so it only matters how many holes you win, not your total score.

And after the inflated importance of the FedEx Cup — yes there was some good golf by the big names and congrats to Brandt Snedeker for bagging the big check — there is nothing truer than playing for your country or your continent, no prize money on the line just pressure and pride. This year the Cup is being contested in my home town, Chicago, at the monster known as Medinah. I remember playing there once, just out of high school, thought I had some game, and put something like a 120 on the scorecard. The pros, of course, will be shooting pars and birdies but the scores matter less than the head to head, between the great Euro players led by Rory McIlroy and the U.S. team, led by Tiger Woods.

With live coverage online, on TV and on an app, you have no excuse for not watching some great golf, even if you are also watching football. The great thing about Ryder coverage is that it’s also unlike tournament coverage — there is usually always some tension going on, and the TV folks are usually in a Red Zone-type mode, switching to where the pressure is most high. A great way to end the real golf season. Just wish we didn’t have to be distracted by the return of real refs and all that.

REMEMBER: ESPN for TV Friday, NBC on Saturday and Sunday.


(all times Eastern)

Friday, Sept, 28 — ESPN, 8 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29 — NBC, 9 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30 — NBC, 12 p.m. — 6 p.m.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite)
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The live broadcasts are also available to subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at

Ryder Cup Live will be online basically the whole tourney, starting at 8:20 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. on Sunday, and going until competition is over each day. The live video is free (no cable contract required), and mobile viewers can download the iPhone app, the iPad app, or go to the Ryder Cup Mobile Site if you have an Android device.

ESPN3 is also carrying the ESPN broadcast live on Friday.

The PGA Facebook page is the Facebook home of the Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup has something called the 13th Man page, similar to the Social Caddy we saw at the PGA. Lots of Twitter streams, a USA vs. Europe Twitter competition, an Instagram feed… worth a bookmark.


Geoff Shackelford — well known golf writer. If you’re not following Geoff you are missing the online boat.
Golf Channel — official Golf Channel feed
@PGATOUR — official PGA Twitter feed
@StephanieWei — great golf writer who is a Twitter fiend.
Doug Ferguson is the lead golf writer for AP. Good Twitter insights that often aren’t part of your wire-service lead.

Here’s the deets on Medinah Country Club course.

Europe is the defending champ, if you remember. I remember bad raincoats.