As popular as the Ryder Cup is, the sad fact is I’ve never watched one before. The primary reason is the timing of the event – coming on the last weekend in September, Tracey and I have more often than not been celebrating our anniversary on a cruise ship or in some tropical place. This year, however, our debt being what it is, we’ve around and have both really gotten into the Ryder Cup. Golf wise, it’s the absolute balls to see guys who are ususally competing against each other paired up with and cheering on their various squads. It has been a joy to watch, and the quality of the golf (especially by the Americans) has been fantastic. Watching the final teams coming down the final holes in the gathering darkness on Saturday and shooting darts at the pins was truly exhilarating – you see how some embrace the pressure and excel (Ian Poulter, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner) and others just can’t seem to bring their games together (Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker).
There’s little question that the Americans have a youthful firepower (Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson) that Europe just doesn’t have. Although Nicolas Colsearts is a definite keeper, Europe has too many has-beens to match what America is bringing to the table. I mean, c’mon: Paul Lawrie? Peter Hanson? To watch the American young guns play with such verve and energy is truly a sight to behold.
One other thought: I really think you’re seeing before your very eyes why Tiger Woods’ road to beating Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors has just gotten measurably tougher, and I think he knows it. You watch Keegan and Bubba and Webb and Nicholas excelling under the pressure of a Ryder Cup and realize that, for them, the prospect of staring down a Tiger Woods in the last round of, say, a U.S. Open or The Masters isn’t that big a deal. These guys are eating pressure for a living – they love and actually (gasp!) embrace the opportunity to play on the biggest stage amongst the best players in the world; after the pressure of a Ryder Cup these guys aren’t going to be phased at all at the propect of playing – and beating – Tiger mano a mano come Sunday at a place like Augusta.
This Ryder Cup has been a true spectacle for the game; it’s the best playing the best and showing the very best of what golf can be. I can’t wait to see what Sunday brings.
The only thing that would make it better is to be watching the proceedings gathered around a big screen TV with my Goodboys friends and cold refrigerator filled with Sam Adams Octoberfests.