It's time for a change

Updated: September 18, 2004, 8:09 PM ET
By Jason Sobel |

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Break up the Europeans.


No, seriously, break them up. Scrap the Spaniards. Junk the Germans. Filet the Frenchmen.

Thanks for visiting, fellas, but we've had about enough of your laughing and high-fiving on our home turf. You've been beating our golfers and stealing our women (that means you, Bernhard) for too long.

It's time to get back to the good ol' days when Europeans were from Great Britain and Ireland -- and nowhere else.

Retro is in anyway. Can't we disco our way back to the 1970s when Jacklin and Oosterhuis had to round up a few blokes named Clive just to make a full squad? Those were some fun Ryder Cups. Scores like 21-11, 19-13 -- all won by the Red, White and Blue, of course.

Really, is the current format even fair? A continent that's been golfing since the Paleozoic Era taking on poor, little United States of America. We've only been independent for 228 years -- sometimes it takes us that long just to find one of Mickelson's tee shots.

Sure, it was Jack Nicklaus' idea to invite all of Europe, but it's a safe bet he never thought he'd see Sergio Garcia smiling his way to 3 points in two days before he even hit puberty. Or Miguel Angel Jimenez's diabolical ponytail-and-cigar routine, a cross between Britney Spears and Groucho Marx with Nick Faldo's swing plane. Or Thomas Levet's, umm, actually he's lost twice so far, so we don't mind if he stays on the team.

And good riddence to German captain Bernhard Langer, who was racing so quickly up the fairways to congratulate his players, he must have thought it was the Autobahn. Shouldn't he really be captaining our team anyway? The guy lives in Florida, is married to a southern belle and plays golf as slow as most guys in our regular foursome.

The point is, if Europe wants to make this a fair fight, then let's do it. Starting now, we'll take Fiji, Canada and Australia. That's right -- Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Adam Scott, you guys are on the new, improved team of "America-plus".

With initiation onto this select squad comes plenty of perks: Chants of U-S-A-Plus will follow you around the course; Chris DiMarco will pump his fist after every putt you make, just so you don't hurt yourself; and we promise not to make you wear Ben Crenshaw's ill-fated snapshot shirt. Ever.

Phil Mickelson's even got a new set of Callaways he won't be using once you join us, so you're welcome to them!

Europe, you're up. For now. And it's not like this is a one-time thing. A win on Sunday would be your fourth in the last five matches. C'mon, you already beat our Olympic basketball team and claimed David Hasselhoff as one of your own. What's next? Stealing our record for eating Cheetos while lying on the couch?

So Bernhard, Miguel, Sergio, you can have the Ryder Cup for now.

Just don't expect a ride to the airport.

And no, you can't have Elin back, either.

Jason Sobel is's golf editor. He can be reached at

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor,
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became's golf editor in July 2004.