On Friday, the U.S. and Europe will battle once again for the covented Ryder Cup trophy along with bragging rights for the next 2 years. Oh, and there is that whole thing about winning for your country to.
In a recent Golf Digest article, it talked about how in 2004 the American team seemed to be swept up in the rich lifestyle and was lavished with gifts, rings, $1500 tuxedos, and basically seemed more interested in having a “gala” event versus focusing on playing high quality golf for their country. I am making these comments based on memory of what I read, but the gentleman the interview was with previously played on a Ryder Cup team and felt the U.S. Team was going to lose before the first golf ball was every struck. The article discussed issues like the PGA Tour (when played in the U.S. I believe) earns roughly $60 million or so from the Ryder Cup alone, and probably forks out roughly $30 million on various expenses (some legitimate, some extraordinary). All the players have Cadillac limos available to them around the clock, they have to dress in $1500 tuxedos bought for them (Tiger actually hates this part of the Ryder Cup as it takes away from his preparation for the tournament), they are lavished with various types of jewery, they are given golf bags, care packages, etc…
Long story short, like most celebrities and professional athletes in this world who are rich, they are given everything for free.
There also seems to be this focus every 2 years on camaraderie among the players and teams. Though I feel this is an important component of a successful Ryder Cup tournament, I think there is this expectation that all the players should be holding hands singing “Merry Go Round” while dancing in a circle with smiles on their face.
Tiger Woods, Chris D’Marco, and Darren Clarke have all suffered personal loss in their lives in 2006, especially Darren Clarke who lost his wife to cancer merely 5 weeks ago, so emotions this weekend will run high and player’s focus will be on the tournament. Getting close and snuggly with other players will be the last thing on their minds.
There are 4 rookies on the U.S. Team this year, and Tiger Woods did an “un-Tiger-like” move and actually pulled all 4 to the side to discuss with them their role in the Ryder Cup. Tiger, the #1 player in the world, was standing up and becoming a leader for the young guns.
I am hoping the U.S. can come through and win this years Ryder Cup by a large margin, though I do like a cat fight to the end.
Check out these Youtube.com Videos
1999 Ryder Cup Highlights
2006 Ryder Cup Preview