Ryder's a match never at a lossDon't it always seem to...


September 24, 1993|By RAY FRAGER

Ryder's a match never at a loss

Don't it always seem to go,

You don't know what you got till it's gone.

3' -- "Big Yellow Taxi," Joni Mitchell

I know you wanna leave me,

But I refuse to let you go.

"Ain't Too Proud to Beg,"

The Temptations

De do do do, de da da da,

That's all I have to say to you.

"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da," Police

Golf's Ryder Cup returns to television this weekend, beginning with nine hours of coverage today on USA Network (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) and then 10 1/2 on NBC (channels 2, 4) tomorrow (noon-6 p.m.) and Sunday (8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). NBC will have a seven-man announcing crew on hand at The Belfry in England, including one of TV golf's best analysts, Johnny Miller . . .

Oh, you were wondering about those song lyrics? Thanks for reminding me.

Those first two songs deal with loss, and, with the Ryder Cup, it seems no one was paying much attention to the cup matches until the United States lost to the Europeans eight years ago. (The third song doesn't have anything to do with loss, but it's got a good beat and it's easy to dance to. I'll give it an 85, Dick.)

In that way, the Ryder Cup parallels the interest in the America's Cup, which also suddenly became a big deal after the Australians swatched it away. Before, Ryder Cup might have evoked images of big, yellow trucks (sorry, Joni, not taxis) rolling down fairways. Now, however, viewers probably recognize that the biennial competition is golf's most compelling event on television outside of the majors, and, in fact, may be the most entertaining golf you'll see on TV all year.

"The nice thing is it's match play," said Miller, who was a member of the American Ryder Cup teams in 1975 and 1981, in the midst of a 28-year U.S. unbeaten streak. "It's the only head-to-head we see all year of any note."

The pressure of playing for a team, for a country -- something so foreign to the golfers' weekly stops at the Greater Hackensack Viacom-Paramount or Maybe QVC-Paramount Classic -- can result in some unusual golf from the world's greatest players.

"All of a sudden, you're answering back to 11 guys and your captain. You're responsible back to your team," Miller said. "The galleries get a little hostile. The players' emotions are a lot higher. No matter how you're doing, there's no escaping the pressure.

"You're seeing things you're not used to seeing [as the players respond emotionally]. . . . Even the Average Joe knows there's going to be choking.

"There are going to be far more unaccustomed shots. They might shank it. They might chunk it. They might top it. They

might hit it in the water."

Hey, they might do the hokey pokey and turn themselves around.

That's what it's all about.

"I'm not going to say I'm going to be neutral," Miller said, "but I'll try to be neutral.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing if we can turn the tide at The Belfry."

OK, so maybe he's not going to try that hard to be neutral.

Joining Mr. U.S.A. will be host Jim Lampley. Stationed out on the course will be Dan Hicks, Roger Maltbie, Mark McCumber, John Schroeder and Bob Trumpy.

The envelope, please

You had to love that Olympic announcement yesterday, with your co-hosts -- standing in for Regis and Kathie Lee -- some French guy and Donna de Varona. An orchestra played and a choir sang (I think the tune was called "Hey, Hey, Goodbye Beijing") members of the International Olympic Committee walked across the stage like the Miss America finalists in evening gown competition and IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch read the winner like he was giving the Emmy to "Seinfeld."

The Pat and John Show

No one employs the telestrator with more enthusiasm than CBS' John Madden. During Sunday's Eagles-Redskins game, Madden used the device with shots from the tailgate parties outside Veterans Stadium. Someone was roasting a whole pig, and Madden circled the hog's body and crossed out its head to HTC show which parts you were supposed to eat.

At another point in the telecast, Madden was going on about all the charts, wires and who knows what else that dangle from the belt of Redskins coach Richie Petitbon. Madden said Petitbon had so much stuff there, he would need a friend to change it around. Summerall said, "A very close friend."

Converted number

Earlier this month, it was noted here that Comcast's price for Home Team Sports in Baltimore County had fallen. But that didn't take into account the new monthly charge for a converter box, which subscribers need to receive HTS. So the cost actually went up slightly. . . . With Lampley in England, Marv Albert will be host of NBC's "NFL Live" Sunday. . . .

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