By Brian Keogh
Nick Faldo expected tales of the unexpected on his captaincy debut in Co Laois.
But Europe’s next Ryder Cup skipper probably never imagined he’d see blood, a destroyed €1,000 chandelier and zero points from talisman Colin Montgomerie in the space of 24 hours.
As his GB&I side fought back in the second fourball series to level the Seve Trophy at 5-5, the English legend was struggling to come to grips with the non-stop action.
Breathing a sight of relief after another draining day, Faldo confessed that he thought his players were pulling his leg when he heard that rookie Marc Warren had been injured smashing a chandelier with a practice swing in his room on Thursday night.
Wearing nothing but a towel, Warren connected with a five-iron bringing the crystal chandelier installed by Irish rugby legend Willie Duggan, crashing down on top of him.
The Scot, 26, needed stitches to a one centimetre deep cut to his abdomen and also suffered five minor cuts on his arms and a nick to his forehead,
After losing for the second day in a row with fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie, red-faced, Warren said: "I wish I had used a six-iron - I'd have missed it. There was plenty of blood and a towel I held to my stomach was covered when I arrived at the hospital.
"The only thing that hurt was the scratch on my head. I said to the hotel to put the charge on my room bill but they told me not to worry. Maybe Seve’s getting the bill!
“I was expecting to get some stick and somebody said I was a shady character.”
Faldo was as shocked as the rest of his team, but quipped: “He was obviously having a smashing time here and after playing with Monty he was so enlightened that he decided to try one of Monty’s swings.
“In all seriousness, it went from the bizarre to saying, you are lucky mate. It could have been a lot worse.”
As for the golf, Faldo admitted that he is learning a lot about his possible Ryder Cup team in the Seve Trophy.
He said: “This is a great learning curve for me. It could potentially come down to the wire and to be honest, that is what I what I want. I would rather it was really tough and really competitive on Sunday.
“That way we’ll find out who is really strong through the week, which is really important for me to see.”
Faldo has learnt a lot about players such as Phillip Archer and Bradley Dredge, who are the only players in his team with 100 percent records.
He said: “I didn’t know them at all to be fair.”
And he plans to pick Seve’s brains over the next few days so that he can go into next year’s Ryder Cup matches at Valhalla with even more of an edge.
He said: “I do have a question I am going to ask Seve and all our past captains. I’m not going to tell you because I think it’s beneficial. I don’t want it getting out for you-know-who over on the other side of the pond.
“I’m big on what I am seeing swing-wise and preparation-wise. The focus, the look, all those sorts of things.
“You are looking at the whole mental side and I know I’ve got some very strong ideas in what I really want the team to be focussing on.”
As for his decision to drop Montgomerie and Warren for this morning’s greensomes, he had no problem revealing his thinking.
He said: “Marc is physically good but he is struggling with his swing a little bit. He’s playing for the first time in this situation and he feels a little under pressure but he’s doing fine.
“Mainly I need Monty for the foursomes....oops... slip on that one. It’s pretty obvious.”
Ballesteros played his usual skipper’s role with Finn Mikko Ilonen revealing that the Spaniard was almost getting too close to the action.
Ilonen said: “There is extra pressure with Seve as captain. He wants to get involved in the game. He's on all the par threes with us all the way and it is a bit intimidating.”
But Seve said: “I feel that the closer I am to them, the better they feel.”