Romance of peripheral competitions fails to attract top players
Seve Trophy is starting to fade into irrelevance
Ian Poulter: Admitted that he can’t play everywhere. Getty Images/Inpho
Some activities really are designed to be done solo, even if they can be construed as spectator sports. That’s why this week’s top-flight international golf action is being so eagerly anticipated, right?
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s that time of year when professional golf gets to keep it real, like, and indulge in the sort of grim team building that corporate types like to inflict on resentful staff who’d really rather watch telly at home instead of spending their free time learning how there’s “no I in team” with colleagues they’d normally pay to avoid.
Golf is great for that kind of stuff, much more tasteful than burning rubber around a go-kart track, or squirting paint at weirdos who like to dress up in uniforms: golf is all about teams, and clubs and rubbing along with each other, right?
Well, no, it isn’t. Golf is about a lot of things, much of them naff and regrettable, but what it is mostly about is “I”.
It’s easy to forget that at your local club sometimes, watching endless lines of three-ways, or foursomes, or other erotically-charged descriptions of what is basically a logistically refined method of getting as many members into action as efficiently as possible.
But underneath all that back-slapping, polo-shirted bonhomie is a raging desire to be alone, to have the course to yourself, a blank canvas on which to hack and top and slice without any smart comment from Bill in accounts. Some time to line up a putt without bastards from the chamber of commerce tut-tutting at being held up behind you; a chance to attack the course and aim at a score without having to worry about whether or not the partner is up to hitting a left-to-right drive at 13.
There can’t be a golfer alive who’d rather play solo, or alongside just one other to preserve the illusion of near-pro proficiency and allow the slide show of what it might be like to be on tour skip through their mind’s eye. Because that’s golf, you against the course, not the phoney imposition of teams, although it would be nice to shove one up that Des from the bank, now there really is a w*****r
Anyway, the pros are getting a reminder of their golf club heritage this week. Or at least some of them are. The top half dozen players in Britain and Ireland, all of them Ryder Cup veterans from last year’s Miracle in Medinah, have decided to skip the Seve Trophy in Paris, an event where GB and Ireland take on the rest of Europe.
America’s top players though have rallied to the flag for the President’s Cup in Muirfield Village where “USA,USA!” tackle the rest of the world, or at least the bit that doesn’t include Europe, or GB or Ireland.