Why Team USA should toast Greg Norman and LIV Golf

No matter how lopsided scores get on the Presidents Cup, Davis Love III might be too sporting to get a head begin on jotting down the thanks due in his victory speech. It guarantees to be a prolonged checklist since each member of his workforce could have contributed factors to the ledger by Sunday, to not point out the caddies, host membership officers, backroom assistants, and the phalanx of EVPs, SVPs and lowly VPs who’ll descend from PGA Tour HQ for the closing ceremony. Yet it could be remiss of Love to not single out for faint reward Greg Norman, a one-man Superfund clean-up crew who has carried out for the U.S. what successive captains and a job pressure couldn’t: decontaminate the workforce room dynamics which have undermined it for many years.

Postmortems of this Presidents Cup will rightly word that the International facet was depleted by the strikes to LIV Golf of gamers like Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann and Louis Oosthuizen. While that’s indeniable, it stays debatable what affect these losses actually had for the reason that Internationals weren’t precisely driving a scorching streak earlier than the defectors signed on to work for a Saudi regime extra accustomed to deploying groups of hitmen than of golfers.

Fairness to Trevor Immelman calls for acknowledging that issues would possible be extra aggressive had he been capable of name on these lacking stars. But it’s clear that LIV’s most important affect on the 14th Presidents Cup isn’t a damaging one on the Internationals, however a optimistic one on the Americans. The U.S. workforce is clearly having fun with itself at Quail Hollow, however that doesn’t owe solely to the rating. Sure, a romp breeds good humor, however it is a group flush with real camaraderie and wholly comfy with one another.

It’s straightforward to miss simply how lengthy interpersonal toxicity has been an accepted a part of the U.S. workforce room. The chill (and occasional distaste) between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson loomed massive throughout Europe’s Ryder Cup dominance in first dozen years of this century. Mickelson’s function in hobbling U.S. squads got here to a head like a pustule in 2014 at Gleneagles, culminating in a press convention throughout which he piloted a Greyhound over Tom Watson’s back whereas posturing as a well-intentioned onlooker.

Four years later in Paris, eleven members of the Stars and Stripes discovered themselves asking ‘Pourquoi, Patrick?’ after Reed publicly blamed the workforce’s drubbing—and his personal dropping file—on skipper Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth. Not content material to be a scourge on one workforce, Reed then put the ’19 Presidents Cup facet within the defensive place of getting to make gentle of his highly questionable behavior in a Bahamas bunker days earlier. Cobbling collectively the looks of cohesion could be a compromising course of.

The ambiance within the Ryder Cup locker room final 12 months at Whistling Straits was maybe much less poisonous however no much less a distraction owing to the callow feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, about which captain Steve Stricker and his complete roster fielded fixed questions.

For veterans of these experiences, this week in Charlotte should really feel just like the dawning of a brand new period through which drawback children have been banished to the sin bin and jerks have been jettisoned. It will carry no consolation to Luke Donald, who will captain Europe in opposition to these guys a 12 months therefore on the Ryder Cup in Italy.

In the spirt of discovering a cloud to go along with each silver lining: golf followers may not be nicely served by Team USA’s newly-forged collegiality. It removes the partaking frisson of latest contests through which the U.S. focus typically appeared to be on an enemy inside. Comity doesn’t often lend itself to driving workforce competitors, so there can be golf trade executives secretly hoping that Europe is one way or the other pressured to discipline a Garcia, Westwood or Poulter in Rome to take care of the custom of again room dysfunction as a enjoyable storyline for followers. But whereas golf generally—and workforce golf particularly—has undeniably benefited from polarizing figures, any definition of acceptable polarizing conduct should cease this facet of normalizing a tyrant whereas mendacity about being a pressure for good.

As the U.S. workforce stands on the cusp of a halcyon period, it’s two opponents—Europe and the Internationals—seem headed for a interval of rebuilding and, within the case of the Presidents Cup itself, a protracted overdue reimagining. What gained’t change are probably the most reliable sources of edginess and angst within the respective Cups: hard-fought competitors and the occasional overstepping induced by patriotic fervor. Both are preferable to the scheming by the egocentric that has turn out to be the distorted norm.

During the celebrations on Sunday night, members of the U.S. workforce should chip in for a bottle of Greg Norman’s eponymous wine (at $17, it’s a mere buck-forty every) and toast him for making certain that they’ll be among the many treasured few to emerge profitable and with enhanced reputations from his new world order.


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