It was a sight that should have sickened every American that has ever picked up a golf club.
It was the sight of all those European flags waving around on Sunday after the United States got absolutely demolished at the Ryder Cup.
By no-name golfers.
Against what was supposedly the greatest American team ever assembled.
On our home turf.
Europe 18 1/2, United States 9 1/2. In the words of Comic Book Guy, "Worst...Ryder Cup...Ever."
I don't know about the rest of you, but I really get into the Ryder Cup. It's just about the only time in golf where you can truly have that "us against them" mentality.
You can actually boo when Colin Montgomerie sinks a putt. You can cheer when he misses, and cheer louder when he flips you off and then whines to the media about getting heckled.
And you can feel a little sense of national pride when you see an American flag beside the words, "1 Up."
But American pride in golf has taken a shot to the groin recently.
In the last 10 years, four U.S. Opens - supposedly "our" national championship - have been won by South Africans (Retief Goosen and Ernie Els twice each). Foreigners have won six of the last 12 Masters (Mike Weir, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal-twice).
And guess what - none of those guys were even on the European Ryder Cup team.
Throw Vijay, Ernie and Nick Price on the Euro team, and we might be talking shutout.
Seriously, tell me if you've ever heard of David Howell, Ian Poulter or Paul McGinley. Didn't think so. Those are the guys that might occasionally play a PGA Tour event, but you'll usually only hear about them in some obscure Euro Tour event where the competition consists of 17 guys wearing kilts and three sheep.
But they came over here and kicked our butt - and with good reason.
The Americans had no sense of team pride like the Euros did. The Europeans walked side-by-side down the fairway, lined up putts for each other, talked and laughed and truly enjoyed themselves.
Did anyone see Tiger and Phil together? It was like watching Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza at the All-Star Game. They were on the same team, but they seemed to be secretly glad when the other screwed up.
I can hear Tiger under his breath while Phil is lining up his putt: "Noonan! Miss it! Nnn...Noonan!"
Other huge mistakes by the U.S. team:
-Not only pairing Woods and Mickelson, but making Phil use Tiger's ball in the alternate-shot portion of the event. Phil hits a Titleist, Tiger hits a Nike. Big difference.
-Benching Chris Riley on Saturday afternoon. Paired with Tiger in the morning, he was the spark plug for the U.S. team that almost got them back in the match. Instead, he sent out 50-year-old Jay Haas for his third match in 24 hours. Heck, I'm tired after riding 18 holes, let alone walking 54.
-Benching David Toms on Saturday morning in favor of Jim Furyk, who had never won a four-ball match. Furyk and Chad Campbell blew a 1-up lead with two holes to play and lost the match, ending any momentum the U.S. might have regained.
-Mickelson inexplicably changing equipment less than two weeks before the matches. It showed, especially with the drive he nearly sprayed out of bounds on the 18th in Saturday's foursome. Woods had to take an unplayable lie - the ball was next to a fence and relief wasn't allowed by rule - and the U.S. lost the hole and the match after being 3-up through four holes.
All in all, I was thoroughly disgusted with the Americans' lackluster performance. Some serious changes need to happen for the 2006 matches if the United States is ever going to bring the gold chalice back across the pond.
Never, ever, EVER pair up two golfers that hate each other's guts.
Don't put guys old enough for the senior tour on the team.
Keep certain Florida and LSU alumni (Chris DiMarco and David Toms) off the team when their respective alma maters are bound to lose to archrivals that weekend.
And next time, how about a captain's choice on John Daly? Has there ever been anyone that epitomizes the typical American golfer more than he? A blue-collar, overweight, beer-drinking, chain-smoking gambling addict that can hit a golf ball 350 yards.
Now THAT'S America.
-Wes Todd is the sports copy editor of The Daily Beacon who could hit a golf ball 350 yards if he had one of those new R7 drivers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Euro-trashed: U.S. golfers stink up Cup
Published: Wed Sep 22, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:23 p.m.