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Presidents Cup T


here are colleagues who question my emotional


stability for accepting this case, others who suggest I’d write anything for money. The lat- ter has always been true. But since even O.J. had lawyers, the Presidents Cup deserves a vigorous defense against the assertion that it’s inferior to the painfully overrated Ryder Cup and the putter-sniffing idiots in golf media who worship it. In fact, there’s a fellow who


The International team needs that kick in the butt. It needs something to play for. The Internationals can’t feed


off the pride of playing for a country or a region. Sure, there’s elite talent popping up from all corners of the globe, but the Internationals can’t manufacture the natural camaraderie and pride felt by the Americans and Europeans.


Unless…the Internationals


had a chance to make history. What if they had a chance to win the most prestigious Cup in golf? What if they could play their way into the Ryder Cup? Then we’ve got something.


Then we’ve got an event that accurately reflects the current climate in the golf world. Then we’ve got a true world champi- onship.


Then we’ve got the proper motivation.


KEVIN MERFELD is the Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing for the NCGA.


wrote an entire book of tedious details about childish bicker- ing at the 1991 Ryder Cup, the so-called War by The Shore. My god, have some respect for vet- erans. Normandy was a war by a shore, and Iwo Jima too. Lanny Wadkins cries like a baby after winning a match, and a herd of overwrought journalists want to swaddle him in a warming blanket. Please. Of the two international


competitions, the Presidents Cup is clearly a better golf match, if only because the Ry- der Cup brings out the worst in American players, their bouncy wives, loutish fans, hand-wring- ing broadcasters, and especially Tiger Woods, who in seven Ryders is 13-17-3, which makes him the San Diego Chargers of team golf. When he went 0-3-1 at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, one writer described the world’s best player as “a bewildered bystander.” In his eight President’s


Cup appearances Woods was


a steamroller, going 24-15-1. When Tiger is winning, people turn on their televisions and watch. And there are other points favoring the Presi- dents Cup: For one thing, the United


States usually wins, taking eight out of 10 Presidents Cups, with one tie. In the United States we love winning and get real cranky about losing; just ask Hal Sutton how his Ryder captaincy worked out. Ryder Cup pairings are





essentially a blind draw, with each captain submitting a list of players in order. Getting a marquee match—say Woods against Rory McIlroy—is a matter of dumb and dumber luck. The Presidents Cup makes a show of it, with each captain rolling out his lineup one at a time, in real time, punch and counterpunch. That’s how we got K.J. Choi and Adam Scott against Woods and Steve Stricker at Royal Melbourne. Who can forget the kerfuffle over Scott hiring caddie Steve Williams after his split with Woods. That’s theater, Mr. Spielberg, real theater. With the Europeans left





out of the Presidents Cup, we don’t have to suffer the likes of dour Mrs. Doubtfire, Colin Montgomerie, the ever-twitchy Sergio Garcia and boring guys from Germany. Instead, we see exciting international play- ers such as the 2013 Masters Champion Scott of Australia, fellow Aussie Jason Day, and Argentina’s loveable Angel Ca- brera, “The Duck” with a pair of majors on his resume. Real presidents serve as





an honorary chairman of the eponymous Cup, including South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, America’s Gerald Ford and Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada. Captain Fred Couples:





Need we say more? The Ryder Cup, on the other





hand, gushes more hot air than Congress, hyperinflation clearly driven by media. It starts with ever-so-significant selection of a


captain and speculation about whether he’ll inspire the U.S. team, as if an old PGA Tour player has any real influ- ence on how well individuals perform—other than Boom Boom. What then follows is obsession over captain’s selections, as if the picks are Supreme Court nominations. Reporters also read volumes


into the U.S. team’s collective mood by how the boys are bonding over ping-pong. Those spirited ping-pong games that turned Tiger and Phil into Best Friends Forever sure helped them in the 2004 Ryder Cup, a pairing and performance that led the press to hammer Cap- tain Sutton so viciously that, as he said, “It drove me right out of the game.” Seriously? This is some- thing we expect from Fleet Street flacks furious with the coaching of Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League, or the clowns fixated with the New York Jets. Still, American reporters and broadcasters are absolutely mesmerized by the reputed closeness of the European team, as if 12 highly individualistic golfers somehow morph into Seal Team 6. Perhaps the worst thing


about the Ryder Cup is how it turns Americans into boorish louts, including players who encourage pugilistic patriotism with U.S. flag-themed clothing, and wives and girlfriends who rush onto greens to hug their boys before the match is actually over. While the European fans are relatively polite to the op- position, American galleries go all 16th Hole at the Waste Man- agement Open during the Ryder Cup, cheering Euro shots that find water and chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” like a pack of jingoistic zombies. Shameful. Or perhaps better said, shameless.


I urge the members of the


jury to find in favor of The Presidents Cup.


JAY STULLER is an author, journalist, corporate speechwriter and frequent contributor to this magazine.


WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 25


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