American Accent: Americans need more than a chef to cook up a win

Click to follow

The scenes are all too familiar, the hugging and the singing and the laughing and the cheering and the flag-waving. But that's not the end of it. There's also the champagne, either being sprayed about, as if from a fireman's hose, or swilled directly from the bottle with gusto.

There is no celebration quite like the one the European team enjoy, well, just about every two years, after they win the Ryder Cup. At Oak Hill in 1995, they were on the roof of the clubhouse. At Valderrama in 1997, they were singing in the rain. At the Belfry in 2002, they were awash in sunshine and champagne. At Oakland Hills in 2004, they wrapped themselves in flags and songs. And yesterday at the K Club, they were dancing on the soggy grass and celebrating once again, Darren Clarke showing the way with tears of joy and relief.

The players on the US team do not have anything against celebrations, it's just that they haven't been on the proper end of them nearly enough times lately, so their view is sort of skewed.

Every two years, the US players show up, play golf for three days against the players from Europe, count the points as they pile up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, then have to watch an extemporaneous celebration by the other team marking yet another moment of good fortune.

It seems there is no end to the depth of the European team's celebration repertoire, and that's the bad news. The other bad news for the US is about Europe's dominance in the Ryder Cup. There is no end to that either, or so it seems.

It isn't as though the US contingent haven't tried hard to change direction. The PGA of America and its captain, Tom Lehman, maintain they stopped at virtually nothing. For this week's Ryder Cup, that included expanding the travelling party.

The US contingent consisted not only of players and their wives or partners, but also their parents, their in-laws and a team chef. But even that combination wasn't all that it was cooked up to be. It might be a good idea to remind everyone to start looking for the bright spots.

For instance, the fortunes of nature and golf can change. Maybe what's going on is only part of a cycle. Maybe it's just a matter of time until the US team catch the upswing again and the Ryder Cup starts turning the other way. Maybe Pluto will become a planet again. After all, you've got to remain optimistic.

Here's another thing. Colin Montgomerie is 43 and should start acting his age any time now. The same for Jose Maria Olazabal. But Sergio Garcia is just 26, Paul Casey is 29, the same as Luke Donald, and Padraig Harrington is not over the hill at 35.

If the US want to become an equal partner in the Ryder Cup once again, they're probably going to have to look somewhere besides the other team room for inspiration. A good plan might be to begin caring more and playing better. That would be a start, maybe even an idea worth celebrating, in a small way.

Thomas Bonk writes for the Los Angeles Times

Comments