Tait: Why the fuss over Ryder venue selection?
Friday, May 20, 2011
The Oscars and "X-Factor" come to Wentworth: That’s what it felt like when the 2018 Ryder Cup venue was announced.
We had the big build-up, with each country presenting a short video promoting their bid. Then we had the announcement by European Tour chief executive George O’Grady. I’m surprised George didn’t announce France as winners with the words, "And the award for outstanding Ryder Cup courses goes to . . . "
It also resembled the "X-Factor." The head table contained four men in the shape of Richard Hills, Ryder Cup director; O’Grady; Neil Coles, chairman of the European Tour’s Board of Directors; and Sandy Jones, chief executive of the British Professional Golfers’ Association. All that was missing from each man was a buzzer they could have pressed if they disliked any country’s bid. We might have got four buzzers blaring in unison when the Dutch bid presented some guy with a guitar singing about dreams. Huh?
At one point O’Grady was asked what he thought Sam Ryder would have made of what the Ryder Cup has become. “I think Samuel Ryder. . . If he was looking down, he would doff his cap and he would say, ‘I think it’s in safe hands.’”
Maybe, but what old Sam would have thought of the made for TV glitz and glamour of the announcement is another thing. In that great clubhouse in the sky, he probably reached for the remote and changed channels.
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Could the money have been spent better? That’s the question that was on my mind as I sat and witnessed the above. How much did each nation spend on mounting a bid to stage the 2018 match? And of course there’s an overriding concern. How might that money have been better used had it been pushed into junior golf?
We’ll never know.
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Emotional blackmail? As much as I was a huge Seve Ballesteros fan, and as much as he meant to the Ryder Cup, using him as a ploy to get Spain the 2018 match didn’t sit well with me.
Seve’s brother Baldomero stated publicly that the match should go to Spain to commemorate his memory. That would have been fine had the match been next year, but seven years down the line?
Besides, there is no need to commemorate Seve’s memory. He has always been associated with the Ryder Cup and always will be, whether the match is in Spain or elsewhere. There was no need for emotional blackmail.
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Water worries: Great program today on BBC Radio 4 about California’s need for water. As one expert on the program said, in future there will be wars over water. That being the case, how can we justify the millions of gallons of water sprayed onto golf courses when it could be better used elsewhere.
This is an issue we are going to have to deal with soon. Best we start thinking about it now.
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Who’d be a caddie? Not me, that’s for sure. Not after Craig Connelly’s experience.
The Scot served as Martin Kaymer’s caddie for the last year, helping the German win his first major, the PGA Championship, and becoming World No. 1. On Sunday Kaymer fired Connelly, the second time a high-profile European Tour player has sacked him. Paul Casey fired the Scot at the end of the 2009 season, and Connelly still doesn’t know why.
Why so many want to caddie is beyond me. Sure, there can be great rewards. Connelly isn’t going to have to hurry to find a new bag after the money he’s made with Kaymer. However, as far as job security goes, caddying carries about as much security as working for Donald Trump.
Caddies have no contracts, no fixed working hours and no job description. Like Connelly, they can be fired without warning. They get little credit when their player performs well and seem to take a lot of flak when their player performs poorly.
I’ve got a lot of time for the caddies. They multitask better than any group in golf. They are not only expected to carry 60-pound bags, but serve as coaches, psychologists, scapegoats, gofers, rules experts and much more. Most don’t do it for the money, but for the love of the game.
Golf is richer because of the caddies and would be poorer without them. I wish more players realized that.