The 42nd Ryder Cup started, like so many others before them, with the formal introduction of the wives and girlfriends. They were made to dress up like Stepford Wives and march in a parade on to the stage, where they made an immaculate backdrop for the opening ceremony. They spent the next hour sitting and standing, waving and clapping. They do not even get to stand by their men but have to line up behind them.
It is not really clear why the Ryder Cup feels the need to have them do this. It must be the only sporting event that makes a point of staging a parade for the players’ partners and putting out lists of “attending spouses”. It is, as they say at Augusta, a tradition like no other, and one they should have dispensed with a while back.
They do not do it at the Solheim Cup. The husbands and boyfriends are not made to troop on stage in matching shirts and blazers. But at the Ryder Cup, the wives and girlfriends – never yet a husband or boyfriend – are such an integral part of the show that the few players who show up alone say they feel pretty conspicuous about being single. Rickie Fowler was last time around but not this. The best thing about it, he said, was that this time he will “actually have someone to kiss” if his team win.