Upon boarding my flight to Chicago early Wednesday morning, I did what everyone forgets to do as they rush to the gate, and that was to buy a paper. Handed out they may be on the plane, you want the paper you are reading to be the one of your choice. They all tell the same stories, but it’s the way they tell them, I guess…
The Daily Mail that was distributed to a flock of bleary-eyed passengers on United Flight 984 would certainly not have been my choice. I have no political issues with the paper – I have few political issues at all – but rather I am steered more towards the writers who contribute to the back pages of other nationals. Give me Dickinson and Atherton in The Times, or Hayward and Mitchell in the Guardian.
That said; Wednesday’s Mail turned my eye. Their coverage of the Ryder Cup was complemented with quality writing from its golf stable, namely Mike Dickson and Derek Lawrenson. There was also an insightful and equally punchy column from sport-writing heavyweight Martin Samuel.
Hardly a man you would think of when golf springs to mind, the recruitment of Samuel – arguably our country’s most prevalent and respected sports hack – to write about the game’s greatest event is proof of the high regard national papers like the Mail hold the Ryder Cup in.
Not so over here. The three Chicago papers I breezed through yesterday offered little in terms of insight. The Chicago Tribune was the biggest culprit, serving up a wafer-thin news-in-brief on the front page of its sport supplement and a tedious story on Luke Donald and his links with the city six pages later.
Even one of the nationals, USA Today, had little on show to reveal we are on the eve of such a venerated event. The results and the headlines from the Monday night football and baseball games continued to edge golf into redundant corners of the print.
You could argue, and you’d be right, that America is a more rounded sports-mad country, and the papers cater to the needs of this. Here a sports lover is a sports lover, while back home a football man is a football man, a rugby man is a rugby man, and so on…
Still, it remains puzzling to see a lack of love from the media with the most important opening tee shot in two years less than 20 hours away. Whether I feel let down by the US press or proud of my own, either way, it’s an early point for Europe, I guess.