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Point Counterpoint

Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup?

Ryder Cup L

et’s not get too cute here. This is a pick-on-someone-

your-own-size debate. Presidents Cup vs. the

Ryder Cup? Francis Ouimet is cringing at the thought of it. Jack Fleck had to look the other way. Not even Ben Crenshaw has a good feeling about this one. Cinderella Man wouldn’t accept this fight. The Presidents Cup has

been contested 10 times. The International team has won just once. Once. The Presidents Cup is as

competitive as a bug vs. a wind- shield.

Alabama football vs. Little

Sisters of the Poor. A No. 1 seed vs. a No. 16 in

the NCAA Tournament. In-N-Out vs. McDonald’s. Want to make the argument

that McDonald’s has better French fries than In-N-Out? Fine, and the draft to set up

matches at the Presidents Cup is way cooler than a blind draw. We are a nation of drafts. Bring fantasy football to the Ryder Cup. We could even mock draft the Ryder Cup! Don’t you love the idea of

the European team siccing a Tiger-stopper on the game’s best player? Someone who could get under Tiger’s skin and rattle him in match play? Golf ’s version of the Kobe-stopper? Can’t you see European

captain Paul McGinley coun- tering a Tiger pick by throw- ing Sergio Garcia on him? Or maybe U.S. captain Tom Watson shielding Tiger from that treatment, and only match- ing him up when McGinley has to offer a player first?

24 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2014 Now there’s some real

strategy. Baseball has bullpen decisions. Football has fourth downs. Basketball has the last shot. Give golf a little second- guess love. Let’s make golf a true team sport. How about making these

captains do something besides pick uniform combinations? Because right now, they’re little more than equipment- managers-in-training for the Oregon Ducks. Of course, it doesn’t mat- ter who is coaching the U.S. Presidents Cup team when the Internationals haven’t won this millennium. The Presidents Cup has the vibe of a college football spring game. Nothing’s on the line—it’s just a way to quench the thirst of a select diehard few during an off-year. Dust off the ol’ U-S-A!

chant and fantasize about how the Americans will do a year later in the Ryder Cup. Let’s face it. The most

memorable event from the past Presidents Cup was a female streaker sprinting after Steve Stricker. Really, Presidents Cup?

That’s the best you’ve got? It’s time to save the Presi-

dents Cup. We can all see the potential.

The Ryder Cup makes golf look like an actual sport. It’s rowdiness over

reverence. There’s cheering. There’s

jeering. There’s gamesmanship. Tempers flare. Emotions spill out. Sure, it’s a little Accountants

Gone Wild, complete with un- tucked collared shirts, vertically challenged chest bumps and

whiffed high fives—but it’s also unmasked and unstuffed. It’s real. There’s momentum. The

fans have an effect on the outcome. There’s a home-field advantage—the course is even tailored to the host team. There’s a fiery passion on both sides, a palpable will to win. There’s an energy. It’s playoff game. Win or go home. There are nerves. It can

define a career. It can mangle and total one. The stakes are on par with a major, except for the crippling pressure of playing for something much bigger than yourself. There’s nothing like it. Most of all, it’s fun. And while we’re saving pre-

mier golf events, it’s incredibly disappointing the Olympics re- fused to channel the Ryder Cup, bypassing both a team format and match play for yet another muted 72-hole stroke-play tournament. It’s just the World Golf Championship crew playing for medals instead of cardboard checks. Can you imagine the na-

tionalism on display in a match play bracket populated with flags from 30 different coun- tries? How the whole world would back a Cinderella if it made a deep run? How everyone would have a

puncher’s chance? The but- terflies both the underdogs and favorites would futilely try to suppress while playing a match on the world stage? Well, even though the

Olympics messed up, we can bring that magic to both the Ryder and Presidents Cups. How?

Relegation. Golf meets the English

Premier League. It works like this: Win the

Ryder Cup and you’re drinking out of that baby for two years. Then you’ll defend your title against the winner of the Presi- dents Cup. Lose the Ryder Cup? Play for

your life at the Presidents Cup. Lose the Presidents Cup? You’re flipping between the Ryder Cup and NFL Sunday from home. Gasp. A Ryder Cup without the

Americans or Europeans? Why not? Let’s stop pretending golf only exists on each side of the Atlantic. You know how the confer-

ence championship games are often more intense than the Super Bowl? Give the Presidents Cup that weight. You might be surprised how

squirrely the Americans could get at the Presidents Cup if a berth to the Ryder Cup was on the line. Same goes for the Europeans, if they found themselves in such unfamiliar territory. And imagine if the Ameri-

cans or Europeans were knocked off in the Presidents Cup and had to stew for another two years before they got another crack at qualifying for the Ryder Cup. That’s good stuff. The Ryder Cup has ex- panded before. Great Britain (and Ireland) won just three of 22 matches from 1927-1977. Then Europe was added to the mix in 1979, infusing talent, competi- tiveness and relevance. An intense rivalry was born.

Europe is 9-7-1 against the United States since.

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