Despite my extreme loathing of the Ryder Cup Matches, which seems to have evolved into golf’s Super Bowl and World Cup all rolled up into three frenzied days, I was glued to the TV for the better part of the exhibition.
Yes, exhibition is the best description because after all the flag-waving and hype about who wins, when you expose the Ryder Cup agenda for what it is, sports fans are shocked. The Ryder Cup is a $50 million fundraiser for the PGA of America, which refuses to pay the players a salary for participating. It’s a mystery to me how the PGA of America has produced this pulled off this scheme to pocket millions in pure profit.
First, they take a 17-inch trophy and throw the American flag over it and tell us the team is playing for our country, which is bull. Then, they take the top 12 players from the United States, all in the prime of their careers, and own them for one week. The con artists at the PGA of America tell the players what to wear, where to go, what to eat, what to say, where to play and when to make public appearances. Not only that, the team captain gives a two-year commitment without compensation. What other sport pulls this scam?
If we flashback to The Country Club in Brookline in 1999, when players like Phil Mickelson and David Duval balked at the free services they were providing, the PGA of America reluctantly decided to give them $200,000, but designated to the players favorite charity. My favorite headline from 1999 read “Cup Filled with Whine.” Cheerleaders like Tim Geary will tell you the Ryder Cup is the mother of all golf team competitions; that Tom Watson was captain fantastic; that the 12 best players weren’t there; that the US team had great chemistry; and the politically correct Geary is 100 percent gullible on the flag-waving conspiracy theory. The fact of the matter is that no player dares to ask for money because placing money ahead of team colors is unpatriotic and PR suicide. I’m still waiting for the day a player refuses to play in the Ryder Cup because it’s considered working for free for the PGA of America.
The American team choked and they have choked in the last five matches. So what? I bet if you put a $12 million purse on the line, $1 million for each winning team member, you’d see the US team respond with more enthusiasm, more emotion and dominance. Yes, motivation on the PGA Tour is driven by money! There’s an abundance of riches to PGA Tour players since 95 players earned more than $1 million this year. So if I hate the Ryder Cup, why watch? Because there is an invisible lure to the Ryder Cup, that’s why. Ryder Cup history is cluttered with players so nervous they almost puke on their own shoes. Nerves and pressure are inseparable at the Ryder Cup. Hands shake, stomachs churn, sweat permeates, hearts beat faster and all because players are on a worldwide stage and the goofy golf format guarantees a compelling golf event. The players are out of their usual comfort zone.
Golf is essentially an every-man-for-himself game. Here’s a tee, ball, clubs, scorecard, go play and give me your score. When it’s Ryder Cup week, everything changes. Who cares about team chemistry? These players compete against each other for 44 weeks during the regular Tour season, and besides the US chemistry is totally connected to dollar signs. One parting factoid before prepping for the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota: Eight members of the Europe team own homes in Florida. No member of the US team owns property in Europe!
Tom Gorman has been and continues to be an angry, white golf writer.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?