The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in golf. So when it comes to your backyard, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For the last week, golf fans had the chance to get up close to the biggest names and the best players in the game. It’s a tournament unlike any other as the individual aspect of the game is kicked to the curb for the team. Every decision that’s made in matches, every shot that’s played is for a much bigger picture.
The players and fans were both at their best, making for an incredible atmosphere all week at Hazeltine. Here are four highlights from the 41st Ryder Cup.
Fans Fill Hazeltine Daily
Golf fans had to be patient with only one way to get to Hazeltine National Golf Club, but it didn’t stop them from filling the golf course. Daily crowds were around 50,000 for practice rounds. That’s right, that many people gathered at Hazeltine to watch professionals practice and hit meaningless shots. By the weekend, crowds were well over that figure as the matches began.
Team USA was certainly fueled by the roaring golf fans. The Americans had a three-point lead heading into Sunday and never gave it up, winning 17-11 when they only needed 14.5 points to win the Ryder Cup. USA fans left Sunday with an experience they will never forget.
Fans Show Off Pride With Crazy Outfits
If you attended the Ryder Cup and you didn’t have a crazy outfit, you were in the minority. The Ryder Cup allows fans of the game to dress up in their most creative and patriotic uniforms to cheer on their favorite players. Many sported American flags or had suits in the red, white and blue. European fans did their part as well.
The combination of colors made it feel like a World Cup soccer or college football atmosphere. The outfits were interesting, and the party was on.
McIlroy/Reed Match One For The History Books
It will go down as one of the best matches in the history of the Ryder Cup. Patrick Reed and Rory McIlory led off Sunday’s singles matches. Reed was a name largely unknown until this week, while McIlroy is one of the best golfers in the world. The two went toe-to-toe on the front nine like it was a heavyweight boxing match. Reed would make a big putt, McIlroy would answer and hush him.
One No. 8, McIlory drained a 50-footer for birdie, screamed and put his hands by his ears saying, “I can’t hear you” to the fans. Reed answered, making a long putt from the fringe. He looked right at McIlroy and give him the finger wave, saying “No, you’re not winning this hole.” Both players cooled off a bit on the back nine, but Reed won the match 1-up.
Ryan Moore Earns Clinching Point For USA
It couldn’t sum up the team aspect of the Ryder Cup more. Ryan Moore was the 12th and final choice for Team USA by captain Davis Love III. But when Moore defeated Lee Westwood 1-up Sunday, it was the clinching point to win the Ryder Cup. They had 14 points at the time and needed 14.5 to win. Moore was two down with three to play before making the comeback. For the week, Moore earned 2.5 points.
Not bad for a guy who had to scramble early in the week just to get fitted properly for his daily outfits.
Hundreds of thousands of fans hit Hazeltine for one of golf’s biggest events. Most had the same takeaway when it was over: Joy and pride for an American victory, and experience they’ll remember the rest of their lives. It’s what golf is all about.