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Rivalry week in golf

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I love deeply rooted rivalries. And for many, picking your affiliation is not a choice, it’s in your blood, passed down from generation to generation. The intensity of the passion that surrounds a sports rivalry ignites a part of the human spirit that is rarely seen in any other platform in day-to-day life.

There is a book on my bookshelf titled 'To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever,' by Will Blythe. It’s about the rivalry between North Carolina and Duke basketball, the tale of Tobacco Road.

Tonight the two schools face-off as part of a rivalry week following another storied meeting between Syracuse and Georgetown. Hundreds of thousands of college basketball fans will be tuning in, myself included, watching from a TV in Florida, donning Carolina Blue and booing Coach K and his Dookies. But whether it’s Duke-Carolina that gets you fired up, Georgia-Florida, the Red Sox-Yankees, Bears-Packers, or Michigan-Ohio State, I’d put money on it that if you’re reading this, you know what it feels like to hate the historic antagonist of your beloved team.

This week the PGA Tour faces off against the European Tour. The two tours have never been rivals – we have the Ryder Cup, yes, for one week every two years – but this year it seems as though we’ve seen a lot of “us-vs.-them' attitudes when it comes to players choosing to tee it up on the opposing tours.

Tiger Woods is in Dubai. Phil Mickelson is at Pebble Beach. Martin Kaymer, the 20-something major champion who is steadily on his way to topping the rankings, tees it up on one side of the globe as Dustin Johnson, another top young gun in the world, is looking for his third victory by the cliffs at Carmel. We see new desert golf in the UAB, with its hefty appearance fees and the top three players in the world, as a foil for classic American golf on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula. The European Tour vs. the PGA Tour is not a rivalry yet. But this week both Tours are most certainly dressed-out for must-watch TV.