But over the past 15 years or so—the Tiger era—coverage of the old gentleman's game has become noisy and quarrelsome. In the weeks leading up to the Presidents Cup, Norman dissed Fred's decision to make Tiger a captain's pick. (Woods went 2--3.) Couples dissed Norman's selection of Robert Allenby. (The Aussie went 0--4.) Steve Williams dissed ... let's not even revisit it, it's so repulsive. Then, blessedly, the games began, the noise dissipated, and in its place, right there on Channel 84 for me, were four days of inconsequential, pleasant, interesting live golf. The tonight show.
SI had a man on the ground at Royal Melbourne, Mark Hayes, who told me (by way of e-mail) about walking the course with Simpson's vivacious wife, Dowd, as she rooted vocally for her husband and Bubba. Hayes told her that in Australia she was not rooting for the Americans, but barracking for them. In Australian English, to root, the reporter delicately explained to the wife/actress/new mother, is to have sex. Dowd got a kick out of that and spent the rest of the week barracking for her boys. I just googled the phrase "barracking at the Presidents Cup." It didn't produce a single hit. Google doesn't know everything.
All in all, you'd have to say that Hayes had a far better gig than I last week. While I was watching Roger Maltbie on Golf Channel, he was walking Royal Melbourne with Dowd Simpson. I was tethered to screens for four days in a chaotic effort to keep up with the Presidents Cup. All Hayes needed was a notebook, a pen and a map.
The U.S. captain needed less than that. Couples, who still relies on the newspaper for his baseball box scores, got 12 talented golfers to a course 16,000 kilometers (9,800 miles) away from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., stepped out of the way and let them play. And that was plenty.