How did the Ryder Cup sneak up on me again? That bastard.
This year, the tempest in the tee box is about whether the players from the PGA rival LIV tour should be allowed to play for the U.S. team. LIV tour superbitchass Bryson DeChambeau thinks they should, because, he says, “We’re playing for our country, not playing for a Tour, not playing for money.”
No, you’re not playing for your country, any more than your caddy is caddying for his country. You’re playing for your country when your country asks you to play for your country. And no country ever asked anyone to play golf.
You know what this country needs? said no American ever. A bunch of American country club brats named Justin, Cameron, Scottie, Taylor, Keegan (and Bryson) to beat another bunch of country club brats, from Spain and Ireland. That ought to show those Russians and Chinese and North Koreans not to steal balls off our driving range!
No, son. You’re “playing” for yourself—again. Only this time in a fetching red, white and blue golf outfit that lets you feel, falsely, that you’re doing something for the dubious larger civic purpose of trying to humiliate all our European allies. And for the rest of your life—and the sorry lives of your family, friends and Golf Channel viewers—you’ll tell the story about how you were so nervous on the first tee you could barely get the tee in the ground. As if you were in a landing craft, approaching Omaha Beach.
Sorry, Xander. There is no larger purpose. You’re doing nothing for your country. It’s all just a lot of hollering and high-fiving, with a load of hand-over-the-heart, National Anthem-weeping waterheads looking on from their BarcaLoungers with gin and tonics at their elbow. Meanwhile, most great Americans live whole rich and productive lives without knowing much more about the Ryder Cup than you know about the Billie Jean King Cup.
Three buddies and I gather periodically to play golf and ironically call ourselves “The People’s Foursome.” Over the years it has emerged that two of us happen to be fans of The Doors, and two of us are not fans of The Doors, particularly. So we have split into two teams: The Doors, and The Non Doors. Whoever wins in our periodic clashes, makes the other group wear an ugly t-shirt. We have a ball.
That epic rivalry may not have any more meaning than the Ryder Cup. But it does not have less.
Either, incidentally, does a farting contest.
Postscript: One of the Non-Doors just texted me and said, “I actually don’t hate The Doors.”
“The People’s Foursome,” a couple of years ago at Whistling Straits. Great seats were still available.