Opting for golf on a football Saturday

Likely buried beneath the headlines of yet another boring weekend of Tressel-ball and the Bengals being, well, the Bengals, you’ll find that one of the world’s most unique and passionate sporting events took place. It’s called the Ryder Cup. It’s a golf tournament. Stay with me here. The Ryder Cup is different from virtually every other incarnation of golf in existence. This isn’t a tournament with a bunch of rich business-executives golf-clapping in the background, this is a raucous event with the pride of countries, and heck, even continents, on the line. Take the 12 best American players and pit them against the 12 best European players, alternate the tournament — which takes place every two years — between American and European soil, provide lots and lots of alcohol to the patrons, and provide lots more alcohol when the event takes place in Great Britain. Bam. You’ve got the equivalent of the Ohio State-Michigan game on a really nice golf course. This is the one golf tournament where the golfers carry more on their shoulders than just their desire to win. They’re carrying the hopes of their nation or continent – and it shows. Players are visibly nervous with the expectations they carry. It’s not unusual to see a player take much more time thinking about a Ryder Cup putt than a putt to win the Masters. And when one team hits a good shot or the other shanks, the reactions of the players and the crowds are like none-other in golf. The 2010 tournament is taking place in rain-soaked Wales. Apparently the American squad didn’t know this and ordered basketball warm-ups for rain jackets. “Watergate,” as the wardrobe malfunction has been dubbed, might be the reason the Americans are down heading into Monday’s final round of singles, 9.5 – 6.5. Even being down three, you can count on the last round of singles to be exciting. In 1999, the Americans faced a seemingly insurmountable deficit when they came back and stole the cup out of the Europeans’ grasp. This is the time when mediocre match-play players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson step up. In 2012, the Ryder Cup will happen again, but on American soil. Instead of watching Tressel attempt to break the world record for field goal attempts and the Bengals continue to fail to live up to expectations, turn on the Ryder Cup for a little while. I guarantee it will be a lot more exciting than you think.