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Presidents Cup 2009: Are Americans Subconsciously Hoping For Defeat?

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 06:  A flag blows in the wind during a practice round prior to the start of The Presidents Cup at Harding Park Golf Course on October 6, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2009

What does any great rivalry have?

Cut-throat competition.

A rivalry is not a rivalry if one side continuously dominates the other.

The Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry disappeared in the early '90s when both teams were horrendous. It wasn't until the Yankees won the World Series in 1998 and the Red Sox realized that they better start shelling out hundreds of millions to put their own all-star team on the field that the rivalry was renewed.

The Knicks vs. Bulls rivalry? It's been swept under the carpet while both teams are going through a rebuilding process that has lasted a decade…and still counting.

University of Miami vs. Florida State? That rivalry went into hibernation for years along with the University of Miami football program.

Even the Ryder Cup wasn’t all that exciting until the Europeans won the cup three times in a row between 1985 and 1989. Prior to that point, the American side had won 13 consecutive Ryder Cups, which didn’t constitute much of a rivalry.

Want to know why there’s not much interest in the Presidents Cup?

It’s quite simple really—the International team has won the bi-annual matches just once since it's inception back in 1994.

The fact that the American side is 5-1-1 in the seven matches clearly demonstrates why the Presidents Cup is, well, lacking in the rivalry department.

In short, there’s only one way the Presidents Cup will really take off, and that’s when the international side finally hands the Americans a good, old-fashion “backside” kicking.

“It would be nice if the Internationals, if we get it done a little bit more and get that rivalry going a little bit,” Mike Weir said yesterday at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco.

You see, easy accomplishments don’t capture the hearts and minds of a nation. 

No one wants to see the Yankees thrash the Royals in a Thursday afternoon game in mid-August.

Fans are only interested in individuals or teams that are forced to face extraordinarily difficult challenges and still come out victorious.

“I think from a player's perspective, they really want to get out there, and whether it's on American soil or whether it's on foreign soil, you want to get out there and you want to win,” Greg Norman said yesterday in San Francisco.

If you’re Australian, Canadian, South African, Korean, Japanese, Columbian, Argentinean, or a New Zealander, you’ll of course be supporting the international side at this week’s Presidents Cup matches.

If you’re an American golf fan, you’ll be cheering on the likes Woods, Mickelson, and Stricker come Thursday afternoon.

As Americans, we never like to lose international competitions.  It completely goes against our natural sense of patriotism. 

However, this may be one of those rare occasions where American golf fans are subconsciously hoping for an embarrassing defeat on US soil.

Why?

Because until that happens, the Presidents Cup will remain about as exciting as the Viking Classic.

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