The 39th Ryder Cup matches are set to get underway Friday morning, at Medinah Country Club, just outside of Chicago, IL.
The Ryder Cup is, arguably, the most entertaining event golf has to offer. It is different than every other tournament in the fact that format is team golf. The players have partners and they play two partners from the other side in a series of head-to-head matches. On Sunday, they play one-on-one singles matches that will decide the outcome.
Over the years, there has been controversy, trash talk, heckling crowds, bad blood, booing, excessive celebration, and other things you don’t usually see while watching a golf tournament. In a way, it is more like golf’s Super Bowl.
And the two teams that play: The United States and Europe.
The teams have coaches, Davis Love III for the U.S. and Jose Maria Olazabal for Europe, who play a huge role in determining the outcome. The fans sing patriotic songs and chant for their players. The players play with a fire and determination that you cannot find elsewhere.
The Ryder Cup isn’t about winning a trophy, a jacket, or a $10 million bonus. Winning is priceless. It’s about pride, patriotism, and bragging rights for their homeland. For one time, golf fans have a team to root for and a good reason to cheer for those newfound favorite golfers.
Which side are you on?
Friday morning’s four alternate shot matches have been set with:
Europeans Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell versus Americans Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, then Europeans Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia versus Americans Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, then Europeans Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari versus Americans Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, and finally Europeans Ian Poulter and Justin Rose versus Americans Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
Those not playing in the morning matches for the United States are Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, and Matt Kuchar. On the European side Martin Kaymer, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie, and Nicolas Colsaerts will also sit out the morning matches.
The four morning matches are followed in the afternoon by four four-ball (best ball) matches. The captains have until Friday morning to submit their pairings.
Joe Fries is a sports writer and golf pro living in Indiana. You can follow him on Twitter @The7thFreezer.
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