Saturday, 20 September 2008

Watching the Ryder Cup European style - on the Radio...

It's a sad situation for those of us unable to afford a Sky subscription over here in Europe. For any of my American readers, you don't know how good you have it over there. If you can't get to a tv to watch the Ryder Cup coverage on NBC you can log in to the PGA Tour website and enjoy the Ryder Cup on your laptop. I attempted to obtain that service from my home here in London and I was encouraged as the advert loaded, showing me some computerised version of an Adidas training shoe materialising in mid air. My hopes were raised as a picture of a flagstick appeared on my screen, a ball appeared from the top left hand corner and rolled up next to the hole. Confusion reigned in my brain though as the figure of Nick Faldo appeared with a putter in hand, looking markedly less craggy than I'd seen him in recent pictures. When it cut to a freshfaced Lee Westwood looking like a large teenager with a mop of hair on his head, it hit me. While the Americans get treated to whats going on right now in Valhalla, us Europeans have to make do with enjoying a repeat of the 1995 match. Aren't we lucky.

I tried desperately to obtain some live pictures of dubious legality from various sources all yesterday morning but to no avail. My old friend Sopcast let me down big time. I could get feeds of nine-ball pool, year old Real Madrid matches, Nascar racing and the women's Wimbledon Semi-final, but the Ryder Cup was nowhere to be found.

All we have to look forward to are the highlights of the day's play at 20 minutes to midnight on BBC One. Those who missed that may have thought they could catch up this morning by viewing the highlights on the BBC's iPlayer. But no, the rights to the highlights do not include providing that service so if you miss that midnight programme and you don't have Sky, the best you can hope for is a few clips on the news.

All is not lost for us in Britain, we have the option of listening to the golf on BBC Radio 5 live, where for the most part the coverage is excellent. The only problem being the inanity of the lead broadcaster, John Inverdale. Why he believes that we would be more interested in listening to him gabbling away to some random guy in a Boo Weekley T-Shirt about Boo wrestling orangutans or questioning a bunch of guys at length because they're dressed up in leprechaun costumes, when some real golfing correspondent is waiting to fill us in on the latest happenings out on the 13th green, God alone knows. No man on Earth could have a greater assurance in his that people are tuning in to listen to him, the Ryder cup their secondary concern.

You do get great little tidbits from the radio coverage that you don't on tv though, like the fact that Padraig Harrington was warming up for this mornings match by hitting driver one handed, first with his right hand and then with his left - spanking both of them some 250 yards or so. Impressive stuff Paddy, impressive stuff.

Today I'll make do with the radio to keep up to date, and the minute by minute reports on the BBC and Guardian. Tomorrow, I plan to be hunkered up in front of a massive 52 inch telly at my mates house for the singles. Either that or it's off to the pub to attempt to make a single pint last about six hours...

For today though, if anyone knows of a way to watch live in Britain on the web, let me know...

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