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One too many shots!

Aug 28 2005

Leah Oatway, Wales on Sunday

 

EUROPE has taken an early lead over America in the celebrity 'Ryder Cup' in Wales - by beating them hands-down in a 19th hole drinking session!

Before a club had even been swung, TV personality Chris Evans led his continental team-mates to victory in the Celtic Manor bar with shot after shot while their American rivals were safely tucked up in bed.

A cross-section of sporting legends, Hollywood film stars and models tee-off today for the two-day All*Star Cup match in Newport.

Yesterday was a chance for the two sides - which have Swansea beauty Catherine Zeta Jones facing up to husband Michael Douglas in the first foursome - to practise their putting.

But the European team were looking slightly worse-for-wear after the Friday night bonding session.

Asked how the preparation had been going, media mogul Chris said: "Too many shots! And not of the golfing kind! With the greatest respect to our American friends, there were none of them in the entertainment facilities of the hotel after 10pm.

"At about 1.15am, our team captain Colin Montgomerie looked at me and shook his head because the whole of the European team were still in the bar.

"He said to me, 'Oh well, this is our way and this is how we won the battle of Trafalgar'.

The preparation was typically British with a European flavour!"

Former Dallas star Patrick Duffy confirmed the Americans were indeed tucked in bed at 10pm having taken their vitamins.

The drinking sesh didn't hamper Irish heart throb Ronan Keating, who won an Audi TT convertible car at yesterday's competition by finishing nearest the pin at just 6ft 10ins short. The former Boyzone star donated his prize to his charity, the Marie Keating Foundation, which he set up in memory of his mother who died of cancer two years ago.

When the strain of the swing was getting too much, Zeta supplied shoulder rubs to her 60-year-old husband and to teammate James Nesbitt, while she got to know Charlotte Church's rugby player boyfriend Gavin Henson in the team photo line-up. Last night it was not known if Henson would be able to compete as his club, Neath-Swansea Ospreys, were not keen to release him from Monday training.

Later superstar Robbie Williams made a surprise visit by dropping into the hotel to support best mate and course reporter, Jonathan Wilkes.

Last night the two squads, fresh from a day of golf in the rain and wind, changed out of their Tommy Hilfiger kit and into their evening best, for a gala dinner to mark the launch of the weekend.

Crazy Chick Charlotte jetted in from a performance in Dublin to be by Gav's side on the red carpet while Zeta and Douglas forgot their rivalry to make a stunning entrance together.

Telly comedy duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, who came up with the idea mingled with the non-playing team captains Monty and Mark O'Meara.

Sky presenter Kirsty Gallacher wowed onlooking autograph-hunters and fans as she rolled up alongside co-presenters Jamie Theakston and Terry Wogan.

Europe's squad also boasts England rugby star Matt Dawson, model Jodie Kidd, Band of Brothers star Damian Lewis, Sir Steve Redgrave, ex-Manchester United goalie Peter Schmeichel and Arsenal legend Ian Wright. Boris Becker was forced to withdraw from the contest after coming down with flu earlier this week.

And for Team USA were tennis player Michael Chang, NFL star Boomer Esiason, saxophonist Kenny G, actor Steve Hytner, Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd, actors Cheech Marin and Hayley Joel Osment, plus swimmer Mark Spitz and comedian George Lopez. Rob Lowe was due to fly into Cardiff this morning to compete in Team USA, after performing in the West End.

But the fun aside, Ryder Cup veteran O'Meara insisted his team would be taking the tournament seriously.

"It's friendly but very competitive," he said. "Everyone is successful in their own right. The European team is very strong, and they are ready to go, but we have some fine players as well."

With hangovers behind them, Monty insisted: "We are all up for it. You see the team spirit of the European team and we had the inaugural nearest to the pin champion and it was excellent to see.

"It augurs well for the team."

TODAY: GREENSOME FOURSOMES

Each match will have two US players and two European players competing against each other.

Both players in each team tee off, the best of the two tee shots is then selected and that ball is played, alternating shots, until holed.

The team in each match with the lowest net score on each hole wins that hole. If both teams score the same then the point is shared.

In each match shots will be given to the team with the highest combined handicaps.

TOMORROW: FOURBALLS

Like the foursomes but each player plays his or her own ball throughout the match.

On each hole the lowest net score of the two players is the team score.

SCORING

The All* Star Cup will require teams to play all 18 holes on both days irrespective of the score. Each hole is worth one point and the final team points total will determine the overall result. Every hole is worth winning even when a team cannot catch their opponents in an individual match. The first team to get more than 90 points will be champions.

TICKETS

£15 per adult, £10 concessions, under 14s free if accompanied by an adult, free car parking.

 
 

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