What an incredible weekend! I had the great fortune of covering the 2012 Ryder Cup, which was one of the most electric sporting events I've ever been around.
Starting with practice rounds and the first ever Celebrity Scramble on Tuesday, the week evolved into a best-case scenario for golf. With the Cubs and White Sox being bad, the Bears not playing until Monday night and the Blackhawks being locked-out (WTF!), Chicago desperately needed something to grab our collective sports attention. And the Ryder Cup did precisely that.
Whether it was Michael Phelps walking the course, Justin Timberlake serving as a master of ceremonies, or Michael Jordan sitting next to a former President of the United States behind a tee box, the Famous Fan Factor was as good as it can get. Among the gallery were also Bulls' GM Gar Forman (seen in the Northern Trust chalet on Sunday), ESPN's Rick Reilly, a number of local Chicago media as well as a handful of basketball and hockey players.
But the average fan, who came for just a day, got their money's worth.
One moment that caught my attention was in the sky on Sunday. A skywriting plane wrote Europe-centric messages during the weekend, and included #GoEurope on Sunday. If there was ever a sign of how much Twitter now dominates the social conversation, it's a hashtag being included in a message written among the clouds.
At the end of the weekend, though, it was the European team making history. They matched the largest comeback in Ryder Cup history, quickly erasing a the 10-6 deficit they faced entering singles play. Most of the matches were filled with great shots and fantastic drama, and there were thousands of fans waiting for the final moments to unfold behind the 18th green stands.
Reports from NBC on Monday morning are that television ratings were also up... big time. According to the network's twitter account, overnight ratings for Ryder Cup coverage were up 71% from two years ago, and were the highest for the events since the last time a team made up a four-point hole on Sunday (1999).
Overall, the weekend was a smashing success. Chicago could not have been more perfectly represented to the world as an elite venue for major professional events, and fans in attendance left Medinah with nothing but compliments for the club.