19 September 2008


The Ryder Cup is underway. This competition is odd to me as I find myself strangely drawn to it, despite being totally devoid of any interest in golf.

Golf, along with rugby union, is a sporting blind spot for me. It seems to be one of those sports which should be simple, but is made far more complicated by its rules and scoring system. Essentially, getting 18 balls into 18 holes in fewer shots than your opponent shouldn't be hard to comprehend. But then bring up birdies, bogies, albatrosses, handicaps, pars - not to mention the rules on which clubs you can carry and what these implements are called - and it becomes much more complex.

Then you have, in the Ryder Cup, the concepts of foursomes and matchplay and holes being "halved" (educated guess: a tie), which seem to further confuse those as stupid as I. I'm not going to knock golf - I don't knock anybody's sport as it's as much someone's true love as the next person's pet hate, and I know how cross I get when somebody criticises football or devalues British sporting achievement. Indeed, there are bits about golf which almost make me think about taking it up - the fresh air, the gentler end of good exercise, the element of decorum, even pettier things like the smart attire. I may take it up when I retire - by then I might understand it more.

Meanwhile, I'll watch the Ryder Cup. I think I do this because it's a team event, rather than individuals going for one solitary prize. And any sporting success over the USA has to be good. I think I also have some attraction to it because the few golf moments I have in my mind's eye involve the Ryder Cup - Tony Jacklin's tears of joy, Bernhard Langer's agonising miss, the Americans celebrating too early, that Spanish bloke who wasn't Severiano Ballesteros doing a strange celebratory dance akin to that of a 50km walker about to topple.

So anyway, after all your foursomes and singles and, erm, birdies and bunkers, I hope Europe win. Not that if I watched the Ryder Cup with the sound turned down, I'd necessarily know.

1 comment:

Chris Hughes said...

Jose-Maria Olazabal, that would be - I always thought of it as a samba dancer walking along an imaginary tightrope playing imaginary castanets. Either way, enduring image. Bizarrely, I remember flicking between that and an episode of Three Up Two Down.