Want to know why the Europeans have won six of the last eight Ryder Cups? Check out Twitter.
It provides proof of the giant intangible that has helped spur Europe to so much success in the biennial match.
Since Europe made the Ryder Cup competitive way back in 1983, the same post mortem has been handed down after every European victory. The Euros win because there is more camaraderie on that circuit than on the PGA Tour.
Twitter proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Europeans are a pretty tight knit bunch of lads. Why else would they spend so much time on Twitter making fun of each other?
Ian Poulter (ianjamespoulter) is forever posting tweets that make fun of Lee Westwood (westwoodlee). Rory McIlroy (mcilroyrory) does too, as does Graeme McDowell (graeme_mcdowell). Westwood doesn’t take it lying down either. He’s just as quick to throw an insult back at anyone who makes fun of him. In fact, they all make fun of each other – every chance they get.
It’s what we call “banter” in this part of the world. Without banter in the European team room there would be no team spirit. It happens at every European Tour event every week of the year.
Don’t equate banter to trash talk, the U.S. equivalent. It isn’t as harsh as that. Think of it as gentle fun, what the Irish call the “craic.”
The difference between the Euros and the U.S. was obvious recently when Tiger Woods (tigerwoods) began tweeting. Poulter, Westwood and McIlroy tried to bait him, poking fun at him in Twittersphere. Woods didn’t respond, even though Poulter begged him to join in the banter.
European banter comes from guys reared on flying to tournaments on the same airplanes, staying in the same hotels and taking shuttle buses back and forth to the golf course. Many Americans might find this shocking, but many of those Europeans probably shared rooms their first few years on tour.
You don’t have to have a Ph. D. in sociology to realize that the more people are in close proximity to each other in a common cause, the more it breeds a sense of community. It’s hard for the PGA Tour to breed a similar sense of community when players fly in from different cities, are probably spread out in different hotels around tournament venues, and travel back and forth alone in courtesy cars.
Former European Tour player turned TV commentator David Feherty tried the PGA Tour back in the 1990s. He quickly became disillusioned with golf in the U.S. when he went down to breakfast in his hotel in his first tournament to find no one there. He spent the first few months of his PGA Tour career phoning his pals on the European Tour for a little company.
Banter is part of the glue that holds the European Tour together. Just read the tweets posted by Poulter and company.