* By 'will', we mean 'might... but most likely won't'
Less than 72 hours from now, the 2016 Ryder Cup will be underway and we'll start to get some of the answers to the questions we've spent the last few weeks and months obsessing over.
- Will Europe make it four wins a row?
- Will US captain Davis Love III exorcise the demons of Medinah?
- How will Tiger Woods fare in his new role as vice-captain?
We'll soon find out. Until then, join us for an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek and entirely fictitious look into how the rest of the week may - may - unfold.
CAUTION: May contain Top Gun references...
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
The final practice session takes place, with all players involved. All, that is, except Matt Kuchar, who is taking on all comers at table tennis. However, the main attraction is American vice-captain Tiger Woods. Ten thousand people watch in fascination as he takes the lunch order for the team and there’s an anxious gasp from the crowd as he reverses his buggy into a fire hydrant. “It is what it is,” says Tiger, laughing off the incident.
The opening ceremony features a special tribute to the late Minnesota singer, Prince, with each American WAG donning a raspberry beret for the occasion. European vice-captain Ian Poulter, meanwhile, takes a mental note to add a little red Corvette to his car collection. As Davis Love III signs off his speech with a rallying cry of ‘Lets’ go crazy’ , all those watching hope that, come Sunday, nobody parties like it’s 1999 at Brookline. Enough? Okay then…
Danny Willett and Lee Westwood are named as the first Europeans on the tee on Friday morning, taking on Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson play Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed; Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia play Mickelson and Brooks Koepka; and Martin Kaymer and Rafa Cabrera-Bello face Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson.
“I don’t know who’s going to win but, if neither team does, then it’ll probably be a draw,” predicts Mark Roe.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
The ‘Guardians of the Ryder Cup’, above, have their Eton-esque brand of song parodies drowned out by a fired-up American crowd, so ending their 15 minutes of fame, albeit half an hour too late.
Danny Willett splits the fairway with the first competitive shot of the week. “All credit to him,” says a thoroughly impressed Monty in the Sky studio. Jimmy Walker follows suit for the US. “’Attaboy, Jimmy,” growls Butch Harmon.
With that, the best week in golf is finally, properly underway.
During the course of the day, twelve thousand people watch Tiger, above, struggle to communicate with Davis Love and the other assistants on his walkie-talkie. It soon turns out that he’s not on the same wavelength as everyone else.
After a ‘nip and tuck’ start, the US takes a 4½-3½ lead into the second day. “There’s really only one point between the teams at this stage,” acknowledges Roe.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
After watching the US win its first foursomes session since the Saturday of the 2012 match, Davis Love III decides to drop Mickelson and Bradley for the afternoon session only to be informed by ‘Sensible Steve’ Stricker that Bradley isn’t on the team this year. They laugh a laugh of averting disaster.
Elsewhere, sixteen thousand people have their view of Tiger obscured by a cloud of smoke from Michael Jordan’s cigar, above.
A strong afternoon sees the US take a 10-6 lead into the final day. “Europe will need to win most of the matches tomorrow if they’re going to keep a hold of the trophy,” notes Roe.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
Dustin Johnson leads the US off in the singles and stripes a 3-wood 360 yards down the middle of the fairway but driving distances still ‘aren’t increasing’. As Johnson prepares to hit his second shot, the most slo-mo of slo-mo cameras detects his ball moving ever so slightly. USGA chief executive Mike Davis texts the PGA of America to let them know the appropriate way to deal with it: tell the player you’ve spotted a possible infraction but you’ll figure it out sometime later. No-one replies.
Lee Westwood, above, wins his singles match to overtake Nick Faldo as the Ryder Cup’s leading all-time points-scorer. A Continent rejoices but not for long as the USA seals a 16-12 victory courtesy of Ryan Moore. Patrick Reed is the top points-scorer for the US, with four out of five, whilst debutant Thomas Pieters leads the way for Europe with three points. Matt Kuchar ends the week unbeaten at ping-pong.
Twenty-five thousand people watch Tiger and Phil hug. “You can be my wingman any time,” says Phil. “B******t,” replies Tiger. “You can be mine.” Or words to that effect.
Rickie Fowler shows up at the official trophy ceremony with a freshly-inked Ryder Cup tattoo on his forearm and newly-bleached hair, whilst Davis Love III becomes the US presidential frontrunner.
“The Americans will be the team to beat in two years’ time,” insists Roe.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 3
Someone mentions something about a ‘Task Force’ to European Tour chief Keith Pelley, above, who agrees that it is a ‘great idea’ but ‘only so long as it involves music’. In Jacksonville, meanwhile, Russell Knox awakens with a wry smile on his face…
How do you think the Ryder Cup will go?
Leave your predictions - serious and not so serious - for this week's Ryder Cup in our 'Comments' section below.