9.21.2005

It is hard to root for the Red, White & Blue

I’m a golfer. I like and follow professional golf. I’d like to think the average professional golfer isn’t a pampered, spoiled horse’s ass. Then something happens to make me realize otherwise.

The President’s Cup, a set of matches pitting a team of American golfers against their international counterparts, begins Thursday. The players have been practicing this week at the course hosting the event, where the following brouhaha occurred:

Presidents Cup captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player engaged in an animated
exchange over players signing autographs during practice rounds at the
Presidents Cup on Tuesday.
Nicklaus, who is captaining the U.S. team for a
third time, confronted Player on the driving range and accused the International
team captain of breaking an agreement to not allow players to sign autographs on
the golf course.

World No. 2 Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and the
International team in general were seen signing autographs throughout the day as
they practiced at the Robert Trent Golf Course. Later, some U.S. team members
also signed for fans.

After talking with Player, Nicklaus told fans
around the driving range -- as he was signing autographs -- that some of his
players thought the Internationals where making them look "like jerks," said
Nicklaus.



The European team drove the U.S. to distraction at
last year's Ryder Cup in Oakland Hills near Detroit, signing autographs and
mingling with American fans as part of a major charm offensive designed to help
diffuse some of the hostility they might face during the event.
The plan
worked as the Europeans received a mostly warm welcome from the pro-American
crowd as they rolled to record-breaking 18½-9½ victory.

Let me put this in another way. The American team basically said to the International team ‘Look, we have no urge to be cordial to the people that help pay our salary by signing a few autographs, but we don’t want to be called out as the jerks that we really are. Could you not sign autographs either so we can pull off the scam that we can’t possibly tear ourselves away from practicing for a second? Thanks a bunch’. The International team agreed, waited for the American team to leave, called them a bunch of wankers/blokes/chumps/hosers and ignored the request. And since the America side is not just pampered and spoiled, but thin skinned, they couldn’t for a moment be seen as the bad guys and out came the Sharpies.

Mr. Nicklaus, if the International team has no problem signing autographs during a practice session and the American team does, the Americans don’t look like jerks, they are jerks. Also, Mr. Nicklaus, if the American team can't learn their lesson when competitors used the nefarious autograph signing gambit just last year, not only are they jerks, but they are dumb jerks.

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