TOUR PROS DON’T GET IT
What’s worse, a player blaming the coach, or a coach blaming the player? Seems the Ryder Cup has inspired both sentiments recently. Just when the furor of the Blame Captain Tom For No Pods press conference is finally dissipating, more hubbub from the other side of the Atlantic is taking on a life of its own. Those of us who were watching the first day of this year’s Ryder Cup competition recall when commentator Nick Faldo blamed Sergio Garcia for being useless in the 2008 event in which the Euros went down in flames at Valhalla, and Captain Nick went home a loser. My first reaction was: Wait a minute, Sir Nick, Sergio didn’t lose it for you, we had pods. Hello.
Obviously golfers don’t know how to conduct themselves in team competition. If there is no “I” in TEAM, then “I” can’t blame anyone else. Whatever happened to “We win as a team, we lose as a team?” Sure, in the vast history of sports there have been famous goats. Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner comes to mind. But how many of his teammates poured blame on him after the 1986 World Series? Uh, that would be none. Real sportsmen know how to act. Blame and harassment come from the media and the fans, never the teammates. What is up with golfers? Why don’t they get it?
They are spoiled. Most guys on the PGA Tour come from white bread cultures where they heard the word ‘no’ about as often as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. They simply cannot wrap their heads around disappointment as well as athletes in other sports, and therefore respond inappropriately. I promise you that Tiger Woods would have never in a million years cast blame on Captain Tom. It is not that the fourteen time major champion is some paragon of virtue. Hardly. But he did grow up hearing the word no. He went through things as a kid that the vast majority of us could not imagine, such as being turned away from a golf course because of the color of his skin. Real competitive fire grew inside of him. There is a fierceness there that transcends the game of golf; an ‘I’ll show you’ attitude, not an “I’ll show you until I lose and then I’ll blame someone else.”
Give me scrappers. Give me the Billy Horschels out there. The throwbacks. The guys who have had to scrape and claw to achieve anything. Give me guys with chips on their shoulders. Guys with something to prove. Where have you gone Ben Hogan? Lee Trevino? Arnold Palmer? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.