Monday, August 24, 2009

Stay classy, Solheim winners

My interest in televised golf began earlier this year when I spent a lost day on Sean Tuohey's couch, watching Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry battle for the green jacket on a giant HDTV. I've never been a fan, but this year has presented us with some compelling drama on the links.

Working at the Daily Herald, it has been impossible to avoid the hoopla over the Solheim Cup, the U.S.-vs.-Europe event that ended in American victory this weekend out in Sugar Grove. I watched coverage here and there this weekend, and enjoyed seeing the emergence of Michelle Wie.

What I didn't enjoy, however, was the classless behavior of some of her teammates, specifically Paula Creamer and Christina Kim.

Now, I understand that this is a big event -- maybe the biggest the LPGA has to offer. I further understand that the competitors see it as a matter of national pride, and that they feed off the energy of the jingoistic crowd. (A crowd that, all told, numbered 120,000 for the weekend, according to the Daily Herald's Mike Spellman.) And I further understand that the LPGA is on the fringe of professional sports, and that it needs attention any way it can get it.

But none of that excuses Creamer and Kim.

I cannot find YouTube evidence to back me up tonight, but I can tell you that both Creamer and Kim went way overboard in their celebrations today. I'm not talking about after the event, I'm talking about during -- Creamer hit a putt on I believe the 4th hole today and, with her European opponent walking right in front of her, launched into a crowd-inducing, fist-pumping display that seemed to embarrass Suzanne Pettersen. If, say, Carlos Zambrano had put on such a display, he would have taken a fastball to the face in his next at-bat.

Kim was probably the most classless of all, dancing around like Happy Gilmore after every putt. I get that that's Kim's thing -- she's energetic and enthusiastic. But she's also (allegedly) a professional, and she sure didn't act like one this weekend.

Add in the constant "U! S! A!" chants from the crowd -- that chant always sounds so mean to me, for some reason -- and you had one giant display of Ugly-Americanism out at Rich Harvest Farms.

To the women of the LPGA: If you want your sport to be taken seriously, I suggest that you start taking it seriously.

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