We're fast approaching the Ryder Cup Matches. On September 25-30 held at Medinah Country Club, some of the greatest golfers in the world will be competing for a chance to make their country proud. This is not a tournament about money or points. It's about prestige. It's about bragging rights. It's about love of country. No greater event will take place in all of golf on a global stage than the Ryder Cup Matches.
Individual play will be set aside for the good of the team in "The Matches". It won't be man against man, but one country coming together to defeat another country. And there is a whole bunch of pride involved when it comes down to that.
On the course in ordinary stroke play competition, these great players want to win the money and accumulate the points from the competition. We all do. But when country is involved, they want to show the world just how great they are. There's an all new level of excellence that comes around every two years in golf and it's call The Ryder Cup Matches, sure to delight the sportsman even if you're not a golfer. We all just watched the Olympic Games and saw the pride of country in those athletes. Should the Ryder Cup Matches be any different. I think not.
The United Sates and Europe will be sending only their best that golf has to offer. The U.S.A. will send players like Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and others. Europe will send players like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald. All competing to bring back to their respective countries the Ryder Cup.
During the course of the regular season in golf, players accumulate points and accrue money. Points during the course of the season too get into the Tour Championship, the money too feed their families. But "The Matches" are a whole different ballgame. Pride for your country is on the line and no one is willing to give an inch. The honor in playing for your country is brought to a whole new level of play.
During those six days the Ryder Cup is in swing (pun intended), golfers and non-golfers alike will watch with anticipation to see if their country will bring home the coveted Ryder Cup Trophy. Fans in their respective countries will sit around the television - the tele in Great Britain - and root for their respective country to win.
When these great players tee it up between the first tee markers. Or at the end of the tournament, standing over a 35 foot putt to win their match. They won't be thinking about money or points to get them into The Tour Championship. They will be thinking about their pride for their country. No one wants to be "that guy". They guy that blew the putt on the 18th hole to lose their match and handover the trophy to the opposing country. Not one of them wants to let their teammate down in that situation or their country.
In 1987 playing in his fifth consecutive Ryder Cup, I'd have to say Tom Kite summed it up best with this quote, "This has nothing to do with money. It's bigger than that. This is playing for Uncle Sam. And Sam expects a lot."
During a match we golfers have a saying, "let the cream rise to the top". In other words, let the best player shine. And just that is going to happen during this prestigious event. The best of the best will come through and rise to the occasion. I can only hope that it's Team U.S.A.