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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

Team USA ready to go

Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010, at 12:00 PM

Let the pomp and circumstance of the Ryder Cup begin. In about 30 minutes we leave for a reception with the HRH Prince of Wales at Cardiff Castle. For those that may not know, this is Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth and widower of Princess Diane.

This reception will also include a meeting of the Prince of Wales along with dinner at one of his castles in his home country. We received the proper protocol from the PGA regarding our meeting of the Royal Party. Men are instructed to bow from the neck (not the waist) and women are told to offer a small curtsy (placing your right behind the left heel and bending the knees slightly). The Princes and princesses are referred to as "Your Royal Highness the Prince of Wales."

Both teams and official parties will attend the dinner. We will leave for the Millennium Auditorium for tonight's Ryder Cup Gala, which will be attended by 10,000 people. The featured entertainment will be Katherine Zeta-Jones. She will be joined by Shirley Basset who recorded the hit soundtrack to the James Bond 007 Movie, featuring the song- 'Goldfinger'.

Tomorrow is another practice round with the Opening Ceremonies. These festivities will be televised live tomorrow on ESPN at approximately 10 a.m. EST. The pairings for Round One will be announced at the Opening Ceremonies.

Last night we enjoyed dinner with the team. Afterwards in the team room, Corey Paven brought in Major Dan Rooney to speak to the team. Rooney has flown three F-16 missions in Iraq and he is a PGA Professional. He is also the founder of the Patriot Golf Day, which has raised over $3 million to offer scholarships to family members of service men and women who have been killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Rooney delivered a riveting message to the team on accountability, dealing with pressure and preparation. There were lots of tears in the room as he recounted many of his stories. When he finished, Phil Mickelson asked for more stories. The players were presented official bomber jackets with the Ryder Cup logo and as one person put it, "It was like watching a bunch of high school kids receive their first letter jackets."

Rooney will be the only person to speak to our team. No one else is needed.

It is pretty apparent that Team USA is ready to play. There is great chemistry with this mix of players. I am sure this is true with every Ryder Cup team. Let's face it, if you can't pull together to compete for your country, you have no real reason to play again. As each day passes, you can sense the players know the task that lies ahead.

Dustin Johnson put it best after Rooney's speech. "That puts everything into perspective. What we do is really pretty insignificant. It doesn't really mean much in the big picture."

He went on to add, "The really cool thing is this jacket. A buddy of mine and me are going to a Halloween Party dressed as the two guys in the movie 'Top Gun'. Now, I have the real deal in this jacket!"

And that ladies and gentlemen, kind of sums up the mentality of the young guns on this Team USA. They seem fearless. The veterans seem poised and they have been great mentors. Periodically, you will witness something like Zach Johnson pulling Jeff Overton aside and saying, "Look, when I played in my first Ryder Cup.........."

You hear all of the hype about the Ryder Cup, but let me tell you from a close up view- it is not hype. This is the real deal. Pavin put a clock in the team room that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to Sunday night.

He told the team, "When that clock is at zero, this is all over. You will never forget this week the rest of your life. Embrace it, enjoy it and commit yourself."

Let's go USA!



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