More Ryder Fall-out, and Stacy in Perfect Position
I usually, and sometimes mistakenly, think of men’s and women’s golf as two distinctly separate identities. However, as each new tid-bit comes out over the shipwreck that is the 2014 American Ryder Cup team and its lamentable showing in Scotland, I’m beginning to see the entire thing more like a college campus.
To start with, the analogy is, I believe perfect where the men are concerned – whether it started out that way or not, the Ryder Cup has sunk to frat-boy golf. The way that the players are telling it, Tom Watson is the grouchy old prof, or the old military-stye coach, who demanded that the mission be completed perfectly, with no excuses. Along the way, he stomped team spirit flat, threw a gift in the garbage, mocked the opponents, and eventually his own players. At first, I viewed Mickelson as a problem student, but now I’m seeing that the whole class was ticked off, and ready to go see the Dean about it.
Then there’s Rory, the evil opponent (lives in the Beta House on the other side of campus from the Phi Delts), who apparently partied with the “enemy,” waking up shirtless, in a kilt, wearing a red wig – doesn’t that sound collegiate to anyone? In real life, Betas and Phi Delts are only enemies at sporting events, but they go to the same classes during the week. This dispels, for me, the hyped hatred of one side for the other. McIlroy is well-liked in North America, and has many friends and fans here. Hatred? I never bought it. Besides, he’s still in his early twenties – he’s supposed to wake up that way and not remember.
If the college campus analogy is to hold up, we’ll have to think of the men’s game as we would, say “Animal House.” As for Tom Watson he’s going to have problems if he appears before the Tenure and Promotion Committee, and the school’s social sensitivity office is probably going to recommend some classes in social skills used in speaking with students.
So what about the women? There’s no doubt that collegiate women have their own kinds of weird fun. I know this intellectually, but as a non-invited participant, I don’t know precisely what some of it is. More true to the point, however, there’s Stacy Lewis over in China, sitting tied for the lead of the Reignwood going into the fourth day. Winning that tournament is the only thing she’s thinking about, and she won’t show up to your stupid party until she’s studied ten hours a night for her physics final, and until the announcement of Rhodes Scholars has been made, and her name had better be on it. Don’t ever expect her to end up like Rory McIlroy. She is that archetypal master of discipline and concentration. She hates to come in second, she hates it when her preparation is interrupted, and a 4.0 GPA is the bare minimum.
Meanwhile, back on the other side, there are the beaming, preening, gloating Europeans. Their frat won choral contest, flag football, and the Dean’s Trophy all in the same year. Their captain is taken through the streets in a sedan chair, decked with olive wreaths, while his players pose with Dudley Do-Right grins, the year’s alpha males from the math and science department, lording it over the dowdy music and theater majors.
I can only wonder how Stacy is doing this year with the Chinese galleries. Apparently, the University of Golf in that country is just as much of a party school as America’s, and the student body can get pretty rowdy out there behind the ropes.
For the pro tours, summer vacation is almost here. Some will go south and play a little longer, some will go home to practice and see their families, and those who remain will put away the kilt and wig, and remember the year fondly forever. The rest of us townspeople, on the other hand, will be thankful that school doesn’t start again for another few months.