Monday Musings: Down the Ryder Cup rabbit hole
The Ryder Cup. That biennial trip down golf's rabbit hole. Weird and wonderful and getting weirder all the time, to the point that one of these years, they'll forego actually holding it on a golf course and just let Tim Burton direct it in front of a green screen.
The game of golf has its soul splayed out on the table at this thing and never more has there been a pitched fight for that soul than this year, at Hazeltine, in Minnesota. Dour, hushed and quite proper? Or cheery, bellowing and braying?
The latter won out this time around and it did so with mixed results.
That there was an actual windmill in plain view behind one of the holes carried more than a little symbolism for me and had me thinking that maybe some of the gallery members had been bussed in from the snack bars of every mini-putt within driving distance.
Tricked up, trumped up, amped up golf, both on the links and in the galleries. The competition and shotmaking were sensational. The atmosphere was positively crackling, but in a weird way, like if a wing of a library became the ping-pong room of a frat house.
That energy did add to the drama of the matches and plainly coursed through the veins of the players. The quiet fist pump after sinking a tough putt was replaced by bellowing bragging, the kind usually reserved for football's sack dances and end zone choreography.
Most of it seemed good natured, with the European players holding their own both on the course and on social media.
Yup, there were some knuckleheads. Toss the abusive ones, every time. Who'd argue? You know, other than the abusive ones.
Okay, the "U-S-A!" chanting got to be a little much, but only because of the repetition, the way that Pharrell Williams song went from awesome to "I never want to hear it again" a couple of summers ago.
No offence meant there. Sometimes I heard it even when there was nothing to prompt it going on on my screen and although it might be that the crowd was chanting because the Americans had done something of note on another hole, I couldn't help but think that just maybe I was hearing it because somebody in star-spangled spandex and a giant foam cowboy hat was seeing how many golf balls he could fit in his mouth.
No, golf doesn't need to look more like the Ryder Cup going forward. It can stay as reverential and stiff as it wants for the vast majority of events. A Caddyshack/Happy Gilmore theme once every 104 weekends?
I think it can survive that. Might even be the better for it.