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Anybody Care? Interest in Ryder Cup low in town

Mark Twain never would have cared. The only question is, does anybody in America really care? Does anybody in Demopolis care?

Beginning Thursday, America will battle Europe in the 34th playing of the Ryder Cup matches. For people like Paul Garner, one of Demopolis’ best amateur golfers, there’s something different in the way we view one of the sport’s most prestigious events.

In America, Garner said, citizens like to split time between different sports, both on the professional and collegiate levels.

Rex Bible, pro at The Ravine golf course, has much the same take on the Ryder Cup, which will be aired on the USA cable network beginning at 10 a.m. CST on Thursday. But Bible, like any avid golfer, knows there’s something prestigious about the match-play tournament being held at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

Then again, the reputation of the Ryder Cup – at least in the United States – has been tarnished by events in the past three years.

In 1999, when the event was last played, a couple of American golfers said they should be paid to play in the event. The tournament was scheduled to be played again last year, but was cancelled due to the events of Sept. 11.

This year, Tiger Woods has spoken out on the event again. Last week, he won a World Golf Championship tournament and said he would have much rather won that event (and the $1 million purse) than win the Ryder Cup.

Much of the reason for his statements came because Woods thrives on individual accomplishments. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, is a team event. One player rarely makes or breaks the team.

Garner says golfers in Demopolis can make an easy correlation.

The United States won the Ryder Cup in 1999 and will attempt to retain the cup beginning Thursday. Matches conclude Sunday.