Kissing Your Sister


Two years ago at the Presidents Cup in South Africa 24 players kissed their sister.
This was because the competition ran out of daylight on the last day resulting in a hastily-declared tie.
In sports, a tie is like kissing your sister. Not, with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld, that theres anything wrong with that.
But the 2003 Presidents Cup was, indisputably, great theater anyway.
Which is more than can be said for the Presidents Cup before that at which the Americans thrashed the International team 21 to 10 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va.
That was more like shock theater. The highlight was an in-your-face Sunday singles match between Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. Woods prevailed 2 and 1 and a heated debate broke out over whether it mattered that Singhs caddie, Paul Tesori, was wearing a cap with the words Tiger Who? stitched on the back.
Look for Singh and Woods to hook up again this year in the singles as the golf returns to RTJ. This is one of the edges the Presidents Cup has over the Ryder Cup'the captains can jury-rig the match-ups on the final day. Everybody wants to see the World No. 1 (Woods) against the World No. 2 (Singh) including the players themselves. And if their much-anticipated Virginia rematch turns out to be the last game of the day with the Cup on the line, so much the better.
A decision, by the way, to abandon a tiebreaker singles match in the event of a 17-17 late Sunday has been made by the powers that be. So if the teams tie again this time, they will continue to share the Presidents Cup.
The Americans appear to be the favorites on paper. The latest world rankings show them to have 11 team members placed in the top 25 of the most current world rankings. The Internationals have seven.
But one of those seven is Ernie Els, arguably the Internationals team leader. Els, alas, will not be playing this time around due to recent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
And about those world rankings: The Internationals have three players ranked between No. 25 and No. 30. Which simply underscores the fact that they will play these matches on 7,315 yards of grass. Not on paper.
Most experts will tell you the intensity of the Ryder Cup'between Europe and America'is greater than that generated by the Presidents Cup. But it depends to whom you are speaking. South Africas Nick Price recently had this to say to the Washington Post when asked about the drama surrounding Woods singles match against Els two years ago:
For the first time in my life I was nervous for a teammate. I was chewing on my shirt. I was eating grass..The intensity of it was almost too much to bear.
But there wasnt a winner. To a man, I guarantee the 24 players that comprise both sides would rather, if given the choice, kiss their wives or, as the case may be, their girlfriends than their sisters.
The captains will do well to remind their squads how contagious enthusiasm can be. All they will have to do is look to weeks back at the Solheim Cup matches in Indianapolis where the American women showed how much exuberance can add to an already compelling stage.
The Americans men have been accused, in the last decade or so, of approaching Ryder and Presidents Cup matches with all the excitement of sitting for root canal. There is at least a grain of truth to this accusation. And it is partially to blame for the fact that only 700 media credentials have been issued to the Presidents Cup compared to the 1,000 media credentials distributed by the PGA of America at last years Ryder Cup near Detroit.
The two captains'American Jack Nicklaus and South African Gary Player'are on record as saying they dont want to foster a war-like us-against-them atmosphere at the Presidents Cup.
One of the jobs I try to do is let the guys have fun, Nicklaus has said. I dont want to put any pressure on them. If they want to play a practice round, go play. If you dont want to play a practice round, dont go play. Just show up Thursday and be ready to play.
Fair enough. Who are we to question Jack Nicklaus?
But the opinion here is that if a few more players on both teams are chewing on their shirts late Sunday, the Presidents Cup will be a better event for the mastication.
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