Trick shots and wise-cracks as Ryder Cup teams delight crowds

Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:41pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - It was almost the calm before the storm on Wednesday as the European and U.S. Ryder Cup teams joked and wise-cracked their way through a light-hearted practice session.

With two days to go before golf's biggest grudge match gets underway with Friday morning's opening fourball matches, a sizeable crowd was treated to dazzling sunshine at a picturesque PGA Centenary Course layout and some extraordinary trick shots.

As the occasional blast of traditional Scottish bagpipes could be heard in the distance, American Rickie Fowler wowed the fans who gathered at the practice range to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

The 25-year-old, who caused a stir at the start of the week by sporting a new haircut featuring the letters 'USA' shaved into the side of his head, dribbled the ball no more than two yards after deliberately striking it with the bottom of his driver.

Fowler then swapped hands on the same club, cack-handedly sending it soaring 250 yards into the distance before breaking into a wide grin and waving to the cheering spectators.

Martin Kaymer, the man who holed the putt that ensured Europe retained the trophy in Medinah two years ago, also played up to the galleries.

The U.S. Open champion raised a few giggles as he hung his head in mock shame after missing a series of small practice putts on the 15th green.

Ireland's Des Smyth, one of the five deputies being used this week by Europe captain Paul McGinley, said the smiles of the players were likely to turn into serious frowns by Friday.   Continued...

European Ryder Cup players Rory McIlroy (L) and Graeme McDowell walk off the 17th tee during practice ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble