Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I rooted against the Americans

I actually don't have strong American leanings when it comes to international sport (or anything else actually) so rooting for the Europeans last weekend in the Solheim Cup is not necessarily shocking for anyone who knows me.
But frankly I was ticked off after watching the press conference with Christina Kim and Morgan Pressel and Christie Kerr the day before play started. I have a decent admiration for Kim because she has a certain defiant attitude to her; she steps outside of golf's boundaries of genteelness, etc. But she stepped right back into them when she addresses the only slightly subtle question about the Euro vs. American format. The reporter was essentially asking, without directly asking it, what about the Asians? Because some of the press over this Solheim Cup has centered around an allegedly weak European team (they very much held their own until the singles matches). And of course there has been all the coverage over the rise of Asian players.
But Kim said the Solheim Cup should stay the way it is because it's a golf tradition. First of all, it's only been around since the 1990s. It is certainly not as entrenched as the Ryder Cup. And, um, hello Christina Kim--you should have a problem with tradition. Actually all you women should have a problem with golf's traditions. If you want to create an interesting tournament there should be an Asian team.
Kerr suggested there be other tournaments to accomplish this (again, unstated) purpose. Like the men's President Cup. They could have a First Lady's Cup! she exclaimed. [Someone hand me a chisel. It's going to take a long time to chip away at all this cognitive dissonance.]
The Solheim Cup, despite its nascence, holds a certain position in the golf world. And the best golfers should have access to the publicity and prestige it confers.
Maybe if Kim had to sit down face-to-face with Yani Tseng and explain "tradition" to her, she would see the harm and discrimination it continues to perpetuate.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The idea of the Solheim Cup having a shakey connection to the idea of 'tradition' may be authentic in respect of a competition that is less than twenty years old, but from this side of the Atlantic it is very much understood to be part of the tradition that encompases the Ryder, Walker and Curtis Cups. As various commentators here have pointed out there is no reason to change the US v Europe format, indeed this is how it is understood and marketed. See Iain Carter's blog on the BBC sport Website and Derek Lawrenson in the 'Daily Mail'. This European fan would be strongly opposed to any such change. It would be like changing the contestants for the Ashes! Katharine Sinderson

jfb said...

I watched the Solheim Cup all weekend. I thought it was a great competition, but there was definitely something missing: the South Korean contingent. I wonder if there would be a way to include three teams: a U.S. team, a European team and an Asian team. It could go like this: the Solheim Cup could be held EVERY year. Women's golf needs the attention so having it every two years doesn't make much sense to me anyway. U.S. plays Europe in Year 1. The winner of that plays Asia in Year 2. So, U.S. would play Asia. Suppose Asia wins. Then the U.S. would be out of the pool in Year 3 and Europe would play Asia. Then U.S. plays the winner of that in Year 4. Now, it's conceivable that one continent could hold onto the cup several years in a row and would have to play several years in a row. I think it would be an interesting and -- more importantly -- an inclusive format.

Anonymous said...

The Solheim Cup has already had to move once when the American men refused to play in Europe in the wake of 9/11, thus upsetting the sequence of Walker Cup and Ryder Cup in odd years and Curtis Cup and Solheim Cup in even years. Both the professional events are now played in the 'wrong' year as a result. That sounds like enough disruption to me for a while. KS

jfb said...
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