At some point, an American golfer needs to stand up, put his foot down and proclaim that enough is enough.
Right now, American golf is like Rocky Balboa after Round 1 against Ivan Drago – we’re cut, bloodied and staggering. There are people looking on, murmuring, hoping we’ll throw in the towel before this thing goes on any longer.
Look at the hard-to-hide-from facts:
~ The top three spots in the Official World Golf Rankings belong to players who don’t claim the Red White and Blue as their home nation.
~ The Europeans own the Ryder Cup.
~ Americans currently hold none of the four major titles (Charles Schwarzel and Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa boys) Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Martin Kaymer (Germany) have them all.
~ McDowell, the defending U.S Open Champion is the first European winner of the event in nearly four decades. His win almost marking the European resurgence.
We could go on, but the lasting image you’ll take is that American golf needs to make a statement. It needs to fire back with some vicious right and left hooks of its own. It needs to take back what’s ours.
There’s no better place to do it than at Congressional Country Club next week, either. The course is 7,500+ yards of nasty and it’s located just outside our country’s National Capital. If ever there were a tournament begging for an “American Moment” this is it.
There are so many capable faces in the American golfing crowd too.
~ Imagine if Dustin Johnson hadn’t imploded during the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open and realized he was standing in a bunker (sort of) on the final hole at the PGA Championship – Americans might own two of the four majors. Maybe this is the week he avenges those near misses.
~ What about Rickie Fowler? He’s young, but he’s anything but lacking for gonads. When he erased Edoardo Molinari’s three-up with three holes to go lead at last year’s Ryder Cup he gained a new level of respect. Can his fearless game take it to the next level?
~ Or Bubba Watson, a guy with flair, swagger and nerves all knitted together. That long, left-handed swing can driver the ball past most players in next week’s field. He has he kind of game that can win a U.S. Open. But, will he step up?
~ There are others too – Can Steve Stricker build on his win at The Memorial? Will Ricky Barnes ever put it together for four whole rounds at a major? Hunter Mahan – let’s make it happen in a big one.
~ Oh, there’s Phil Mickelson, too. It’s odd to think of Mickelson as the old guard these days, but in many ways that’s what he’s become. If you want the movie script ending next week, you root for Phil to win with a birdie on 18. Mickelson is forever a fan favorite no matter what country he walks the fairways, but the roars are never louder than when he’s on U.S. soil. He’s never won the U.S Open and his prime opportunities are dwindling.
These are great players with promise, but collectively, they’ve been pushed to the corner a bit. If ever there were a moment for them to take a swing back; to fire a blow that reminded everyone how great they (we) can be; to put a collective foot down and announce that enough is enough….this is it.