MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The first day of the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club is in the books. Golf fans came out by the tens of thousands to see one of the world’s greatest sporting events, an event that puts Minnesota in the spotlight.
“Great course, great shape and the fans have been incredible,” John Bowman of Nashville, Tennessee said.
The Ryder Cup puts Chaska and Minnesota on the global stage, a way to introduce a new audience to all the North Star state has to offer.
“We didn’t know Minnesota until we came for golf,” Anne Dyson of the U.K. said.
Owners quickly learned the host state is a special place.
“You guys are very friendly and put on a good show,” Thuc Tran of Omaha, Nebraska said.
“When you’re down on 7 then you get all those beautiful lakes and its lovely,” Dyson remarked.
“Fantastic, fantastic, even the weather has turned out for us,” Mike Wilcox of the U.K. said.
In between days at Hazeltine, fans are exploring Minnesota and have spent time around the Twin Cities.
“Last night we went to the casinos. They were very nice,” Erik Gross of Fort Worth, Texas said.
“We are going to a corn maze in Byron, Minnesota,” Therese Uhtke of Phoenix, Arizona said.
Hosts hope the goodwill built will extend well beyond the Ryder Cup.
“It gives recognition to people who, especially overseas, businesses that come here, businesses that want to do business with other businesses here in town,” Chaska City Administrator Matt Podhradsky said. “It just gives that exposure so that people recognize that the Twin Cities is a major metropolitan area and has the ability to really compete with the world.”
“We’ve never been to Minnesota so a chance to come somewhere different too big an opportunity to turn down,” Graham McKechnie of Scotland said. When asked, McKechnie said he’d absolutely come back.
By the numbers, the Ryder Cup is expected to have a $140 to $150 million dollar economic impact on the state. About 500 million people will watch world-wide.