For a sport that guards its image with such zeal, you have to wonder why golf allows the Ryder Cup press conference for the winners to resemble a college frat party.
Sunday, the comeback Europeans seemed to be intoxicated with more than victory when they finally met the media at Medinah Country Club. In fact, they made no effort to hide it, with Sergio Garcia passing along beers to his mates. At one point, he even spit out some brew while trying to take a gulp. Lovely.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood was making siren noises and interrupting his fellow players. It appeared he was well into his enjoyment of the victory.
Now, I’m not advocating Prohibition here, but you tend to view things differently when you have two high school age boys. You become more sensitive to scenes of big-name athletes drinking on television.
The problem is the timing of the press conference. The players didn’t come in until after 8 p.m. Central, more than three hours after Martin Kaymer made the clinching putt.
They had their wild celebration in front of the fans, spraying and drinking Moet. Garcia was swilling it as if the champagne were Gatorade on a 95-degree day.
You only could assume the party continued as the players dressed for the closing ceremonies. Then the Europeans waited even longer while the glum Americans appeared first in the media room. More time to “celebrate.”
Finally, it was Europe’s turn for a session that aired live on the Golf Channel.
Name me another sports where the winners do a formal session with the press three hours after the end of game? If they did, you would get the same type of sloppy scene from the World Series and Super Bowl champions. And I shudder to think what it would be like for the Stanley Cup champions.
The closing ceremony for the Ryder Cup does complicate matters, as far as doing a press conference right away. I don’t know what the solution is. That’s for others to figure out.
However, I do know that golf goes to such great effort to present their players in the best light possible. That didn’t occur for the victorious Europeans Sunday, and it was embarrassing for the game.
Their press conference belonged in a pub, not the media center.
The press conference for the Ryder Cup loser is easily the most awkward in sports. All 12 players, plus the captain, appear together, seated across a large table.
The set up creates a situation in the players who sucked have to answers about why they sucked in front of their teammates. It couldn’t have been easy for proud veterans like Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker to explain their shortcomings during this Ryder Cup with the rest of Team USA looking on.
Officials should examine this format too.