Nationalism matters in golf.
Patriotism fuels interest in the game.
The evidence is there in the success of the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Solheim Cup.
It’s there at the Magnolia Grove clubhouse in Mobile, Ala., this week, where the LPGA is flying the flags of all the nations represented by its players at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
Why even make golf part of the Olympics if nationalism didn’t matter in this international game?
So does it matter that the Americans have yet to win an LPGA event this year?
That Asians have claimed all five of the LPGA tournaments played so far this year? Does it matter given that Americans are coming off their worst collective showing in the 60-year history of the tour with just five victories a year ago?
It’s looking like Americans could be poised for a summer push.
Brittany Lincicome and Wendy Ward enter the weekend tied for second at the Bell Micro as the Americans best positioned to give the United States its first LPGA title this week. It’s also important to point out that Morgan Pressel struck a large blow for the American cause winning the Salonpas Cup as the only American in the field at the Japan LPGA Tour last weekend.
The American question remains relevant, even if it feels old and tired for American players.
Angela Stanford summed up some American frustration when I asked her at the Bell Micro about Asian dominance and Americans struggling to win.
“I think it's sad that we have to keep answering questions as players,” Stanford said. “Because as players, we don't see them as Koreans or Asians. We see them as competitors and players on our tour. So it's frustrating that we can't just accept that. Because the players have. The players know that they're great people and great players. They're making all of us better. It's a global tour because of the Asians and the Europeans. We're stronger in that respect than, you know, say the PGA Tour. But if you look at the PGA Tour, the same thing is kind of starting to happen, but nobody is talking about it. That's because an American is still No. 1. So I get frustrated. I think it’s always been a positive, so it’s tough.”
But on the other hand, she said . . .
“Don't get me wrong. I want to be No. 1. I understand that being an American and having an American be No. 1 is a big deal. I know that. It's not like I'm trying any less when I'm out there. They're just better right now. You know what? It's up to the Americans to say, `We've had enough. We want to be No. 1.’ Until we do that, we're going to keep answering the questions. But in my opinion, I think it's just helps all of us.”