2012 Ryder Cup – Umm yeah…Go America!

Sep 27, 2012 by

 

Important Disclaimer – The 2012 Ryder Cup will NOT have “replacement refs” to screw your team out of a win!

Are you one of those people cheering for Tiger Woods to win golf tournaments these days?  Personally, I root for just about any other human to win before him.  I haven’t liked the guy since shortly after he won his first or second major and naturally after his “ ’09 debacle ” we will call it, my dislike for Mr. Woods only increased.  We don’t need to waste our time discussing his on and off the course behavior, is out there for everyone to see.

So this Sunday when the USA and Europe are tied, it only makes perfect sense I will be one of the biggest Tiger Woods fans, right?  I cheer for Tiger Woods come any USA team event…America is my homeland!  The time has come for the 2012 Ryder Cup.  This is your friendly reminder; the Ryder Cup only comes once every two years and only once in every four years does it take place on American soil.

The Ryder Cup is not your typical Golf tournament.  There are teams, forcing the golfers to work together, but more importantly it’s the raucous crowds and their awesome home field advantage that make the Ryder Cup unique and special.  Seriously, golf is supposed to be the gentleman’s game; when someone misses a 4 foot par putt, you act sorry for them as you know the frustrations that come with the game.  BUT come this weekend, the predominately American crowd will boisterously cheer any European missed putt or errant drive – guilt free!  I wonder if it’s mandatory for the fans attending to down two Jaeger Bombs before entering the course to ensure they are ready to let the Europeans hear about their miscues?

Rucker Park is known as the street ball mecca for basketball, well then whatever golf course hosting the Ryder Cup every two years is the “street ball mecca golf-style.”  Medinah Country Club will be a-rockin this weekend, no doubt!  I legitimately cannot wait to cheer against the European’s and for my fellow countrymen from my couch…remember it only happens every two years.

Speaking of the couch, most everyone reading this article will probably be posted up on your coach for most of Saturday and Sunday watching college and NFL football; you don’t have any excuse not to mix in some intense golf between America and Europe.  My advice to you is to snag a bag of potato chips and suck down a few Blue Moon’s (with orange of course) or if you are really cool some Miller Lite, (sorry but that is the Wisconsin in me)…and watch your favorite football teams while cheering on talented khaki wearing fellow American golfers.

Often golf is criticized as an individual sport and I would have to agree with this notion, but this also a strong argument for watching the Ryder Cup.  This 3 day battle utilizes teamwork through the best ball and alternate shot formats.  It’s quite interesting to see professional golfers execute strategies knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s game.  Passionate golfers coming together for a team’s hopeful win is what the Ryder Cup is all about.

Sports memories can be epic and last a lifetime.  I will never forget watching Justin Leonard nail that 435 foot putt to win the 1999 Ryder Cup…wonder if Colin Montgomery is still crying that the American’s were out of line in their celebration?  That was exciting to watch and hopefully 2012 brings a moment we will remember for years to come.

I know you all have your favorite golfers and this weekend I sure hope they are American, but I have two personal favorites I will be rooting for.  When I was around 10 years old, I held out a Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear hat and a black sharpee to Steve Stricker who had just completed his final round at the GMO (Greater Milwaukee Open).  He was driving a golf cart past the hundreds of fans lined up to see him and somehow noticed me.  He motioned me to come jump into the golf cart with him.  On the run I jumped into the golf cart.  We drove another couple hundred yards as he signed my hat and talked to me.  That made my year back then to say the least.

During the mid 2000’s Strick absolutely lost his golf game, but his persistence and hard work (hitting golf balls outside in the Wisconsin winters) has obviously paid off as he is playing some of the best golf of his career and is an extremely important piece to help America win the Ryder Cup and bring it back to its rightful owner.  I heard that when Stricker comes back to the Edgerton, WI bars to have a drink with his hometown friends he is humble; just one of the guys.  Last week he was awarded the Payne Stewart Award, based on respect for the traditions of golf, charity and the golfer’s professional manner.  So come this weekend, go Steve Stricker and the rest of Team USA!

Back in 2010 I was also blessed to meet Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship.  My brother and I were about to leave when he noticed Phil slip into the player’s parking lot that was naturally blocked off.  My brother and I, along with a few others, sprinted to the little opening along while listening to the security cops yelling, “you cannot go back there!”  I was thinking to myself, “Oh yeah buddy, try and stop me from meeting my favorite golfer of all-time!”…so I turned on “the jets.”  Long story short I was not arrested but I did get to thank Phil Mickelson for everything he meant to the PGA Tour as this was the time his wife and mother were battling cancer.  The autographed lanyard currently hangs from my bedroom wall.  In a world loaded with prima donnas it’s awesome to know down to earth golfers such as Stricker and Mickelson exist.   Again, come this weekend, go Strick, Lefty and the rest of Team USA!

This past spring, I was discussing sports with my two cousins and the Ryder Cup came up.  My cousin Mike indicated my other cousin Matt cheered for Europe to win the Ryder Cup.  To be honest, I didn’t show too much reaction on the outside, but in my head I was thinking, “what in the world is wrong with my American born cousin?!”  A couple questions for my cousin Matt (who also helps run Old67):  1) When you go to the grocery store, do you pay with US dollars or Euros?  (well both are getting close to worthless…only kidding of course….I think…)  2) Do you have a President (albeit a crappy one) or do you have a Prime Minister or Queen?  Matt, from all of us American fans cheering for the good old US of A this weekend; we would like to extend an invitation to join us!

This Friday thru Sunday enjoy the battle!

To my high school golf coach who has weekend tickets…you dog you!…Have a blast!

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. jan ankerson

    Hi Alex…I am not a huge golf fan but your article has enticed me to turn into the Ryder Cup this weekend and cheer for the good ole USA! I enjoyed your description of Mr. Mikelson and Mr. Stricker. Humility is such a refreshing, unique and rare characteristic in our athlete’s today; it was nice to read a little about these wonderful qualities in some of your favorite golfers. Tiger Woods on the other hand….well, as my mother use to say, “if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” So I will say NOTHING. I am so happy to see you part of the Old 67 team. Love you sweetie…Aunt Jan

  2. Scott Gronholz

    Hey Alex……..loved the article, especially about Mick . Had a chance to see him at Whistling Straights. He’s bigger than life. GO USA!!!!

  3. the high school golf coach

    Alex,

    Well done my friend. When Strick sinks his putt to win it for the US, I will shed a tear of joy for us both.

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