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The Ryder Cup – YGT’s favourite things about the biennial bout between the USA & Europe

By August 22, 2012December 3rd, 2014No Comments

ryder-cupSergio Garcia won on the PGA Tour earlier this week for the first time in four years and in doing so secured an automatic place on the Ryder Cup team. This reminded us at YGT that we now only have a few weeks to wait until golf’s greatest event kicks off at the Medinah Country Club in Chicago and to be honest…we can’t wait! Every golf fan loves the Ryder Cup and we are sure that each golfer has their own special reason for donig so. So what makes the Ryder Cup go great? We have asked around the YGT offices to find out some of the things that we at YGT love about the big match between Europe and the USA and what makes it so different from other professional golf events. Here are our favourite things about the biennial bout between the might of the USA and the Euro stars from this side of the pond.

It’s a two year process…

Unlike golf’s other high profile events, namely the four major championships, the Ryder Cup only comes around every 2 years, making it all the more special. Two years of tension is released over the course of three action packed days!

The Ryder Cup is matchplay golf at its best…

Unlike in strokeplay, running up a double bogey or worse is not too much of an issue in matchplay meaning the world’s best players will be taking dead aim at pins, launching drives into the stratosphere and being aggressive on the greens which makes for some exciting viewing!


 

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The Celtic Manor and the Twenty Ten Course hosted the last Ryder Cup where Europe edged the contest thanks to a great putt from McDowell and a flubbed chip from Mahan.


 

National Pride and Team Spirit over the Paycheque…

While the thought of playing for seven figure paycheques would be enough to get our attention, in the world of millionaire golfers something else is often required to really get their blood pumping and it seems that nothing quite does the job like the idea of losing to their mortal enemies from the other side of the pond.

The crowds…

Unlike the crowds at your bog standard PGA or European tour event, Ryder Cup fans get truly immersed in the event, often chanting, dressing up and sometimes even heckling the opposition. While this sort of behaviour is usually frowned upon on the golf course, it is all usually in good spirits and part of the fun and excitement of the Ryder Cup. Look out for Cuban cigars a la Miguel Angel Jimenez, curly afro wigs a la Rors and a few walking monuments to the star spangled banner.


 

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The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island staged the Ryder Cup in 1991; a contest that was infamously dubbed “The War on the Shore”.


 

The Celebrations…

Speaking of people getting immersed in the spirit of the occasion, from time to time the players do as well. On tour you might see the odd fist pump after a monster putt drops or a silly dance after an unknown wins a major championship – see Rich Beem – but celebrations are often muted…after all golf is a gentleman’s game don’t you know?! At the Ryder Cup though, the aforementioned team spirit and national pride can sometimes get the better of the players when things dramatically turn in their favour. From moments of joy like Jose Maria Olazabal’s rendition of the Salsa and Paul McGinley’s swan dive into the lake at The Belfry to moments of madness like Boo Weekly’s driver rodeo at Valhalla and Team USA’s green storming antics at Brookline, the Ryder Cup sparks scenes of emotion like no other golf tournament can. Although from time to time scenes can be less than cordial, you never know what is around the corner when the USA and Europe square off!


 

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The Brabazon Course at The Belfry has hosted the Ryder Cup on four occassions; more than any other course.


 

Sportsmanship…

Ok so sometimes gamesmanship and downright disrespect can creep their way inside the ropes but they will always be outweighed by the acts of sportsmanship that have been seen throughout Ryder Cup history, the most famous of which is of course Nicklaus’s concession of a 3 foot Tony Jacklin putt that meant the 1969 Ryder Cup ended in a draw. Ok so as the holders team USA retained the cup but Nicklaus’s act of sportsmanship is now a thing of legend…after all, how many of us would do such a thing while stuck in the metaphorical headlights of the point that wins the Ryder Cup for your team?

Come from behind wins…

Ok so you might call these chokes but we at YGT prefer to put a positive spin on things! While earlier we intimated that players might go for shots that they usually wouldn’t in a strokeplay tournament, everything changes when it comes to crunch time and the Sunday singles! Some players flourish under the pressure of playing for their team and nation while others melt in the Ryder Cup pressure cooker. From team USA’s Sunday charge, coming from 10-6 down on the final day to win the cup in 1999, to Mark Calcavecchia’s capitulation against Monty in 1991 and “that putt” from Bernhard Langer in the same year, the Ryder Cup has produced moments of real heroism and, for the glass is half empty crowd, a whole series of chokes as well!


 

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The PGA National Resort welcomed the Ryder Cup to town in 1983.


 

The Dreaded Boo Hoos…

As we have suggested already, the Ryder Cup produces more excitement, drama and tension than any other golf tournament and as such it also has the capacity to reduce fully grown men to tears with the flick of a putter and the swish of a driver. From Hunter Mahan’s chip-flubbing-induced-blubbing at the Celtic Manor in 2010 to Darren Clarke’s raw display of emotion following his heroics at the K Club in the wake if his wife’s passing just months before, the Ryder Cup can get the waterworks going for a number of different reasons.

The Courses…

Ok so we admit that the players are the real stars of the Ryder Cup show but it wouldn’t be such a spectacle if the match was played out over some shoddy municipal now would it? From The Brabazon at The Belfry, the Twenty Ten at Celtic Manor and Valderrama in Europe to the Kiawah Island Ocean Course, PGA National Resort and Pinehurst in America, Ryder Cup courses provide the stage for the world’s best golfers to strut their stuff for the adoring fans.


 

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The K Club was the scene of the 2006 Ryder Cup and Darren Clarke’s poignant display of emotion after winning all three of his matches…what a hero!


 

The falling outs…

As you may well imagine, when the world’s best and most competitive golfers go head to head in the Ryder Cup tempers can flare and verbal barbs can be fired this way and that throughout the course of the week. This all adds to the tension which is entertaining for us fans and we are sure when all is said and done all the players bury the hatchet, shake hands and head back to their respective tours full or admiration for one another…after all Samuel Ryder, the man behind the Ryder Cup once said, “I trust that the effect of this match will be to influence a cordial, friendly and peaceful feeling throughout the whole civilized world…I look upon the Royal and Ancient game as being a powerful force that influences the best things in humanity.”

Noble as old Samuel’s ideals were, some of matches Ryder Cup history would suggest that was a load of old cobblers!


 

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Valderrama hosted the Ryder Cup in 1997 where the late great Seve Ballesteros captained the Europeans to a famous win.


 

Seve and Paul Azinger squared off in the Ryder Cup having accused each other of cheating the previous year – Seve won of course – and then there are quotes from players that suggest a more prickly atmosphere is present at the Ryder Cup than the one imagined by Samuel Ryder. From Scott Hoch saying that “Nick Faldo is as much fun as Sadam Hussein” and David Duvall’s rousing battle cry of “Let’s go kill them!” before the 1999 singles to Sandy Lyle suggesting that “We’re going to have to start giving the American’s handicap strokes because this is getting boring!”, it is clear that from time to time the teams lack a little bit of respect for each other!


 

ryder-cup-pinehurst

Pinehurst, one of America’s great golfing venues, hosted the Ryder Cup way back in 1951. In those days the USA competed against a team from Great Britain and Ireland and more often than not the matches were a walk over for team USA…after recent European dominance we wonder if Jack Nicklaus regrets suggesting the format be changed to include players from all across Europe!?


 

Whatever makes the Ryder Cup special to you will surely have you tuning into the action from Medinah at the end of September and if you want to be part of the magic then check out our Ryder Cup Holiday packages…now with 25% off! Either that book your next golf break to coincide with the Ryder Cup so that you can watch all the action in the golfing hotspot of the Algarve with our Vilamoura Fore packages.


 

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Rory

Rory

The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen! www.yourgolftravel.com/ygt-rory

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