Where Golf is Simply a Game


Retief Goosen was just making a joke, nothing more. But he was asked about his International team that will participate in the Presidents Cup this week, and he couldnt help but notice a remarkable difference between his bunch and the team that represents Europe in the Ryder Cup.
Well, we lose against America, so we must be really bad! he said, smiling all the while at his rarely revealed sense of humor.
The U.S. plays a big match every year, either the Ryder Cup against Europe in the even years or the Presidents Cup against the rest of the world (Europe excluded) in the odd years. America has been quite successfully in the Presidents, running up a record of three wins, one loss and one tie. But in the Ryder Cup, the Americans have had a tough time the past 20 years, winning against Europe just three times, losing six times, and tying one.
At least one American sees good things ahead in the Presidents, though, and it came from seeing the U.S. prevail in the womens Solheim Cup two weeks ago.
I was pumped up by the Solheim Cup, said Presidents Cup member Chris DiMarco. I was proud of them.
Nancy Lopez and I are great friends. I was so happy for her, and the way the women showed their spirit and how they played their hearts out, it was good for golf.
Jim Furyk, for one, doesnt see a whole lot of similarities in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup, he says, is so tense, so pressure-packed, that it actually is just like playing one more major tournament. The Presidents Cup is much more what golf was meant to be back when golf was just ' well, a game.
The Presidents Cup, quite honestly, is more fun, said Furyk.
Actually my first Ryder Cup, I didn't know a lot of the other team. There were some guys on the European team I had never seen play, never seen hit a golf shot. Now because of the World Golf Championships and a lot of the Europeans coming over here, we're friendly with those teams.
But there isn't a guy on the international squad that doesn't play - rarely is there a guy that doesn't play in the United States pretty regularly. Vijay (Singh) is a neighbor. I practice on the same tee box with him at home day in and day out.
And after you play a round with your buddy
Although it's intense and it's a pride issue, you want to go out and play as well as you can and play well for your country. It tends to have a little bit more of a shake- your-hand afterwards, and you don't hear too many bitter things happening in the Presidents Cup like there has been in the history of the Ryder Cup.
Some observers ' and even some players ' have tried to lump the two events into one. The Presidents Cup is the Ryder Cup is the Presidents Cup. But there really is a difference, says Furyk.
They are two separate events, he insists. I think Ernie (Els) and Vijay and Michael Campbell and those guys weren't on the team last year - we were playing the European team.
I think too much is being made trying to compare the two events. Time will eventually give the Presidents Cup a little bit of tradition and history. You know, ultimately I guess it's like everything else; everyone wants to beat the United States. We're a target every year instead of every other year.
And when October rolls around, every year the United States has been through the grinder. It would be nice if the PGA of America and the PGA Tour would get together and consolidate the three teams - U.S., Europe and the Internationals - but of course they wont.
There is simply too much money to be made in the Ryder Cup, and the PGA of America and the European PGA would never give that up. And the PGA Tour isnt so holy, either ' you can bet that if the Presidents Cup ever gets to be as big as the Ryder Cup, the tour isnt going to give that up, either. There are millions to be made on each event, and the two entities arent about to surrender either, even if golf itself is the loser.
So, the players will go on competing in both, different - or similar - that they are.
I enjoy both events, says Furyk, but they are separate and different. They are run by two different governing bodies. The points are accumulated two totally different ways. I have no problem with separating them and them being two different events.
I enjoy both aspects and both parts, but they are different. And the Presidents Cup, I think our team has probably played better historically in that because we've been a little bit more loose and because we've had more fun.
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