Winds knock off TV tower on 12th hole at site of 2008 Ryder Cup

Updated: September 15, 2008, 5:13 PM ET
Reuters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Valhalla Golf Club ground staff worked feverishly on Monday to clean up the venue for this week's Ryder Cup after the remnants of Hurricane Ike battered much of Kentucky the previous day.

Winds gusting up to 56 mph blew a television tower on to the 12th green, several trees were uprooted on the par-71 layout and there was limited damage to some of the hospitality tents.

"The clean-up operation is going well and we are confident that, when spectators arrive on Tuesday for the first full practice round, Valhalla will be ready," tournament director Kerry Haigh told Reuters.

"The television tower behind the 12th green was blown over on to the green and caused a couple of small indentations but these have already been corrected and repaired."

Golf course superintendent Mark Wilson was also optimistic Valhalla would be in good shape for the Sept. 19-21 competition between holders Europe and the United States.

"My guys are ready for it," he said. "This is what they've been working for. We got tree limbs but we'll take care of it. We'll saw 'em up, clean 'em up and go down the road. I'm pretty confident that, by Tuesday, you won't know anything about it."

Hurricane Ike weakened to a tropical depression as it headed across western Arkansas and further northeast on Sunday after making landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane.

It continued to move rapidly across Kentucky, damaging buildings and homes, downing powerlines and trees and resulting in at least one death and several injuries.

Kentucky's governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency and around 280,000 people were without power in the metropolitan area of Louisville on Sunday night.

However, the long-range forecast is promising for the rest of this week with mostly sunny weather expected.

"We are looking forward to an outstanding Ryder Cup and, with the forecast excellent for the three days of competition, we can't wait for it to start," Haigh said.

Europe will be bidding for a fourth successive victory over the United States, and a sixth in seven editions, when the 37th Ryder Cup starts on Friday.

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