1) The Ryder Cup shouldn't turn into a "Seinfeld" episode.
2) The U.S. team shouldn't have to borrow rain gear from a sportswriter.
The first happened Friday and the second still might thanks to Corey Pavin. One of the captain's duties is choosing the team's attire. Pavin apparently thought he was in charge of the U.S. scuba diving team.
The boys showed up in rain gear that was literally all wet. After an hour in the Welsh monsoon, the U.S. team was sinking fast.
Then it got the biggest break in Ryder Cup weather history. Play was suspended, which allowed PGA officials to scurry over to the merchandise tent.
"They were grabbing everything," James said.
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He and a guy named Ashley are sales clerks at the ProQuip booth. By the time I got there to see what was happening, there was only one rain jacket left. I tried it on and let me tell you, it was worth the 129 pounds on the price tag.
That's about $205. A little steep, but what's a Ryder Cup worth?
Whatever it is, Pavin almost cost his team a chance at it. He and his wife, Lisa, have spent two years meticulously planning for the trip to Celtic Manor. Lisa is so involved she's proclaimed herself "The Captainess."
They've micromanaged everything down to what flavor of scented soap is in Stewart Cink's foot bath.
They couldn't make sure the rain gear actually repels rain?
This was the worst uniform faux pas since George Costanza was named assistant to the traveling secretary for the New York Yankees. In a classic "Seinfeld," he talked the manager into switching from polyester to cotton uniforms because they'd be cooler. It was great until the uniforms were washed and developed a bad case of shrinkage.
"They're running like penguins!" the announcer said.
"Oh my God, Mattingly just split his pants!"
Pavin should feel as if he split his in front of a worldwide TV audience.
"My suit was fine, but I wasn't playing," he said. "They just didn't perform the way they were supposed to perform, so we just went out and brought some more. Simple as that."
Not quite. You don't have to be a Ryder Cupper to know it's hard to play golf when you're wearing 20 pounds of water. The U.S. players weren't made available for interviews after play, but they were laughing at the rain suits before the skies even opened.
The outfits were navy blue with white stripes around the arms and left leg. As goofy as that was, the player's last name was stitched on the back. Players joked that they hadn't worn anything like that since pee-wee football.
Maybe Pavin wanted the Euros to be laughing so hard they couldn't swing. If so, it didn't exactly work. Play began and Colin Montgomerie's lads raced ahead. They didn't seem the least bit bothered by the chilly wind and steady rain.
Then there were our guys.
"They went with the American company," James said.
That would be Sun Mountain, a Montana-based manufacturer with a pretty good reputation. Whatever happened with the special order for Pavin, my advice is dump any Sun Mountain stock you may own.
Invest in ProQuip, which has been outfitting the European team for years. The U.S. players knew that they wanted something that worked, so a couple of PGA officials went on an emergency mission to the merchandise tent.
It was like the Saints showing up at last year's Super Bowl, discovering their helmets didn't fit and having to get to the nearest sporting goods store at kickoff. The PGA reps bought every red and blue jacket in stock, about 25 in all. Throw in about 50 pairs of rain pants, and the total bill was about $7,000.
"They worked out some sort of discount," James said.
He didn't offer me one, probably because he knew the lone remaining jacket might be a collector's item. Who knew you could own the exact gear Tiger Woods is playing in? Not only that, you could fall into the Loch Ness and come out bone dry in this thing.
"It has a three-year waterproof warranty," Ashley said.
Maybe that comforting thought is what led to America's afternoon comeback. After the early-morning slog that left Europe ahead 3-1, the U.S. came back to lead two matches and be tied in another.
It was dry, and so were the players.
Unlike the Europeans, Americans aren't mudders. We don't grow up playing in fog, wind and rain. And gee, who figured it might be yucky in Wales this time of year?
That's why not feeling like a drowned cat is important while standing over a 5-iron. At least you'd think it'd be important enough for Pavin to make sure the stuff worked. Maybe Lisa was busy picking out stitching for those cute names on the back of the uniforms.
"They absorb too much water, which means they are too heavy," a source inside the European camp told the London Guardian. "The American caddies have been complaining about them all week and so have the players."
The weather was nice enough that the players didn't have to wear rain gear in the afternoon. The forecast for the weekend is iffy, however. But at least the PGA had Friday night to find a couple of more ProQuip rain suits somewhere in Wales.
"Maybe now they'll catch up to Europe," James said. "But they're not going to win."
All I know is I'm going to be nice and warm and dry. And if Pavin says it's my patriotic duty to give up my jacket, I'll tell him to change the name on the back of his.
"Costanza" seems appropriate.