James Lawton: Chauvinism too often par for the course in time of war

Anyone who attended the Ryder Cup after the first Gulf war, who watched Corey Pavin's Desert Storm cap bobbing just above the wild grass of Kiawah Island in South Carolina, will carry more than a little concern to Michigan this week.

In strictly sporting terms, it is of course a marvellous contest blessed with a brilliantly simple format, but then we saw in Kiawah - and in Boston in 1999 - that it can very easily become the victim of some of the more raucous and chauvinistic tendencies in American life.

Colin Montgomerie, who was so crudely abused by the Boston galleries, has called for special attention to crowd control. No one is more entitled to sound such a warning. The Ryder Cup, when all things are equal, liberates his talent like no other form of golf. But from time to time it has cast a terrible shadow. In these fraught days, we must hope that the only war celebrated in Michigan is the one waged with golf clubs.