Monday, 4 August 2008

He's no glory Hunter, a Mahan can only take so many dinners...

Oh dear, I guess the saga of Sepp Blatter's assertion that Cristiano Ronaldo's situation amounts to modern slavery never reached American shores. How else could you explain a golfer one week later coming out saying this.

"You've got dinners every night - not little dinners, massive ones. As players, that's the last thing we want. We want to prepare ourselves. You're just a slave that week."

This was Hunter Mahan in an interview with Golf Magazine, a 26 year-old up and comer on the PGA Tour, whose diet must be especially important to his game, cause the prospect of a big meal every night for a week seems to really put the wind up him. I've never been one to be especially politically correct but for a millionaire golfer to say a weeks golf where you have to attend a few dinners is akin to slavery is pretty hard to listen to. What was he thinking? Granted, these things probably do go on for hours but sorry pal, you're getting the chance to make your name on the biggest stage in golf, suck it up!

What bothers me more about this, cause plenty of people make misguided comments like that- see good ol' Sepp, is how the Ryder Cup is so low on his list of priorities. I mean in terms of viewing figures, after the World cup and Olympics, the Ryder cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world for crying out loud, how could you not want to be there every single time? Here's Hunter again to further explain...

"From what I've heard the whole week is extremely long, from what I've heard the Ryder Cup isn't fun. The fun is sucked right out of it. That's the word I hear a lot. At some point the players might say, 'You know what - we're not doing this anymore, because this is ridiculous'. Don't be surprised if it (a refusal to play) happens. It's just not a fun week like it should be. Is it an honour to play? Yes, it is. But (the players') time is valuable. This is a business. I just feel like the players don't have much control over it and I don't think they like that. I wouldn't like that.

I think Europe really, really takes it seriously. I think the US does too, but not like Europe. For one, every place they hold a Ryder Cup in Europe is a place on the European Tour schedule. That's really smart because right away they have an advantage. The PGA of America could care less about winning it, honestly. They pick a site where they're going to have the Senior PGA, the PGA and the Ryder Cup, which means less money they have to pay out to get more money."

I do like the last point, why are the USPGA not picking sites from the main tour, giving the US players the advantage the Europeans enjoy when they host, greater course familiarity? It might not mean much but at least they may build some confidence on the course if they play well on it on the regular tour. Picking a venue to serve three tournaments may be cheaper, but it kind of cheapens the main event too doesn't it?

But lets back up, who are these dudes crying to Hunter. They're not having any fun? Well of course they haven't Hunter, they've been pummeled three times in a row, what sort of masochist enjoys that? As for who it is actually saying it, Mickelson, is that you? It's understandable...

Maybe if the US team got past the fact that they are not getting paid for the event, which a lot of the guys have spoken out about in the past, they would improve. Even the ridiculously rich Tiger Woods has had a moan about it being unpaid, which must raise a few hackles of a guys who played and won in the past for the US and never approached the earnings of these guys. Are the trophy wives spending their money that quickly? If they were then surely they'd be keeping the American economy afloat all by themselves and we'd have nothing to worry about. Maybe if they realised it's about playing for honour they would get a kick out of it. Isn't America the home of patriotic fervour? How has this not translated to an American team with a bit of fire in the belly. Perhaps those big dinners Hunter's moaning about put it out...

Here's the qualification standings as of this morning, August 4th

#1 Tiger Woods      11,365.627 points
2 Stewart Cink 4,952.065
3 Phil Mickelson 4,880.000
4 Kenny Perry 4,480.950
5 Jim Furyk 4,328.792
6 Anthony Kim 4,003.797
7 Justin Leonard 3,348.523
8 Boo Weekley 2,627.546
9 Steve Stricker 2,603.571
——————————————————————————————
10 Woody Austin 2,422.733
11 Hunter Mahan 2,304.517
12 DJ Trahan 2,294.416
13 Rocco Mediate 2,246.810
* top eight qualify plus four wildcards
# Woods is out injured

Hunter is dangerously close to automatic qualification, but would he have the guts
to be the first man to refuse to play? I think it's highly unlikely that Azinger will think
he's worth a wild card after all his chat, so maybe a few weeks with your feet up is
in order Mr Mahan. Finishing 10th at the Bridgestone Invitational did you no
favours...

I'll be returning to topics such as these quite often I'm sure in the next few weeks.
It does my heart good to laugh at moaning professionals, especially well paid
American ones.

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