It’s not popular to defend the United
States and it needs no one to speak for it.
America speaks for itself. For all its flaws,
this is the greatest country in the world
and there is no second place.
But it is easy to get a first-class hate on
against Americans for thinking they’re the
biggest, the best and the baddest, and in
no other place in sports does the vitriol go
on the rise as in the Ryder Cup.
Paul Casey, a European Ryder Cup
player in years past, was quoted a few
years ago as saying he “properly hates”
Americans in those team matches, and
those ill-chosen words cost him an equip-
ment endorsement and some bad press.
He was simply saying out loud what many
Europeans say to each other.
But it did not cost him any affection
from the American people because free
speech is the first and most enduring
principle on these shores. If you want to
say something bad about the U.S. or its
inhabitants, go right ahead because Amer-
icans will defend to the death your right to
speak your mind, no matter how damag-
ing or critical to themselves.
The British press savaged U.S. captain
Corey Pavin for inviting Maj. Dan Rooney
– a fighter pilot, war veteran and PGA pro-
fessional – to speak to his team. Writers
wondered why Americans are so obsessed
with warmongering and constantly com-
paring sport with war. We won’t even talk
about what the world would look like if the
greatest generation on the planet hadn’t
stepped up on countless occasions to
defend the liberty of many of the countries
represented in the Ryder Cup.
This year, Donald, Poulter, Harrington,
McIlroy and Westwood totaled 80 PGA Tour
events, but only 20 European Tour events.
and has asked for nothing in return.
Casey, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Pa-
draig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Lee
Westwood – the heart of European Ryder
Cup – are millionaires thanks, in large
measure, to the world’s biggest, rich-
est Tour. They are famous for waving the
European Union flag once every two years,
but they’re making a boatload of money in
the U.S., and it’s entirely too rare that you
ever hear them in public say, “Thank you.”
The casual golf fan would be led to
believe these players are European and
therefore support the European Tour.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
a scholarship – married an American
woman and still lives in Chicago full-time.
And, he plays the PGA Tour full-time. This
year, he played in 20 PGA Tour events and
only four on the European Tour.
Poulter, another Englishman, lives in
Orlando, like a lot of PGA Tour players do.
He bleeds blue and yellow but his playing
schedule suggests otherwise. He played
15 PGA Tour events this year and only four
on the European Tour.
Harrington, an Irishman, played in 18
PGA Tour events and three on the Euro
Tour this year. McIlroy, from Northern
Ireland, has 16 PGA Tour starts and five on
the European Tour in 2010. Even West-
wood, whom you just assume is a full-time
supporter of the European Tour, played in
only four European Tour events in 2010, as
opposed to 11 on the U.S. Tour.
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