Several players will be carrying baggage into this year’s Ryder Cup, and that luggage won’t be adorned with the five Olympic rings. The American quartet of Bubba Waston, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar can return from Rio with their heads held high. It wasn’t the performance they were looking for but they represented America well. They revelled in the atmosphere and were good ambassadors for the game.
They broke the mould when they made Kuch!
A photo posted by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on
There will be several names who can’t walk the red carpet with the same deserved sense of worth. Jordan Spieth’s congratulatory tweet was a tacit statement of remorse, an indication that he regretted his decision to withdraw. It was too little too late for a large number of American fans; clearly sentiment had changed once the players arrived in Rio.
Rory McIlroy’s situation was slightly different, but no better. He had decided to represent Ireland instead of Great Britain, a decision that had a weird air of contention – for no good reason. He initally gave the hackneyed Zika virus reason, joining the throng of golfers who cynically piggybacked on this excuse. And then he changed his tune.
In an interview that will go down as one of his most provocative of his career, Rory launched an unprovoked attack on Olympic golf. He told interviewers he would only be watching the events that mattered (not golf). It was unnecessary and brutal, but I respected his honesty.
— Gregg Strellis (@GreggStrellis) July 12, 2016
Adam Scott was also honest, he didn’t chat shit, he simply said he didn’t want to mess with his schedule. Wow, you don’t have to agree with a man to respect him. He stood up for what he believed in and it was classic Adam Scott. The genial Australian doesn’t care about his public profile, he’s happy to be quiet and likeable.
Jason Day is the same. He’s not looking to leverage his position for financial gain. He doesn’t whore himself out to brands, every decision he makes is based on tournament success. His health is also atrocious, there is no ailment he hasn’t suffered on the eve of a tournament. Vertigo, fatigue, allergies, bad back, Lebron James, you think of an excuse and Jason Day has used it. He’s either very unlucky or pathologically incapable of good health. He would have turned into a mosquito had he gone to Rio.
This leaves Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson…
With the exception of Zach Johnson, they were the only Americans from the “current” Ryder Cup team to officially withdraw:
1. Dustin Johnson (2nd)
2. Jordan Spieth (3rd)
3. Phil Mickelson (13th)
4. Jimmy Walker (15th)
5. Brooks Koepka* (17th)
6. Zach Johnson (21st)
7. J.B. Holmes (19th)
8. Brandt Snedeker (22nd)
9. Bubba Watson (6th)
10. Patrick Reed (14th)
11. Matt Kuchar (20th)
12. Rickie Fowler (7th)
Interesting to note that the four lowest guys based on Ryder Cup points all went to Rio. Looking at this list, you can expect a strong cheer for the guys who wanted to wear the stars and stripes.
HERE COMES PATRICK REED pic.twitter.com/pioLKtHPJt
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) July 29, 2016
“I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish top 3 in my life. I’ve never felt this sort of pride just busting out of my chest before.”
Every golfer can dictate their schedule, but Jordan’s mistake was using the Zika virus. The number of “pussy” and “coward” comments that followed his recent tweet would be hard to ignore. The unpatriotic label is more of a milestone than a tag. I’m not saying it’s fair but it’s a fact .
Kyle Porter summed up the group of people who just don’t get the viewpoint of those who disagree with Jordan: “I seriously doubt Spieth was weeping into his millions of dollars at not showing up for golf in Rio,” he said, completely ignoring the most important issue at stake here.
Jordan will regret his mistake. I can see why he didn’t want to play, but that doesn’t make his reasoning any less transparent. Maybe next time Jordan won’t say “we” made a decision that’s best for “us” that “we” can be certain of…
Surely it needs to be a “me” and an “I” making these decisions. Not your team, not Under Armour and certainly not a BS excuse.