Boozer in rehab
Carlos that is. Boozer's new agent says he is doing "community service" to rebuild his image. Boozer's credibility was tarnished by an abuse of trust which cost his former employer ten million dollars. Prediction: he will still get booed in Cleveland.
The Europeans are still smarting over the boorish American victory dance in the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline. James Lawton, a master of the ad hominem attack, is his usual self at the Independent. The Guardian's David Davies throws the same smack at US captain Hal Sutton, but at least owns up to taking a "cheap shot." I hope our boys win, even more so now, and trust that they will compete honorably, whatever the result.
P.S. Good thing Mitch Albom's been keeping quiet on the subject lately, especially since the tournament is in his own back yard.
Emotions & fair play
None of the European stories I've read have mentioned the tactics employed by their own side in recent Ryder Cups. These tactics have tested the limits of sportsmanship. Here's Tim Carroll in the WSJ ($):
Europeans do care more about the Ryder Cup. I'd argue the Europeans sometimes care too much -- and that might not be a good thing, either. Seve Ballesteros, the out-of-control European captain in 1997, ordered rough to be grown across the fairway at about 260 yards out on the par five 17th hole, taking driver out of the longer-hitting Americans' hands. He also ordered the front of the 17th green to be shaved so only high shots -- like those the Europeans would be hitting on their third shot to the hole -- would hold. Even several European players thought they should blow up the hole and start again. In 2002, the only entertaining hole on the Belfry course, the 10th, was altered, again to the detriment of the Americans. And the greens were left to grow until they were the speed of a municipal course. That's the speed the Europeans sometimes play, the Americans never. American putts continually came up short. The captain of the home squad has this right in the rules, but it's not really in the spirit of the thing.
This bit of history (absent in the accounts from Britain), make the American reaction in 1999 more understandable, if no more tolerable.