x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Michael Jordan should air his Ryder Cup views like this

Mike Tierney gives Team United States' motivational speaker some helpful hints on how to inspire the underachieving home team.

This photo provided by Gof Channel shows Michael Jordan, left, and Michael Phelps laughing during taping for
This photo provided by Gof Channel shows Michael Jordan, left, and Michael Phelps laughing during taping for "Feherty Live," on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, IL. The most decorated Olympian finally met his idol. Jordan made a surprise appearance during taping of the show, and Phelps was so overwhelmed he could barely speak. Phelps has been exchanging text messages with Jordan for a few months now, and said he thought he'd meet the Chicago Bulls star at some point during this week's Ryder Cup. (AP Photo/Golf Channel, Ross Dettman) *** Local Caption *** Phelps Jordan.JPEG-0e899.jpg

Nearly 30 years ago, Davis Love III introduced a university friend to golf. While Love later prospered on the PGA Tour, his pal embraced the game but kept it a distant second on his sports priority list, behind basketball.

This week, the two have reconnected over golf. Love is captain of the US Ryder Cup squad. For the special role of official adviser and motivator, he has appointed Michael Jordan, the supreme player in the annals of US team athletics.

Jordan was renowned for shooting straight not only on the court but in the Chicago Bulls locker and meeting rooms.

Assuming Jordan delivered a pep talk at Medinah Country Club to the chronically underachieving Americans, here is what he should have said:


Gentlemen, as you are reminded every time you turn on the TV, open a newspaper or check your Twitter replies, the Europeans have been kicking our butts.

Four losses in the last five cups is bad enough, but two of them were our most one-sided ever. My Bulls might have dropped a game on occasion to the Lakers and the Jazz in the finals, but we never got embarrassed.

Davis did not invite me here to instruct you on which irons to hit into the greens - although, as a member of Medinah, I am happy to offer counsel on how your putts will break.

My main message is this: do not play like wimps, like some do on the tour. Admit it, guys. You start a Sunday round in eighth place and, instead of going all-out for the win, you tend to become cautious because you know keeping that spot will still earn a big enough cheque to get the attention of Obama and Romney fund-raisers.

In the Ryder Cup, there are only two outcomes: win and lose. No in-between. And, as a reminder, there is no purse.

To borrow a phrase from the one sport I stank at, baseball, swing for the fences.

Surely all of you have seen my commercial video "No Excuses". Well, that applies here. Who cares if the Europeans are more attuned to crazy formats like alternate shot and best ball? It is still golf, no matter the set-up.

So what if the "home-course" advantage that benefited you in America for years has declined because their guys are mostly full-fledged PGA Tour players? And, yes, it's weird that the one cup player who lives in Chicago is Luke Donald from their side. But you know Medinah as well as he does.

I realise that your "playing fields" are not as consistent as mine were - 94-foot courts, 10-foot high rims. But you have got it easy, with no fans screaming insults while you are taking a shot.

Besides, did you hear the galleries chanting "U-S-A" for Brandt Snedeker at the Tour Championship last week? Here, you will feel the love, multiplied - which should make up for the shrinking of any home-course edge.

Speaking of Snedeker, we know he is among four cup rookies. But my man D-Love used his captain's picks wisely, selecting four players as hot as me from the three-point line at crunch time, which should cancel out the inexperience.

Brandt, you should not feel one iota of pressure after winning in Atlanta with US$11.4 million (Dh41.87m) on the line. All that did was give you a lifetime of financial security. If you stayed calm then, you should be as relaxed here as someone 45 minutes into a deep tissue massage.

It is inconceivable that the Charlotte Bobcats have more winning records (one) since I've owned them than there are represented in this room (none).

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk - you have a combined 146 championships, 19 in majors. But when it's US against Them, your record is 32-46-12? That makes less sense than the FedEx Cup points system.

Go out there and Be Like Mike. And if you win, three words: Free Air Jordans.


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