I like warm beerand hairy-legged women. I drive a car so small, you could park it in the glovecompartment of a Hummer. I enjoy funny brown cigarettes in the loo.
That's because, asof now, I am officially a European.
I have turnedEuropean because I'm bloody sick of the U.S. getting the haggis stomped out ofit by the Euros in these Ryder Cup golf matches.
Every two years theEuros dye their hair and smoke their cigars and get drunk and wave their blueEuro flags and beat us like Dickens' orphans, then sing songsshoulder-to-shoulder and laugh and dance on the clubhouse roof and wave theirprivate parts in our general direction.
No more. I'm a Euronow. Changed my passport and everything. I like real football now, not fat guysin helmets. I no longer see the point in regular dental checkups. I tan by40-watt bulbs. I eat tatties and neeps in my flat and see what's on the telly.Ooh, brilliant! It's Bean!
I'd beenconsidering turning Euro for a few years now, but on Monday, when the Americanteam was announced for next month's Ryder Cup in Ireland, it ripped meknittin', as we say down at the pub.
Have you seen theU.S. team? It has all the intimidation power of the Liechtenstein navy. Itwould have a hard time beating the Winnetka Country Club ladies' B team. It'sthe single worst squad we've ever taken to a Ryder Cup, and that's sayingsomething, considering the last batch got pummeled 18 1/2 -9 1/2.
"We'lldefinitely be the underdog," Phil Mickelson says. "You lose four of thelast five Cups, you're the underdog."
This outfit wouldbe the underdog to a stiff breeze. Or do Brett Wetterich, Zach Johnson, J.J.Henry and Vaughn Taylor make your timbers shiver? It sounds like somebody'sWebelos troop. None of those four have ever played in a Ryder Cup before. Threeof them missed the cut at last week's PGA, and Henry finished 41st.
Wetterich hasmissed five cuts in his last eight starts. You look at him and think, Was he mywaiter at Olive Garden last night? If he wasn't, he will be soon.
Won't Tiger bepsyched to be paired with him?
That's the otherthing: Tiger. He's the No. 1 player in the world by a light year, the GolfingGladiator. Until he goes to Ryder Cups, and then he suddenly becomes Dead ManWalking.
He mopes aroundlike a husband in couples therapy, only he talks to his partner less. It maythe only thing he sucks at. His Ryder record is 7-11-2, and no wonder. Hewasn't wired for team play. He trusts nobody. Why should he buddy up withpeople he's been trained to swallow in two bites or less? The hangman doesn'tplay on the prison softball team. Lions don't room with lambs.
Yet every two yearsall the U.S. players seem to take their Stepford cue from Woods. They all playas though they have to put their shirts back in the boxes when they're done. Ofthe 12 guys on this year's team, nine have a losing Ryder record or no recordat all. You know who's got a great Ryder Cup record on the U.S. team? TomLehman (5-3-2), Corey Pavin (8-5) and Loren Roberts (3-1). Only problem is,they're the coaches!
This thing needs areadjust. We've lost seven of the last 10. Can't they at least give usCanada?
Only eight playerson the American team are in the Top 50 in the world. The Euros have 10, andthey've still got two captain's picks left. They have the same group ofpartyers that has been popping U.S. corks for 10 years now: Olaàbal, García,Harrington, probably Westwood and Clarke. Nothing changes every two yearsexcept the site of the execution.
They'll outplay usand outguzzle us and outwhoop us, and at the end, while the American playersare slinking back to their jets, the Euros will be swan diving off the TV towerinto a swimming pool full of Guinness.
And I'll be therewith me straw.
I'm them now. I'vejoined the champagne-swilling side. I'm more European than pay toilets. I wearkneesocks with sandals and drink Beaujolais at 10 a.m. and never read anewspaper that doesn't have a naked girl in it. And if you don't like it, youcan bugger off.
Wait. Excuse me?You say all true Euros love Monty?
O.K., forget thewhole thing.
• If you have acomment for Rick Reilly, send it to email@example.com.
THE VOTES ARE IN
Two weeks ago the LIFE OF REILLY asked readers to weighin on how they would have handled an ethical dilemma in a Utah PONY leaguegame. (If you missed it, go to SI.com/reillyvote.) There were 25,982 responses,and here are the results.
Pitch to the slugger: 60% • Walk the slugger and pitchto the frail kid: 40%
RIFFS of REILLY
Exclusively on Verizon Wireless V CAST and SI.com.
I have turned European because I'm bloody sick of theU.S. getting the haggis stomped out of it by the Euros in these Ryder Cup golfmatches.
PETER READ MILLER