Lincicome: In honor of Ryder, other Cups Team USA needs to reclaim

Word arrives that folks are going crazy in Rome, and having been there myself I must say that I am not surprised. What is surprising is that the craziness is about golf.

You remember golf, the game with sticks and balls and one glove, not to be mistaken for baseball which carries on with much the same equipment but in a smaller park. Golf, in fact, passed by here twice over the summer, barely noticed, as has been baseball come to that.

Edging into autumn we find this little international weekend centered around the silliest of games, Mark Twain's good walk spoiled, or as Paul Gallico concluded, if there is any larceny in a man, golf will bring it out.

The guy who may or may not have started it, one Samuel Ryder, the dude after whom the cup is named at any rate, was so enthralled with golf that he had his five iron buried with him. Really, the only sensible thing to do with golf clubs.

The United States used to yawn and look at its watch during this thing, while foreigners showed the world how to lose, politely, gratefully and time after time.

And then, when none of us were paying attention, the Ryder Cup fell into foreign hands, and it has stayed there pretty much, without great outcry, an affront to our national honor and a violation of some constitutional amendment or other.

Like the America's Cup, another piece of obscure hardware which no one knew we had until we lost it, I began to wonder how many other sporting insults have been hurled at our sacred character without us knowing, and how they might be redeemed. Here is only a partial list:

•The Ink Blot Cup - An international competition for the most artistic tattoos. Last year's winner was a New Zealander who sketched a rugby player's back to look exactly like Picasso's "Guernica." An expected big seller at this year's competition is a depiction of Taylor Swift doing whatever it is that Taylor Swift does.

• The Caribbean Sea Cup - Lost to Cuba every year since 1959 by a group of semipro softballers from Alabama who, desperate to even things up, hired a ringer at shortstop named Bubba Suarez only to discover he was not a player at all but a Georgia handwrapped cigar.

•The Hocker Cup - This is a triennial seed-spitting competition contested with Australia for distance and size. The cup was lost last time on a winning spit by Bruce "Jaws" Logan of Perth over American protests that what came out of his mouth was not a pecan but an oyster. Highly coveted is an individual prize for the best Ptooie.

• The Darned Right Reverend Jerry Jeff Pew Cup - For the best international pregame prayers. Last year's winner was the Bulgarian weightlifting team, stunningly delivered in a soft soprano.

• The Lowrise Condo Cup - A shuffleboard prize donated by retired masseur Axel Larsen, the East Islip Sultan of Shove. It is held on Longboat Key, Fla., semiannually, or after Axel finishes parallel parking his Escalade, whichever comes first.

• The Albacore Cup - Given for spearfishing or, as the competitors amusingly call it, underwater javelin throwing. This is a pan-Scandinavian contest that grew out of the reluctance of Americans to eat any of the food on a Norwegian cruise.

• The Amarillo/Lubbock Cup - For horse racing. This quadrennial competition spread around the world from Texas after real men proved themselves by carrying the horse around the track. Embarrassingly the cup was lost last year to the French, who impressed judges by curling their horses' tails.

• The Belly Up Cup - For canoe tipping. Won every year but one by a Polynesian (the lone exception was a Waukegan wilderness outfitter) though technically, there is never a defending champion because the winner must drown.

• The We Don't Need No Stinkin' Helmet Cup - This is the proposed biannual trophy for a true world football champion, combining soccer, the NFL and Australian Rules into one game, the winner getting the exclusive rights to the name "football" for two years. Actually, it is not a cup at all but Bill Belichick himself, who will sit in the winner's trophy case and sing, "I'm a Little Teapot."

So go, USA.

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