(European captain, Bernard Gallacher, celebrates their win in 1995.)
In Sept., 1995, when I was a barely-paid intern at Sports Illustrated, I remember the Ryder Cup. Ward Haynes was the golf photo editor at that time, and we were watching on the little TV in his office when Mark Mulvoy walked in. Mulvoy was the editor of SI, a legend of sports journalism. I offered him my chair, Mulvoy asked me to order some sandwiches for lunch; he was buying.
That was a big day in the life of an intern, watching golf and eating lunch with Haynes and Mulvoy. If you know him, you also know Mulvoy did most of the commentary. Ward and I were simply willing listeners.
What struck me as odd was that Mulvoy was pulling for the Europeans. Openly and avidly. But why? Why would the editor of an American-based sports publication be pulling for Europe to upset the Americans? (I remained loyal to the red, white and blue.)
Say what you want about Mulvoy, but the man was a visionary. He knew a Euro upset would be good for growing the game of golf. Which is what happened. Europe upset the Americans in 1995 at what was referred to as “Choke Hill” (U.S. choked and it was played at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.)
(Curtis Strange, Loren Roberts, Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson
all look like they ate bad eggs.)
Prior to that year the U.S. had won 24 of 30 Ryder Cups. Since 1995, U.S. has won two of seven, and the Ryder Cup, as an event, has grown in popularity.
Mulvoy, who has since retired as editor and turned his focus to playing a lot of golf, was last seen playing Ballybunion a few days ago. I tried to reach him to get his prediction, but my guess is he’s rooting for the underdogs again this year -- the U.S.
Already tired of both Pavins, the outfits we’ll probably never see because they’ll be covered in rain gear, all things Tiger Woods (but especially in sunglasses and headphones), boring American golfers in general and the Captain Pavin’s no tweet rule, I’m rooting for the Europeans.
The no tweet rule is a missed opportunity. Let the players let us in on the inside scoop, with the simple rule: don’t be stupid. A lot of tweets would get pickup within mainstream media outlets and we’d get a chance to get to know these guys a little better. I’m sure Mulvoy would agree, it would help grow the game of golf.
Here’s a complete recap of everything I’ve written about Wales in the past few weeks.
(Photographs by Getty Images.)