James Corrigan: Wie avoids bum note by taking aim at rear of year

View From The Sofa: Solheim Cup, Sky Sports
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The hideous crimes of Christina Kim were listed in one of the less shrill Sunday newspapers. She "cupped her hands to her ears"; she "slapped palms with the crowd"; she "whirled her finger above her head"; and she "chanted USA". I think you will agree that Ms Kim, as the respected correspondent put it, "took her American team way over the edge of acceptable sporting behaviour".

Or maybe you don't and maybe you didn't. Maybe, like me, you forsook the Ashes coverage (tired old plot) on Saturday to flip up a few Sky Sports numbers and tune into the Solheim Cup – that poor competition doomed to be referenced as "the female equivalent of the Ryder Cup" – and were not offended. True, even from the armchair it was possible to sense Kim galvanising Chicago support, but did she really whip up "that two-faced dog of jingoism and triumphalism to rip at the throat of Europe's players"? Blimey. They should employ her down the New Den.

Of course, golf team events and crowd interaction have always been an awkward three-ball. The unique atmosphere created at say, the Ryder Cup – the male equivalent of the Solheim Cup – is great for pulling in TV audiences, sponsors and from there the billions needed to pamper their unaccountable superstars. But there's one drawback. It's called the unique atmosphere. The old sport wants one without the other. Not possible, I'm afraid. Not when the sides are split on national lines. You can't have the ratings without the baitings.

Still, I will confess Kim did make the atmosphere that bit more unique.

I hesitate from using the cliché always thrown at crusty golfing gents in these instances, but, genuinely, I did splutter into my gin and tonic when Kim, after yet another American birdie, asked her fourball partner to bend over while she gave her a celebratory slap on the behind. Her partner duly did so and then insisted on returning the compliment a few holes later (although it must be said, Christina does come fitted with an inviting target).

Thereafter, there was any number of high-fives, of girly cuddles and of a complex slap routine which climaxed with the pair waving their fingers down their face telling each other to "make it rain" (Warning: Do not try this next October at Celtic Manor). Here were two starlets in the midst of their sporting dream and as far as I could tell their intentions were way too innocent to be rip-throatingly dishonourable.

What made it all the more entertaining was the identity of Kim's sister in bum-slaps. For five years, watching the wonderkid which was supposedly Michelle Wie has only been a pleasurable experience to those who sit on M6 bridges awaiting the pile-ups. On Saturday, a smile was etched on her countenance, not one covered in the small prints of endorsements, but one borne from camaraderie, from support and yes, from friendship. Wie has undoubtedly flowered in the team-room. Freed from the pressures of her own potential, she has finally found a way to produce her best golf. See, she really isn't the female Tiger Woods. Perhaps she is the female Colin Montgomerie. Which presumably makes her nickname Mr Doubtfire.

"This is the most fun I've ever had on a golf course," Wie told Sky's Tim Barter. "Playing with Christina, it's impossible not to have fun. I don't want to think about the future or anything like that right now. I'm just living for the moment. I want to enjoy myself." No harm in that. Or is there?

Comments