Phil Mickleson and Rickie Flower take a selfie with fans at the Presidents Cup. Photo: @PGATOUR via Twitter

We should have known from the lame songs on the tee-box. And, if that didn’t give it away, maybe the empty seats on most of the grandstands, even on day one, was further evidence that this isn’t the spectacle that we would like it to be.

When the commentators started talking about the shoe-bling “swag” of the American Team, it truly was the beginning of the end.

The Presidents Cup is supposed to be an international golf match, not the Hollywood red carpet.

It’s a pity we don’t have the Xhosa commentary option for all the world’s sporting farces, because those folk are still honest enough to call a spade what it really is.

There is a reason people don’t enjoy watching one-sided events. There is no drama, no real magnet to hold one’s attention span longer than the time it takes for someone to scream “Get in the hoooooole!!” on the first short hole.

Sometimes, despite all the best intentions in the world, there are certain events that an increasingly crammed sporting calendar could do without.

The prime purpose of the Presidents these days, it appears, is to remind us all just how great a product the Ryder Cup is. Well, that and ensuring that the Americans get their pairings in order for the real show.

There used to be a time when it mattered. When the International team looked like they were playing for someone, or something.

On the evidence of Friday night, Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri might just be the most awkward looking pair in the history of foursomes. For much of the match, it was actually threesomes because Schwartzel took on the Yanks alone. He and his partner barely shared a fairway, never appeared in sync, and Lahiri even had the cheek to book himself a par-four holiday by getting himself disqualified for one hole.

A team - and an individual - that cares about winning the trophy wouldn’t make the amateurish howler that Lahiri made when he practised out of a bunker after losing yet another hole.

Things got so bad that he had to have his captain come over and console him mid-contest, as if he was the new kid in the school playground, and the other kids were not playing with him.

It is a shambles and the whole thing looks like a very public boys golfing weekend away.

Without patriotism or prize-money, it appears very difficult for modern sportsmen to be roused sufficiently to put on a proper show.

The recent Laver Cup is another peculiar addition to the schedule.

One of its main drawcards seemed to be the very rare chance to see Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on the same side of the net.

Yes, things got tight on the final day, thanks to a points system designed to leave the door ajar until the very end, but the Laver Cup was not really a sporting contest.

Just like the Presidents Cup is not really a contest. It is golf’s answer to Mayweather-McGregor, perhaps, with relative novices in team golf taking on a unit that has made team golfing mega bouts a part of their staple.

Of course, as suckers for sport, we will watch in the hope of a miracle, a sucker-punch that might disturb the natural order of things.

But in truth, we should have known what we were in for the minute we had schoolyard chants welcoming players onto the first tee-box. Roll on Paris 2018, so we can see what actual team golf sounds and looks like.


Sunday Independent

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