Thursday, September 25, 2008
Did The Americans Play Unfair This Week at the Ryder Cup?
It might be Thursday of the Tour Championship, our final "tournament" of the season, but minds are still closely locked to the Ryder Cup. Three days of impressive golf from all the American players and a surprising win for Team USA got people on this side of the pond pretty fired up.
On the course, and in the stands at Valhalla, players were also fired up, and Peter Kostis wrote a column yesterday questioning the antics of the Americans.
"(Boo Weekley's) play was tremendous, but his behavior on Friday during the four-ball matches was over the top.
I don't think that Boo intended to be disrespectful to either (Lee) Westwood or Soren Hansen because the guy doesn't have a malicious bone in his body. He just failed to realize that pointing at the stands and firing up the crowd on the 12th hole before Westwood hit his potentially hole-tying putt was inappropriate."
You know, I discussed this with a couple of golf friends during the matches and we all agreed, Boo's excitement in between shots was a little annoying. The thing is, you can't blame Weekley for this stuff. You think he knows the proper way to act during the Ryder Cup? Hell, the guy doesn't even know what month the Masters is in! The only person you can really blame, if blame is even the right word, is Paul Azinger, who should have (and probably did since Boo settled down over the weekend) pulled him aside and told him to wait until the hole if finished to be raising the roof and firing up the crowd.
Kostis goes on to bring up Azinger's pre-tournament pep rally when he told spectators that it's okay to cheer if the Europeans miss a putt and the fact that the American captain failed to shake the hand of Paul Casey after a match ended.
"After Paul Casey, whom I coach, halved his match with Hunter Mahan on Sunday, the European captain Nick Faldo went out of his way to shake hands with both players, but Azinger neglected to shake Casey's. Azinger also made it clear that fans could, and should, cheer the European team's poor shots. That crosses the line of good sportsmanship."
Now that I think is a little overboard in the argument. I watched Azinger all week on television and it never seemed to me that he was ignoring or even forgetting to applaud the Europeans. He's the captain of a Ryder Cup team, I'm sure remembering to shake a hand or two occurs when you have 10,000 balls in the air.
Also, Casey is a student of Kostis. This sounds to me like Casey probably complained about this to his instructor leading Kostis to write this column.
I agree, a lot of the antics in Ryder Cup play is brought up because there is so much passion between teams and matches. Every year there is going to be a thing or two that seems to be negative when it really isn't.
I really don't think you can blame anyone on the American team for how they acted. If others feel different, toss it in comments.
Andy Lyons, Getty Images