There is no event in curling I loathe more than the WFG Continental Cup.
To tell you why, I’m sure I could just pop up a column fromlast year. Or the year before. Or the year before. But in my opinion, it’s really just a bad event drastically in need of a makeover.
Some of that got done this year when the formerly convoluted point system was changed (It still isn’t as good as it could be), but the event is still lacking.
But rather than drag out the old arguments I’ve made – such as adding a double-team competition and why mixed doubles is silly – here are three reasons why this is nothing like golf’s Ryder Cup that the WCF and CCA like to use for comparison.
The sides are too friendly: At the Ryder Cup, while the players on each side respect each other and are pals, there is still a lot of animosity towards each other. There are golfers who want to beat the brains in of players on the other side and that can be felt during the event. At the Continental Cup, there is nothing like that, at least not in any way you can sense. It seems like a big fun mixed bonspiel. Sure that’s curling, all friendly and such, but I’d rather have those days when Eddie Werenich was threatening to jam a curling broom up that rear end of the Hasselborgs. Or when David Smith was calling Kevin Martin a cheater. OK maybe you don’t have to go that far but I don’t even sense that anyone really cares about this event, that there are any bragging rights involved here. It’s not like Eve Muirhead tells Jennifer Jones, “Ya but remember we kicked your arse at the Continental Cup.” And I’d be willing to wager that a month from now if you asked the average curling fan who won the Continental Cup, he or she wouldn’t have a clue. You don't want these players hating each other -- that's not curling. But you do want something more than curl and giggle, something that shows the desire to win.
Annual vs. Biennial: Having the Continental Cup every year wears it out. No one really looks forward to it since it’s just another event, nothing special. The Ryder Cup is held every other year and that year off helps it build momentum and makes it special.
Scoring: At the Ryder Cup, you don’t get points for winning a hole or a nine. At the Continental Cup you get points for winning individual skins. That’s silly isn’t it? I mean you either beat the other team or you don’t. You shouldn’t be able to earn points and lose the overall game. Worse, you could actually clinch the overall competition in the middle of a game.