I'm not allowed to handle any sharp objects right now--due to concerns about my personal safety. But I am still allowed to use a keyboard--so I'll talk a little about the things I learned at the Ryder Cup in Chicago this weekend.
--Scottish men love to wear kilts. There were plenty of "skirts" on the golf course every day. And every morning it was cold out there (leading to plenty of jokes about "shrinkage"). But those guys are pround of where they come from--and they are good natured about the comments on hairy legs and "going commando". I've got a picture of myself with about eight Scots decked out in their formal best on Sunday. Fortunately, security was confiscating bagpipes at the gates. That would have just been too much.
--When Europeans drink, they become friendly and rather humorous--while drunk Americans are pretty much just jerks. There was a reason vendors were out selling beer at the course at 6:30 am--it was afternoon from those that came from the other side of the pond. But the more they drank, the more the Euros sang and hugged and chanted and talked up us "Yanks". The more our fellow countrymen drank, the more they shouted obscenities at the European players and the more they shoved those of us along the ropes because OH MY GOD, WE CAN'T SEE TIGER!!!!
--Illinoisians are still the worst drivers in the Midwest. I lost track of how many times we were nearly sideswiped, cut off or rearended. And another popular move is to pull up alongside of you on the shoulder and then slowly squeeze you out of your own lane so they can go in front of you, because you know, where they are going is obviously far more important than where you are going. Maybe it's the sky high toll required to cover Illinois budget-crushing debt that drives the FIBS to drive like that.
--The Ryder Cup means a lot more to Europeans than it does to Americans. Euro fans, players and caddies live and die with those matches. There were plenty of Americans who were there just to be there. Maybe it's the European inferiority complex that makes it such a big deal for them. Hopefully, President Obama's plan to drag us down to their economic and cultural level will ignite a little fire under us.
--It is time for a changing of the guard on the American team. Once again it's the "Old Guys" who dragged down the US in defeat. Steve Stricker scored ZERO points. Tiger Woods had half-a-point. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk blew late leads to give Europe the points they needed to stage an historic come from behind win. Strcker and Furyk were Captain's Picks for the tournament--because Davis Love III wanted their "leadership". When you've only led teams to defeat, what kind of leadership are you really providing? Fortunately, guys like Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner have embraced Ryder Cup--and maybe they will bring a new wave of success.
Oh well, two years to Ryder Cup 2014 in Scotland.