Is it my imagination or are foreign-born players kicking our butts at every event we watch on every tour? I’m not just talking winning the event, but carefully examine the top 10, top 15, top 20 on each tour each week. I find it sad, sickening, and a microcosm of whom we Americans have become as a society.
Bring back Bobby Knight! We have become soft as competitive athletes. Yes, I hear you, there are exceptions — Tiger, Phil, Furyk — but the numbers on our side are dwindling while they’re exploding on the other side. The LPGA Tour should be re-named Korea West (sounds like an airline). Then add the Swedes and the Europeans. Well, where are the American princesses? Gulbis and Creamer should put a little less effort into the length of their skirts, and their makeup, and hole a few more putts.
Just to drive the point home a little further, currently 7 of the top 10 money winners, 10 of the top 15, and 14 of the top 20 are non-Americans! The PGA Tour (Vijay, Ernie, Retief, Tim Clark, Adam Scott, Baddeley, Immelman, Ogilvy, Appleby, Donald, Sabbatini, Pampling, Villegas — more on him later) is headed much the same direction.
Now let’s throw in the past couple of Solheim Cups, Ryder Cups, Walker Cups and Presidents Cups (yes, I know recently not bad), but certainly not nearly the dominance there once was. Also FYI, the recent Palmer Cup (College version of The Cup match format) — Europe 19 ½, U.S. 4 ½. Embarrassing. That could very well be our tour trend going into the future.
I feel we as a society have to get back to the work ethic that once made us great. Yes, I do understand that sport has become global. That is exactly why we have to work that much harder, be that much more disciplined, that much tougher. I want American golfers to follow the lead of our best player — play to win. The money, the fame, they’re all by-products. Win!
On a separate note or two. How about Fred Funk as a senior player? The Funkster will fill up the wheel barrel before it is all said and done. Still loves to compete, likes to win, has not gotten his fill yet. He will on this tour. He will be king of the seniors. A perfect game for that tour. Great driver of the ball. Good iron player, great putter, and most of all still hungry. It will be neat to watch him out there.
Speaking of both fun to watch, and dedicated, have you folks followed this young man Camilo Villegas, from the University of Florida via Colombia? He is currently 27th on the money list with just over 1.4 million big ones.
This rookie came to the U.S. some five years ago, with not a very good command of the language. All he accomplished was to become not only a standout All-American, but also an Academic All-American while at Florida. Good friend Buddy Alexander, the Gators’ head coach, told me Camilo was the hardest worker he has ever coached, by far. That’s pretty impressive. Buddy has coached Jodie Mudd, Brian Gay, Chris DiMarco, David Toms and many more great ones. Keep an eye on this one. He is fun to watch.
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Tom Patri’s teaching academy is at Lely Resort, with an indoor studio open at The Health Club of Naples on Immokalee Road. Patri is one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. He can be reached at email@example.com.