A CUP OF NO HALF MEASURES
DO YOU see the big golf events roll around every year and say to your mates, “We should bloody do that!”
And your best mate says, “We bloody should.” But you don’t, because real life has a way of getting ahead of your unreal life, right?
Sometimes, things fall the right way. You could win a trip. Your mum or dad might cough up a “We’ll never get another chance” kind of holiday. Or, if you’re really lucky, you’ll end up on a golf show for Fox Sports, creatively titled, The Golf Show.
And someone will say, “You’re going to the Presidents Cup.” When I finished wetting my pants I realised there was a job to do.
So, for you lot who are inclined to wait for something like that to happen, let me try and put the experience in perspective for you.
It’s like the Australian Open, but not really. Put it this way. If you’ve turned up to a big game at the MCG a little late and someone kicks a goal, there’s a roar from the crowd. It’s somewhere between a bomb going off and a train belting through a tunnel. That’s the sound that pops up from the golf course when an American wins a hole or sinks a big putt.
The first three days of this years’ Presidents Cup were unfathomably loud. It could be the New York crowd that are legendary for their ability to roar, but it seemed like more than that. It wasn’t just the boneheads hollering, “Get in ‘da hole,” either. Because the Presidents Cup is Amorica against a mighty chunk of the golfing world, it’s patriotic, not personal.
Chants of “USA USA,” swept through galleries like a Mexican wave. They sang, “I do believe that we will win!” even when it was over.
Thank God for The Fanatics, who managed to balance the ledger with some noise and pretty funny comebacks.
More than anything, it’s the size of the event that’s astounding. As we know, the Americans love it large, and do it exceptionally well. The merchandise ‘tent’ must have been close to a full soccer pitch. Imagine any potential Presidents Cup golfing apparel, and you could buy it – and then some.
As for the golf. Despite the poor showing from The Internationals, it was actually brilliant. They hit it so far! Of course, we all know they hit it a mile, but up close, when you get to see some of the best pros in the world smack a pill, it really is something else.
Ultimately the fans made it. They were there for a party as much as the golf. They drank like they cheered and it felt like every other person was sucking on a stogie the size of a babies forearm. The brash bark of the New Yorkers was fantastic when juxtaposed with accents from across the Internationals. I’m sure half the crowd were auditioning for The Sopranos.
Even better to have New York City for the backdrop. The Statue of Liberty watching on, a constant patriotic reminder that this was the original gateway to the land of hope and glory. The crowd sang their own national anthem on the days an official version wasn’t supplied.
Four presidents turned up.
The crowd really does go, “koooooooooooch” whenever “Kooooooooch” walks onto a tee or green.
In America, Freddy Couples actually is more popular than God.
Tiger made his first appearance in forever! He talked to Obama (OBAMA!) for ages, and it was right in front of me. That shit doesn’t happen at home. Maybe the best, and most surreal bit was this. I was doing it large, inside the ropes with my media pass trying desperately hard not to look like a total wanker, when the crowd started going nuts. Properly headless, like I was Peter Daicos and they were all Collingwood fans and I was running into goal with four seconds to spare and the Pies were a point behind.
I’ve looked at them and it’s like they’re looking at me. Only, they were looking just behind me, because there was Tiger. Right there. It was later in the afternoon, so there was a fair sense of lubricated excitement. But they were screaming for him. ”Tiger! Go Tiger!”, “You do, man, Tiger!”, “We f’n love you, Tiger!”
Of course, in my head, I managed to swap his name for mine making the whole experience even better again.
For some reason, I thought the Amoricans would have been annoying with their on the sleeve patriotism and red white and blue blood spilling from their mouths. But it was good – great even. Special to witness the game we love on the biggest stage and thinking, if the Presidents Cup is this good, how good is the Masters!!!