SPORTS AGENDA: Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic are fans of McIlroy

SPORTS AGENDA: Bastian Schweinsteiger and his wife Ana Ivanovic are fans of Rory McIlroy… while Bob MacIntyre treats 12 pals to villa and tickets at the Ryder Cup

  • Rory McIlroy drew the celebrity following in the singles at the Ryder Cup 
  • Bob MacIntyre rented a villa close to the course for 12 of his closest pals 
  • Despite attempts to diversify, Non-white faces were few and far between

No doubting who drew the celebrity following in the singles. 

German football legend Bastian Schweinsteiger and his wife Ana Ivanovic could be seen following Rory McIlroy’s match, along with former One Direction singer Niall Horan, who is close friends with the world No 2.

Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United star Schweinsteiger pulled all the attention from the galleries, with few realising who Ivanovic was — despite her being a former world No 1 tennis ace and Grand Slam winner!

MacIntyre treats pals

Bob MacIntyre is widely regarded as one of the sport’s good guys and the generous Scot’s actions here would certainly demonstrate that reputation. 

Rory McIlroy (above) drew the celebrity following in the singles at the Ryder Cup

German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger and wife Ana Ivanovic followed McIlroy’s match

MacIntyre rented a villa close to the course for 12 of his closest pals from home and scored tickets for them for each day, paying for all of it himself. 

MacIntyre will take centre stage at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week, along with Europe team-mate Tommy Fleetwood.

When in Rome

If the occupancy levels of the villas around the Marco Simone course are any gauge, it is safe to say the Ryder Cup did not capture the attention of everyone in this part of Rome. 

Despite there being 50,000 spectators on the course, few came out on their balconies to take in one of the biggest sporting events on the planet — even though it was taking place virtually in their back gardens.

Punters caught short

It has been a relatively successful tournament in terms of organisation and transport for punters, but there has been one area in which officials appear to have been caught short. 

A common complaint has been the lack of toilets on the course at Marco Simone. 

With fans urged to rehydrate, and with a large number of water refill stations, queues at the precious portable toilets have been lengthy.

Facing facts 

Despite attempts to diversify, it was interesting to note the ethnic make-up of the crowds in Italy. 

Non-white faces were few and far between, other than in corporate hospitality areas — where many of those serving champagne were from minority backgrounds. 

Indeed, one punter observed there were more people of colour working in the plush suites than on the rest of the course over the entirety of the week.

Rory McIlroy was involved in a furious bust-up in the car park at Marco Simone on Saturday

Good time for safety call

Impeccable timing from Ryder Cup organisers on Saturday night. 

Just as Rory McIlroy was being held back and bundled into a motor as tempers frayed in the car park following hat-gate, staff sent out an email to all journalists warning them entitled ‘Safety’ and asking them to ‘remain vigilant and report anything that feels different’.

Bournemouth still waiting 

A curious situation at Bournemouth where new manager Andoni Iraola is currently working without an assistant. 

The Basque was appointed in June following the dismissal of Gary O’Neil and expected to be joined by his number two from Rayo Vallecano, Inigo Perez. 

However, with the season now seven matches old and the club in the relegation zone, the relevant work permit remains outstanding.

MCC president targets Hundred

Mark Nicholas starts his year as MCC president on Monday and already has some big ideas. 

The former Hampshire man wants to examine the feasibility of an MCC team featuring in The Hundred. 

‘The members would have a team support and there is interest in us doing this from the ECB,’ he said. 

Mark Nicholas, pictured with Mick Jagger at Lord’s, begins his stint at MCC president

‘I doubt MCC would link with Middlesex – it is easier to start a franchise from nothing. But other counties such as Essex might want to be involved, too.’

Push for women members 

Nicholas is also keen on increasing the number of women among the membership from the current figure of 3 per cent. 

‘That is wrong,’ he added. ‘The club may need to create a different category – women can’t jump the waiting list as that would be illegal. Maybe there could be an area set aside in the Compton and Edrich Stands for a younger element in the membership.’

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