REFLECTIONS ON THE RYDER CUP

The recently completed Ryder Cup competition between the USA and Europe in France had me watching, but not like you may think. I did watch the start of the final day singles matches which would suggest that I am a big fan. Actually I just happened to be awake at 6:00 A.M. thanks to a lifetime of rising at that hour. I turned on the TV out of habit and no I did not set an alarm so I could be assured of not missing any action.

You see I find the Ryder Cup interesting, but I don’t sit in my red, white and blue apparel waving a flag and rooting for a U.S. win that has to come for the event to be successful. I enjoy watching the best golfers in the world go head to head in a competition that means so much to the players and to most golf fans. I don’t however look simply for an American victory and I guess that makes me different.

When Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy traded great shot for great shot a couple of years ago, it was riveting. Who won the match was less important to me than just enjoying the drama. For me this year’s Ryder Cup produced three takeaway moments, two of which came seconds apart. If this makes me different, so be it.

Paul Casey and Brooks Koepka battled to a dramatic finish as Koepka got up and down from the bunker on #18 to gain a tie. When Casey left the green he was shown with U.S. coach Jim Furyk with arms around each other. Casey has played for several years on the American tour rather than the European tour, but played enough across the pond this year to regain his European membership primarily to play in the Ryder Cup. The show of sportsmanship captured the spirit of the competition for me.

Moments later a shot of European captain Thomas Bjorn hugging Koepka confirmed my thoughts. Koepka has played all over the world. Bjorn knew him and the respect was evident.

The last thing that got my attention was Jon Rahm. He missed a three foot putt on #16 that would have made his match with Tiger Woods dormie. On the next hole he made a similar putt to win the match and his emotions were evident. He clenched his fists again and again in complete euphoria and abruptly stopped.

He knew that he had to reign in his excitement and shake hands with one of the greats the game has ever known. He did just that and I was suitably impressed.

The view from my seat suggests that golf is still the gentlemen’s game it always has been. Despite the highly charged enthusiasm of both teams, good sportsmanship again won the day!

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