US players trade clubs for paddles
If the Ryder Cup was decided on a ping pong table and not a golf course, Matt Kuchar would be the US ace and the Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods doubles partnership would be pretty much unbeatable.
The Americans have turned to another sort of little white ball this week to help promote team bonding before they begin the task of wresting the famous trophy back from the Europeans at the stately Medinah Country Club.
"We've got unbelievably fast thoroughbreds here and if you don't ever let them out in the pasture to kick their heels up and eat some grass and keep them in the stall and make them run hard all the time, they're never going to run," US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III explained.
"So we're just letting them be themselves."
Board games have also been part of the US team preparations but on Wednesday the table tennis was the centre of attention.
"It's clear that Kuch is the best," Love added. "They can't beat him, it's just a matter of how close you came. But Phil improves every year.
"We have multiple guys that have their own paddles now. If we have an injury this week, it'll probably be somebody stepping on a ping-pong ball because they're everywhere.
"But it's fun and it's great to see."
While the relative prowess of the Americans at the table was the focus of light-hearted competition on Wednesday, things will quickly get serious when the Europeans open the defence of their crown on Friday.
The European have walked away with the trophy four of the last five events and one of their trump cards has been an all-for-one, one-for-all team chemistry.
The Americans have found it more difficult to blend their undoubted talents into an effective team at recent versions of the biennial event.
Woods and Mickelson, for example, may have been blowing the competition away on the ping pong table but they have come up short as a Ryder Cup partnership.
At Oakland Hills, Michigan in 2004, captain Hal Sutton played the ultimate hunch matching Woods with his long-time rival in a one-two combination that failed miserably.
"We've not had much success together on the course but I will say that as partners on the pong table, he and I are delivering," Mickelson told reporters.
"We are serving it up and there are not many guys that can match us on the pong table.
"Although we didn't play well together in '04 on the golf course, put us together on that table and we're rocking it."