I loved the game of golf growing up, it was a sport that my dad taught me how to play and that I ended up being pretty good at. Working at a country club gave me the opportunity to play and improve, even though the season was limited by the harsh winters of Buffalo, NY.
To some, golf is considered a snob sport reserved mostly for country clubbers and watching golf on television something akin to “watching paint dry.” But I offer these the Ryder Cup.
The Ryder Cup is an event that happens every other year between professional male golfers from the USA against professional male golfers from Europe. It’s golf’s only real team event for professionals, and despite the enormous amounts of cash these guys make every year, this event offers no money. Instead men play for pride, for country, for each other, and for a little trophy donated years ago by an English businessman named Samuel Ryder.
But still, it’s golf right?
Not exactly. This year the Ryder Cup was held on US soil, in 2 years it’ll be back in Europe; so you have to capitalize on your home course advantage. Anyone who watched the event over the past 3 days saw something much more than golf. They saw 50,000+ fans assembled each day, screaming passionately for their team. They saw normally stoic players who rarely show emotion acting like college football teammates. They saw finger pointing, in your face taunts, chest bumping, high fives and low fives; from not just the fans but the players!
These are the guys who barely crack a smile even when collecting their $300,000 weekly prize; for FOURTH place.
Now I’m not dogging the golfers because in large, golf can still seem a rather snobby sport with lots of rules; not only governing play, but course etiquette for golfers and spectators. Thank God the Ryder Cup tosses much of that aside every other year.
There’s one undeniable result from a purists point of view, the quality of golf is actually elevated to the incredible. Even non-golfers can look and say, that can’t be easy.
This is the one event when patron etiquette and the soft “golf clap” applause get tossed out the window.
Emotion, tears, joy…..