The Ryder Cup teed off this morning and, well, I don't care. It's probably more than not caring because I actively dislike the Ryder Cup. To me it's an event that is built solely on hype and a ludicrous battle between American chauvinism and anti-Americanism.
The ridiculous, over the top, embarrassing nationalistic displays and language used by the American team is intended to lure Americans into rooting for the team (and helpfully boost the TV ratings) because it's "America vs Europe." Despite these efforts, from what I can make out taking American newspaper sports sections and web sites as a guide, American interest in the event is not great.
Over here it's a huge deal. I don't know if people in Germany, Spain or France care about the Ryder Cup, but in Ireland and in Britain this is one massive event.
Golf itself is a big deal over here and I can accept that golf fans would want to watch the Ryder Cup. What I don't understand is all this 'rally around the blue flag' nonsense because nobody really feels "European." Even the flag is a fiction because that is the EU flag, not the flag of Europe. Would the European Ryder Cup team shun a Swiss or Norwegian player because those countries are not EU members? I seriously doubt it.
So, as I stated above, the Ryder Cup's appeal outside of true golf fans is to anti-Americanism. There will be a lot of let's stick it to the Yanks type rhetoric from the tabloid media and those ignoramuses who pay attention to golf every two years. The ostentatious displays of American patriotism play into this anti-Americanism beautifully.
I am sure that the PGA loves encouraging all this WWE style nonsense because it boosts the ratings. They probably also like it because it might actually, hopefully, possibly get the players to really care, almost as much as they might if they were playing for a genuinely desired golf title, like the Masters and British Open, or even a minor title with a tidy pay check.
Fortunately for me, the Ryder Cup is on a pay TV station, one I don't subscribe to. So I'll have absolutely no trouble avoiding it on my TV this weekend. For the past few days it has led every single sports bulletin with the latest on what the players are saying, eating, scratching, whatever.
Maybe there just aren't enough big-time sports here at this time of year and the sportswriters and broadcasters have to do something and the Ryder Cup is it. I just wish they didn't have to stir the pot of anti-Americanism to generate interest. Of course, it probably wouldn't exist without it.
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