It’s the Ryder Cup! The only time of the year when golf matters. Or indeed two years.
Golf. What a bloody stupid game it is. I’ve had several gos at it, but I’ve never seen the benefits. Every so often a mate by the Blue Bell urges me to reconsider, promising me that I shall gain the following:
(a) A bit of exercise. Right, Your average amateur golfer looks like a Pringle-patterned weeble. If I want a bit of exercise, I’ll get a dog.
(b) It’s a challenge. It’s not a challenge. It’s a bloody trial. Tiny white ball into tiny unseeable hole. And hit it with this – a tiny parallelogram on the end of a stick!
(c) Nice to have the comradeship of your mates. It is indeed. Trouble is when I play golf I never fuckin’ see them. I’m always waist-deep in nettles and hawthorn cursing the Lord God on high. And mentally selecting a Labrador or a Jack Russell to go off with on me next aimless ramble. It starts off with you and your pals and ends up with me beating the hell out of the undergrowth with a 9-iron.
In fact, short of sticking pins in your eyes, golf has to be the most masochist thing anyone has ever invented. Apart from supporting Middlesbrough Football Club, and that’s enough self-harming for any man.
I think I could take the twitched putts, the burrowing into bunkers, the zigzagging across the fairways, if it wasn’t for the fact that once you get to the 19th the place is full of the most God-awful middle-class V-necked pillocks on God’s green earth.
It’s like a frigging Daily Mail Readers’ convention in there. If there’s owt worse than the combination of check trousers and right-wing cobblers I’d like to know. It’s little short of a Peter Alliss cloning laboratory.
And just in case you’ve forgotten where you are, there’s always a telly on in the corner showing Sky Sports 763 HD’s coverage of the Yankee Doodle Processed Meat Corporation Golf Tournament from Buttkissee County, Alabama. Yawn.
Golf is a sport that lends itself to those with a psychotic mentality. To be the very best at it, it helps if you are asocial, amoral, asexual and a loner. You look at your Faldos, your Woodses, your Nicklauses. Time may yet be kind to them but let’s face it in their pomp these blokes wouldn’t know a social life if it walked into their house with a crate of ale, a bucket of spicy chicken wings and a goalkeeping bloopers video. (Yes, I’m THAT easy to please).
But here’s where the Ryder Cup matters. Here, there is an importance to be attached to camaraderie, to fellowship, to team spirit. Which is, to my mind, why Faldo was such a lame captain. He still thought it was about him. And really the man’s never particularly empathised with the workings of another man’s brain.
(Incidentally this is why John McEnroe is the king of all sports summarisers. He’s harsh, he’s fairbut he always empathises.)
Inevitably most of the attention is going to be on a man whose capacity for self-absorption is unsurpassed in modern sport. Tiger. It’s a good name for him isn’t it? Solitary, often seen prowling late-night bars, and quite possible endangered and more than a bit frosty.
Who will Pavin get to play with him? And if she’s not silicon-enhanced and peroxided, will he be interested? (That’s still the quandary around Woods... utterly gorgeous wife, even by Sweden’s extremely high totty rating, rich as a three-year-old Christmas cake, and he goes after some of the most crumpled and rumpled looking jailbait imaginable. Who’d’ve thought it? World’s Greatest Golfer Likes His Bit of Rough.)
If I was Pavin I’d send him out for a single point on the last day. And leave it at that.
So at Celtic Manor – with, we trust, a Welsh rain blowing up the Americans’ waterproof trousers like wet ferrets – we will enjoy shouting that unique sporting refrain ‘Europe, Europe, Europe.’ I mean whenever else does your average Brit vow his support for the continent of which he’s barely a part? Weird isn’t it? Can you imagine watching Inter-Man United and shouting ‘Come on Premier League!’ (Or ‘anything other than ‘Avanti, Nerazzurri!.)
Home advantage is important in the Ryder Cup. This way, when Phil Mickelson plays out sideways from behind a mighty oak. we don’t have to put up with quite so many dickheads shouting ‘In The Hole’ -which is coincidentally exactly where I’d put my fist if I heard that coming from a bloke near me.
So this is the golf tournament I care about. It’s nice to see Americans beaten. They won’t mind that much – they just thank God for all his blessings and toddle off home.
I’m concerned that Monty’s already written a Loser’s Speech. But then his experiences in major golf tournaments have prepared him well for such an eventuality. I’m annoyed that Pavin’s banned tweeting by his players. Though most of ‘em probably wake up each morning and tap out summat to @God.
But you look forward to the pairings. Is it a circus or some pepperoni salesmen! No it’s that Molinari brothers! And who’s that wandering up the twelfth with a three-hole lead – it’s the return of the Macs. Rory and Graeme!
There’s only one bloke who looks like he shouldn’t be there. Peter Hansen.
He’s 32 but he looks 72. He’s already getting the tag unsung. I’m hoping he’s the lumpen Swede that takes out Woods on the final day.
Do it for Elin, Peter, son. Can't see Europe losing.