Spander: The City provides the ideal golf backdrop

Enjoy it, Tiger, and Y.E., and Geoff. This is your week in the city that knows how, the city that takes on recessions and earthquakes and never quits, a city which thinks like a golfer two-down at the 17th tee: How are we going to hang in there?

This is your week and our week, a week to appreciate talent and celebrate sportsmanship.

What a brilliant blending, an “only in San Francisco” mix, millionaire athletes playing their game on a public course, Harding Park, a facility open to all in a city which is never closed to any.

We love our golf. We love our sports. We love our diversity.

That The Presidents Cup matches, which start Thursday, involve players from America and Australia, Korea and South Africa, Canada and South America, and Japan and Fiji, couldn’t be more appropriate for a region with dozens of cultures.

A region brought to life by pioneers who crossed the mountains and sailed around Cape Horn, by Latinos whose ancestors followed Father Serra, by Asians who crossed the sea to build railroads.

It’s different here by the Bay, by the Pacific, different in Oakland and Berkeley, different in Marin and San Jose. We’ve been there, done that, but we never can get enough.

We’ve had teams win Rose Bowls and Super Bowls, had U.S. Opens at the Olympic Club, saw Ben Hogan stunned by Jack Fleck, the Washington Bullets stunned by the Warriors. We’ve had World Series, including the most infamous of them all, 20 years ago, when we were shaken physically, but never shaken symbolically.

Now it’s 20 years after the A’s-Giants World Series, the Earthquake Series, and The Presidents Cup, with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Y.E. Yang and Geoff Ogilvy, arguably is the biggest sporting attraction in the Bay Area since then, along with the ’02 World Series and the ’98 U.S. Open at Olympic.

The weather is spectacular. The scenery is great.

“A beautiful place,” said Ogilvy, the Aussie who won the 2006 U.S. Open. “Stunning. We should play on the West Coast more often.”

The celebrities are impressive — President Bill Clinton and Michael Jordan for a start. During the practice round Wednesday, caddies for the U.S. squad wore jerseys from the Giants’ road uniforms, the grays with “San Francisco” on the front.

Steve Williams, Tiger’s guy, had No. 24. Not a bad twosome, T. Woods and Willie Mays. We do know how to put on a show, if a subtle one.

We have our faults: San Andreas, Loma Prieta. We have our priorities — right down the middle, guys.

No matter who wins this Presidents Cup, there will be no losers. In San Francisco there never are, no matter the final score.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

 

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To see The Examiner's complete coverage of the Presidents Cup go to http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/presidentscup/
 

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