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Golf Australia Express : Issue 19
THEPRESIDENT’S Cup. The Presidents Cup. At a glance they look almost identical, and were it not for a smudge of ink just before the ‘s’ they would be. However, that little smudge makes a world of difference—like a blade of grass that holds a putt back and decides a Big Match, an apostrophe—or the lack thereof—says more than its size might suggest. What’s in a name? What’s in an apostrophe is more the question. To use an apostrophe in the title of this tournament is to imply belonging—it’s a possessive apostrophe, and so would suggest that the Cup belongs to or descends from a President, and given that the game is pretty much America vs all-of-the-world-but-not- Europe, it is a safe bet most people would assume some kind of relationship with the Oval Office. The absence of such a grammatical fine point would direct the informed observer in a completely different direction. A tournament called the Presidents Cup would seem to be played by presidents, if we were going to be straightforward about it. But there are very few things in this tangly world of ours that are straightforward. In order to overcome the confusion, PGA- HQ wrote the name in particularly squiggly writing, making it extremely difficult to discern the presence or absence of any aforementioned possessive punctuation marks. Now I am just as aware as all of you that the tournament thrashed out at Royal Melbourne a couple of weeks ago was not played between burnt out and over-protected ex-heads of state, but the question remains. Why the Presidents Cup? Juliet’s great question may have found an answer of sorts here— because the idea of a President conveys gravitas. And gravitas is a poor man’s tradition —and God knows we love a bit of tradition. The thing is, when they started this comp only 18 years ago, tradition was something hard to come by (unlike the Cup’s older brother, Ryder, which has so much tradition they sleep in the stuff, the new kid on the block had to start from scratch). And tradition, traditionally, takes time to bed down. The Presidents Cup has nothing to do with presidents and more to do with giving everyone outside of Europe a chance to get beaten by the Yanks, which they did. But we’ll always have Royal Melbourne, and you don’t need an apostrophe to lay possession on that one. You just need to be born here. OTG PRESIDENTS, PRESIDENT’S OR PRESIDENTS’ CUP? THE DIFFERENCES CAN BE BOTH SUBTLE AND PROFOUND. WILL HONE GIVES US A LITTLE ENGLISH LESSON IN GOLF. APOSTROPHE CATASTROPHE with Will Hone IN HONING