The question being whispered about these days has to do with whether or not the U.S. Ryder Cup team is a better team without Tiger Woods? How is that possible, you ask? Frankly, I find it a hard to understand myself, but ever since Tiger Woods became “the superstar” of the game of golf he appears to eclipse the team concept, or at least that’s what many would have you believe.
I don’t believe it and neither do the Brits.
Without Tiger, who’s our stopper? Who do we put on their best man and expect to win? Who stands up in the locker room? Who validates parking? Is Phil Mickelson the guy, or does that sound as funny to you as it does to me? Does Stewart Cink have the game, or Jim Furyk have the personality? Can a Munchkin like Justin Leonard garner the respect needed to lead with a 275 yard drive?
There must be a leader out there.
What about hometown boy Kenny Perry? Will he have too many Kentucky friends and family sleeping on the couch to concentrate? Next in line would be Boo Weekly, but I want you to name a great leader named Boo? The kid Anthony Kim still calls guys like Phil Mickelson sir, so how can he lead? Perhaps Brandt Snedeker the guy who cried at the Masters? I guess that question answered itself.
We should not give up.
Steve Stricker could be the guy but I’m not sure anyone has ever heard him speak. He may sound like Jessica Simpson and that would never do. D. J. Trahan the Sports Management major from Clemson University has already made more money in 2008 than in any other year in his short career, so I’m thinking he needs a little time to adjust to the big money. Which brings us to Hunter Mahan, but not even Hunter listens to Hunter.
Step forward someone… anyone!
Master Champion Zack Johnson is a possibility but his game is not in top form and hasn’t been for a while. So, how about Jeff Quinney who is related by marriage to Wayne Gretzky I think, but he still does not have a win. Do you want to bet the ranch on a guy without a win? Perhaps the guy is J. B. Holmes, who has won twice as much money in 2008 as any other year in his career, but I’m thinking the stage is too big, or his goatee too small. Either way, he’s not the guy.
Great needs require great deeds.
Perhaps team captain Azinger should consider the sixteenth man on the list of possibilities. The man with the faint hint of Italian sausage on his breath; The guy with the hairiest arms on tour; the man who abandoned the long putter because it made him look short; the one and only, Rocco Mediate. Let’s hear it: Rocco…Rocco… Rocco. Can you still hear the cheering?
If we can keep Rocco from stopping up the drains with body hair, he could be the ultimate team guy. Big stage experience; check. Humble beyond belief; check. Tenacious if we don’t have to go into extra innings; check. And above all, colorful; check, check.
Why not Rocco? In the 77 year history of the Ryder Cup there has never been a Rocco. Of course there has never been a Barbara either, but that’s another story. Granted, the name Rocco doesn’t put fear in the hearts of the Europeans, but neither do the names Phil, or Justin, or Steve, or Stewart, or even Uncle Sam.
The U.S. hasn’t won the Ryder Cup since 1999, so what do we have to lose? Bring on the Italian Stallion Rocco Mediate. If you want to help, and I know you do, get out your paper and pen and write to Captain Paul Azinger in care of: Ryder Cup Office at Valhalla Golf Club, P.O. Box 43819, Louisville, KY 40253.
Tell Captain Azinger that Rocco is the man. Do it because you love the game. Do it because Rocco is the man. Do it because you too have a 36” plus spot on your belt.