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  Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Toothless golf from Tiger
BBC Sport's Rob Bonnet

I've always liked ducks.

We have a family at our golf club who frequently visit the bar to bother the members for the contents of their crisp packets.

And there was another, more extended group waddling across the 18th green at the Belfry just as Paul McGinley was preparing to hole that 6 footer to win the Ryder Cup.

Somehow the sense of occasion and drama had passed the ducks by.

Tiger Woods at The Belfry
Woods cut a shadowy figure at the Ryder Cup

Just as - equally - that whole Ryder Cup thing had passed by the Tiger, who was way behind the meaningful action in a match with Jesper Parnevik.

It wasn't Tiger Woods' fault that he was playing a bit-part - Captain Strange had decided on the batting order.

And Woods' play on 18 might have been crucial (and more effective) but for McGinley - but it somehow symbolised what we've come to believe as the truth.

That Woods has a distracted, indifferent and impatient relationship with one of modern sport's purest forms of competition.

And that he can't be bothered with an event where individual excellence might count for nothing when overwhelmed by the failings of team-mates.

We see Woods' ambivalence it in the results - his three wins out of ten matches going into this year's event became five out of fifteen at The Belfry.

And we saw it in his negative body language and the carelessly missed putts in the singles against Parnevik, a man world-ranked 60 places below him and falling.

Paul McGinley sunk the winning putt at the Ryder Cup
Tiger could learn from McGinley's example

How much more morale-boosting it would have been for the Americans had they been able to glance up at the scoreboard and see him deep into the red with a four hole lead against Parnevik by the turn.

Instead, they saw confirmed what they might have been suspecting throughout the week - that he couldn't be counted any more than he could freely bring himself to celebrate with his team-mates three years ago at Brookline.

Apparently he had to be dragged out of his hotel room to join the knees-up.

And how bizarre that Woods should chose to dress like a member of the European team on the final day.

Team ethic

Strange had picked red, presumably in part to make Tiger feel at home on the last day of a major tournament.

Woods' choice of European blue may not have been a deliberate snub, but it certainly laid itself open to the allegation.

Someone needs to have a chat with Tiger - a quiet, kindly chat about the real and genuine pleasures of the team ethic.

It won't cost him money or diminish his game - it might even help him out of his cocoon and into life, where the Paul McGinleys of this world have their place in the sun.

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18 Sep 02 | BBC Pundits
Links to more Ryder Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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