Tait: World Cup doesn't live up to expectations
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I just can’t get into this week’s World Cup in China. Seems I’m not alone. I’m not convinced it resonates with much of the golfing public, either.
I’m all for events that are different from the run-of-the-mill, steady diet we get of 72-hole stroke-play tournaments. So the World Cup should be right up my street. It isn’t.
How many sports have a World Cup or championship that clashes with other tournaments? Think about it: the football (soccer, for my American friends) World Cup doesn’t clash with anything in the sport. It stands alone because it is the pinnacle of football.
The World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, The Ashes and Rugby World Cup stand alone because they are the premier events in their respective sports. Not golf’s World Cup. This week, there are tournaments in South Africa (the SA Open Championship) and Australia (the Australian PGA Championship).
Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen shouldn’t have to choose between playing in their national championship and representing their country in the World Cup. Yet that’s the absurd position they find themselves in. They’ve both opted for China.
There is a pretty good field in China, with Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco. Yet it isn’t as strong of a field as it could be.
For example, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland represent the United States. Kuchar is the World No. 10, with only three Americans ranked above him, so no real problem with him being in China. However, Woodland is World No. 48, behind 17 Americans. Surely No. 5 Steve Stricker, No. 6 Dustin Johnson or No. 9 Webb Simpson should be partnering with Kuchar?
Brendan Jones and Richard Green are flying the Australian colors in China. They are ranked 81st and 88th in the world, respectively. If Australia wanted its best team, then Adam Scott and Jason Day, World Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, would be in China. Instead, they’re playing in the Australian PGA.
It’s always been thus with the World Cup. Many times in the past, countries have had to send their B teams because the A team didn’t want to play. Tiger Woods played in the World Cup only twice (1999 and 2000) when he was in his pomp.
Can you imagine Lionel Messi telling Argentina that he doesn’t want to play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil? It wouldn’t happen.
Maybe the tournament being held in China would have more traction if it wasn’t pretending to be something it isn’t. Call anything the “World Cup” and you expect the crème de la crème to be there. That might have been true when it was called the Canada Cup, but it’s never really been the case with the World Cup.
Truth is the World Cup is lost in a sea of tournaments and doesn’t truly live up to what it claims to be.