Ask most Australians to list the biggest sporting events in the world and the Ryder Cup would be lucky to get a mention. This is golf’s version of the Davis Cup; a biennial teams event where the top golfers in the USA take on the best European talent.
It sounds like an exhibition event so far, but don’t believe it. The Ryder Cup has become such an important event for the golfers that passions run high, even at selection time, let alone on the course.
Take Dane Thomas Bjorn, who will miss the event after the European captain Ian Woosnam overlooked him for one of two wildcard places, instead choosing Lee Westwood, who has won twice at the course where the Cup will be played.
Bjorn went berserk:
So far his (Woosnam’s) captaincy has been the most pathetic I have ever seen. I haven’t spoken to him for six months and now I find that I’m not in the team watching television. How can that be right? He has put a lot of players through misery because he just hasn’t done the right thing.
I don’t understand the way he is handling the whole situation. It doesn’t look like he is burdened by leadership qualities.
He came into the bar at the hotel and gave me 20 seconds about Lee having won twice at the K Club. In a bar – that kind of sums it up. He can’t walk up to me, tell me in 20 seconds and expect me to be happy. I’m very disappointed. I think he’s been very poor in the way he’s handled the players.
Apparently Woosnam and Bjorn were put in the same room on Sunday to try and sort things out, but the air was so tense the meeting lasted barely a minute.
A day after his merciless slagging of the captain, Bjorn’s career advisers had obviously had a word. He came out with an “unreserved apology” over what he said in the heat of the moment.
“I am a passionate guy who believes that the Ryder Cup is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and I was desperately disappointed not to make it into the team,” he said.
Honestly, if those boys can’t play nicely, then they shouldn’t be allowed to play at all. Thomas, get to your room!