Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Ryder Cup

As a teenager I played all sorts of sports. Cricket was my main love and I even managed to attain quite a high level despite some handicaps (not being a posh person with lots of money being the biggest one). I represented my county on a few occasions and was lucky enough to play with and against some athletes that went on to represent their country at the highest level, even captaining it. I was pretty good at football as well (soccer for my American friends), goalkeeping was my speciality. Football was cheap, we only needed a makeshift ball and our coats to mark the goalposts.

Golf was a very strange compromise; you needed some money to play, especially upfront to buy golf clubs, but you didn't need fantastically rich parents to do well (unlike cricket in those days). My best friend and I played at our local course every spare minute we could find. It cost us 2-pounds ($4 these days) for a round as long as we started 2-hours or less before sunset. Racing around the course kept us fit, and caddying at Sunningdale raised the money (and also kept us fit).

A couple of injuries stopped me playing golf a while ago, but I still follow the sport and hope to play again soon, and the Ryder Cup is the pinnacle of that sport - it's competition at its finest and fairest, even if commercial interests have taken over somewhat.

I caught the end of today's play on TV after coming down from the summit and was disappointed. I heard the crowd chanting "USA, USA...". Disgraceful behaviour. I also heard, from time-to-time, "Olé, Olé" from the European supporters. In either case, that's just not cricket, er, golf.

Then I remembered where I live and make a living - the USA of course, but I grew up in Europe and make my living here due to the education I received there. So who should I support?

The 2009 Ryder Cup will be tied. That's i) my prediction and ii) my hope so I don't have to worry about my conflict of interest.

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