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Original Issue

Uncle, Sam

The last few weeks we've been inundated with Ryder Cup stories. There were rumored gag orders for one captain, media showdowns for the other, caddies left off flights, uniforms being debuted as if they were part of Fashion Week in New York City, gigantic gown budgets, and blah, blah, blah.

A lot has changed about the Ryder Cup since it was first played in 1927, when Samuel Ryder(below) had a notion of entertaining the Americans for a "small friendly lunch party" and a match based on prestige, not prize money. Frankly, everyone involved would be better off if they kept that in mind this week when the matches are played at Celtic Manor in Wales. When they are over, the players won't remember any of the silly preamble, but they will forever hang on to the quiet times in the team room, the practical jokes, the ringing notes of the anthems, the nausea on the 1st tee, the tingling hands when they have to make a putt and the pressure of not wanting to let their teammates or country down.

Those are the reasons they worked so hard over two years to make the team and what makes the Cup so great. That small friendly lunch party has such a wonderful history and has done so much to spread the game around the world that the soul of it should not be lost among the sideshow theatrics. And don't get too hung up on the clothing. With typical Wales weather in the forecast, the rain gear will get almost all the airtime.

Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA veteran and an analyst for NBC.