RIGHT, it’s now serious over here. It must be. They’ve started talking about war.
First it was bullseyes on players’ backs, then it was Ian Poulter saying he wanted to ‘kill’ his American opponents during a Ryder Cup week (hardly the most sensitive of comments in a country mourning daily as its soldiers bodies are returned from Afghanistan) and now it’s Bubba Watson being asked if there is any military feeling to playing under the Stars and Stripes.
To his credit, Bubba batted that inane suggestion away pointing out that the soldiers are “doing something that actually means something, we’re (just) playing golf”. Quite right. I’d hoped this would be the end of this sort of stuff but then someone asked Rory McIlroy if he felt a bit like a gladiator when it came to the Ryder Cup. Rory mumbled something about it being a bit like that and suddenly I had this image of Jim Furyk oiled up like Russell Crowe in Gladiator and I had to go and lie down in the dark for a while.
Problem is that there is too much talking done in the days leading up to these matches. With several hundred of the media world’d finest needing to be fed stuff to regurgitate each day, the Q&As between player and journalist grow increasingly bizarre as both try to survive life on Planet Ryder. It’s not easy being us.
But there is light at the end of this long tunnel and, for once, it is not the light on the front of an oncoming train. No, relief is close by at last when the action starts tomorrow. Break out the rum and praise someone’s god. A couple of months ago my wife bought me a sign to put up in my study because it reminded her of me. It reads When All Is Said And Done, More will Be Said Than Done. This is true enough but not here, not this week.
From here on in there will be proper, combative golf being played. Heroes will emerge form shadows as Sam Torrance once said and there my even be a villain or two for us to savour. There will be a lot less talking and a lot more action.
Mind you, I’ve already had my week’s highlight. Chicago, that great Windy City, ensemble might be a bit battered and wrinkly therse days but they can still play up a storm of jazz-based rock’n’roll and at Wednesday night’s gala dinner they had us all on our feet. For once, nobody was talking but, boy, were we singing.
So let’s forget all the claptrap and the soldier stuff, let’s just anticipate a great contest. My prediction? Close, very close but America to prevail. Don’t worry, I’m almost always wrong.