COREY GOES TO 'WAR' AGAIN; Echoes of Kiawah Island Debacle as Crazy Pavin Calls in the U.S. Military; Rory V Tiger? It's a Prospect Hot Enough to Make Your Hair Curl

Daily Mail (London), September 30, 2010 | Go to article overview

COREY GOES TO 'WAR' AGAIN; Echoes of Kiawah Island Debacle as Crazy Pavin Calls in the U.S. Military; Rory V Tiger? It's a Prospect Hot Enough to Make Your Hair Curl


Byline: by DEREK LAWRENSON

UNCOMFORTABLE echoes of the war on the shore at Kiawah I s l a n d i n 1 9 9 1 rumbled through Celtic Manor yesterday. Is crazy Pavin up to his old tricks again? Then, Corey Pavin wore his hair long and his heart on his sleeve. The Ryder Cup that year was held in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, and Pavin, dressed in a flak jacket at one point, incensed the European team by ludicrously equating what was happening in Iraq with what was supposed to be a game of golf.

Is he blurring the lines again? While the European team turned to sport on Tuesday night, with an emotional conference call with Seve Ballesteros from his home in Spain, and inspirational words from Welsh rugby legend Gareth Edwards, the Americans turned to war, as Pavin invited a highly decorated former air force pilot to stand up and address his side.

'I think people, in the States and over here, appreciate the military and what they do for our freedom,' Pavin said. 'That's what it was about at Kiawah, it was about supporting the troops. I think what the military does is amazing; to put your life on the line for what you believe, it is the ultimate sacrifice to do that. And it's very worthwhile to recognise that.'

Nobody would disagree with a word Pavin said. What is troubling is what on earth it has to do with the Ryder Cup.

'I want these guys to be accountable to each other and have each other's backs, and basically that's what happens in the military,' added Pavin (right), causing more than the odd quizzical glance. Did he really just compare what would happen in a firefight against the Taliban in the Afghan mountains with events taking place in the fourballs matches here tomorrow morning?

Filling impressionable minds with the idea the Ryder Cup is comparable to matters of life and death is always dangerous. It was one reason why events at Kiawah spiralled out of control. Then there was the time George W Bush, then governor of Texas, was invited into the American team room to read out the last words of Colonel William Travis before he died in the Battle of the Alamo.

Travis wrote: 'I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honour, and that of his country. Victory or Death.'

The next day we had arguably the most shameful afternoon in the history of the Ryder Cup, the final day at Brookline in 1999, where the gung-ho American team forgot themselves and ran on to the 17th green to declare victory, oblivious to the fact Jose Maria Olazabal still had a putt to keep the match alive. …

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