The American Dream is a reality... just not on the sports field or athletics track
AS thousands of okes watched that walking crime against fashion Lee Westwood romp away with the Sun City Nedbank Challenge last weekend there was far more significant stuff happening at Thousand Oaks in California.
There, the doughty Ulsterman Graeme McDowell nailed two consecutive 20ft putts into the coffin of Tiger Woods’ career. Comfortably supplanted by Westwood as world number one, Tiger squandered a four- shot lead at the event he hosts, to end 2010 without a win – after McDowell, spectacularly, trumped him in a play-off.
That must have hurt and will leave the fallen idol discontented during the lay-off, instead of feeling confident that the pieces shattered in that collision with the world’s most famous fire hydrant were back together again.
Tiger’s year symbolises American sports at the moment.
The Land of The Free is seriously short on athletic achievement in 2010.
The once dominant bully boys and girls of the games’ fields have withered on the vine of globalisation.
In golf, aside from Woods’ demise, the Yanks lost the Ryder Cup (again) and a Korean, Jiyai Shin, tops the women’s rankings with only one American in the top 10.
The tennis picture is even bleaker.
Andy Roddick’s the best they can offer at No 8 with only Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey (affectionately known as “Who?”) joining him in the top 50.
The women’s rankings are led by a Pole, a Russian and a Belgian before you get the Williams’ sister act at 4 and 5, then you slide all the way down to 61 before you find another American.
The athletics track is no better – the Jamaicans rule the sprints, the Africans win anything longer.
Even in baseball the US struggles as Japan hold the World Classic crown and the Koreans have the Olympic title.
Canada denied them the ice hockey gold at the Winter Olympics and the IOC kicked them in the teeth by awarding the 2014 summer games to Rio over President Obama’s hometown, Chicago.
FIFA then put the boot in completely by preferring Qatar for the 2022 world cup.
On the upside, the Americans did regain the men’s world basketball championship this year, ending a 16-year drought in one of their signature sports, and they do remain tops in the pool, with Ryan Lochte winning pretty much everything that Michael Phelps doesn’t.
Phelps had a quiet year by his standards, gathering more attention for his reported relationship with one Brittny Gastineau who allegedly is a “reality TV star”.
She admits she finds the elongated swimmer “cute” but sort of denies dating him, breathlessly confessing; “I don’t have time because I’m working so hard on my new jewellery line”.
But the Phelps phenomenon cannot last forever and some are prophesying that his mantle will pass not to a countryman but rather to our own Chad le Clos.
One of the stars of the generally unstellar Delhi Commonwealth Games, the 18-yearold Durban Westville High student really is one for the okes to watch in 2011 and beyond.