Regardless of your country of origin and side you were rooting for, the Ryder Cup was one of the most exciting and competitive events that has ever been on live television. The United States defeated Team Europe, 17-11, in the biennial golf tournament that pits the best U.S. golfers against the best from Europe. The six point victory is the largest for the U.S. since 1981, as the U.S. was able to win the single matches by a three point margin.
This tournament turned into a spectacle as it had Mutombo finger waves, f-bombs, silencing the crowd and players turning into Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan, taunting wise. The amount of passion and pride in representing each country resulted in unbelievable golf and unbelievable television as many clips became internet sensations.
Team Europe came into the 2016 tournament and won six of the last seven and the last three, including coming back from a sizable deficit on the final day of the tournament in 2014. This tournament features four fourball matches, four foursomes matches and individual matches played on Sunday. Going into Sunday, the U.S. had a 9.5 to 6.5 lead as the U.S. need 14.5 points to win the cup and team Europe needed just 14 points to retain the cup. In match play, there are 12 points up for grabs, and as the European comeback in 2014 titled the Miracle at Medinah showed, anything can happen and the U.S. lead was anything but safe.
European captain Darren Clarke set the tempo on Sunday early as he sent out some of his best players in the early matches, as they won three of the first four. The first match of the day was undoubtedly the best as it featured perhaps the best player in the world, Rory Mcilroy for Europe, and unknown to most Patrick Reed for the U.S. Their match turned into a UFC pay-per-view showdown on steroids and was one of the most entertaining spectacles to watch.
Mcilroy, who some see as the next golfer to take over the game, came into Sunday red hot, as he eagled the final hole on Saturday and bowed to the American crowd afterwards. The American fans in this tournament were testy to say the least, as the tournament was held in Minnesota and the U.S. fans showed up in full force. From American hats, jumpsuits, Abraham Lincoln costumes and heckling, team Europe had a tough time blocking them out and was put at a slight disadvantage. The fans and the greatness of play culminated in the Reed and Mcilroy showdown as it turned into one for the ages.
It started on hole one as Reed bowed after making his putt, imitating Mcilroy’s dance from the night before. This did not phase Europe’s best as he went up one stroke through the first four holes, and then birdied five, six, seven and eight, but he lost ground to Reed. The young American eagled five, to square up the match and was matching him shot for shot. Hole eight will go down as one of the best holes in Ryder Cup history as Mcilroy sunk a 40-footer for a birdie and started screaming, cursing and running around yelling at the pro-American crowd, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!”
Reed answered with a 25-footer, immediately turned to Rory and finger waving, no-no-no. He proceeded to pick up his ball and celebrate by throwing his arms and putter in the air in yelling. Following this the two were laughing, fist bumped and moved towards the next hole. Reed won the match by a stroke and set the tone for the rest of the day, as it was Team America’s course and their turn to win.
The tournament became a mix of Happy Gilmore antics but in a competitive and fun-spirited way as the golfers showed that in an individual sport there is a way to be competitive while still maintaining respect. Hopefully this tournament will spark a movement in golf for more crowds and more moments just like this, as it turned players like Reed from a good golfer to Captain America and a player who will go down in Ryder Cup history.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn volleyball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.