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Oct 1st, 2016

How to become the heroes of Hazeltine

Dare to believe

It's the final day of the Ryder Cup. Europe trail by 3 points going in to the singles. It'll be a Herculean effort to win at Hazeltine, but the boys can do it. And if they need any inspiration, the Miracle at Medinah is proof that we can do this, and spank the yanks on their home soil. So to stir you loins, to get your gander up, and to remind you to believe we can do this. Watch Olly take you through how we fought back against seemingly insurmountable odds in the greatest sporting comeback of all time. COME ON EUROPE!!!



Now you've watched the highlights, read what it was like from the GolfPunk's that were there...


Even now this all seems like a dream, a blur, an apocryphal tale. But it happened. And we were there, representing both sides of a complicated and utterly dramatic story... And here it is, from both sides...


Sitting at Huxley's bar Heathrow terminal 5 waiting for my flight to Chicago for the the 2012 Ryder cup. At the bar is a group of 40 something Englishman excitedly discussing the Ryder Cup.

They, too, are on their way into the bear pit that will be Medinah. Everyone agrees that Chicago is a 'sports town' and the atmosphere will be electric for the Americans and daunting for the Europeans. What we mean by this is that the atmosphere will be as intimidating as the European team has ever experienced.

And by 'intimidating' we mean unpleasant. Having lost the last RC at Celtic Manor, the Americans are not going to let a single missed European putt go without an industrial dose of 'mashed potato' (how the hell did that get popular?) or 'don't get in the hole'.

The majority of the European team have been here before and triumphed. I remember back in 2004 in Detroit, Team Europe were ahead from start to finish and yet, the thing I remember most is the noise on singles day.

Buoyed by a history of strong finishes from their team and fuelled by an embarrassingly frustrating couple of days for the home team, the American fans were primed for a do-or-die Sunday. They jumped on absolutely everything as the singles unfolded.

Europe went into the final day with a comfortable lead but for the first couple of hours of that Sunday morning it was uncomfortable listening for European ears. Exulted cheers greeted US birdies and pockets of chanting erupted from various corners of the golf course getting louder and louder and louder: USA, USA, USA!!

I remember feeling quite nauseous during those early exchanges as the Americans attempted to chase down the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history, better even than Brookline in 1999, when Europe squandered a 10-6 lead on the final day, and the golf hooligan was born following Justin Leonard's  incredible putt against Olly. USA! USA!

It was then that I felt the sheer weight of wild American patriotism. Despite us all being diplomatic and political friends and enjoying a special relationship, there was no mistaking the sense of absolute conflict.

We were in their way, in their back yard and had to be destroyed. Fortunately, Sergio and Westwood wrestled back control of the early deficits and an eery quiet descended Oakland Hills.

As Europe re-established their ascendancy, the vast army of chino shorts and polo shirts began heading for the exits. It was like that scene in Midnight Express  when Billy Hayes decides to walk against 'the wheel' - one man going one way through several thousand people going the other, enveloped by a sea of disgusted Americans. 

Anyway i'm not sure where i'm going with all this and my flight's about to leave so I better knock this on the head for a bit. Can't wait to get there. I wonder what my American cohort Taylor is doing? Chanting USA probably. Over to you Duderino...



How our Taylor saw the Ryder Cup, 

Chicago, The Windy City! What a great place to host Ryder Cup. Or even in general. The famous Sears Tower, the deep pan pizza, home of Oprah, birthplace of Playboy and, of course, a massive, massive sports town. Wherever you yell 'Da Bears' you'll find a friend, and it's home of the Cubs and where Michael Jordan made his fame and fortune at the Chicago Bulls. But the most important thing about enjoying Chicago and enjoying your time there, is when you and your friends are scarfing down giant, delicious, famous Chicago polish sausages, is to not CHOKE!!! 

Taylor at Medinah with pals including Lindsey Vonn!

Let me tell you about my Saturday. Mid-afternoon, after a lot of whooping and hollering, I decided to chill out with a few beers and hot dogs and enjoy this pounding the US were handing out to the Europeans. The balance has been tipped in recent history and we wanted to make amends. It was clear from the yells, fist pumps and red US faces, that the players felt this way too. The energy and confidence buzzing around the place could have lit up the Cubs stadium for a year. And that was just the wives! 

Enter Ian-%*&@£-Poulter. A four-handicap golf pro from Milton Keynes, and his magical, devastating putter. Seriously?! Milton Keynes sounds like one of those Romantic poets addicted to Opium and Greek love. And yet it spews out this guy, who turns the Ryder Cup around on the strength of his heart, belief and confidence???! They don't even make stuff like this up at Disney! 

Seriously, this guy knows everyone

Thinking on it, the Ryder Cup, was not won on bad shots or technical glitches. It was won by pure emotion. The best golf comes from not technical thoughts, but feelings, emotions we hold inside, and Ian Poulter, scuse me SIR Ian Poulter, is a God among men. There's no point being bitterly patriotic about it. If that man was a US citizen, we would've carved his spiky hair into Rushmore by now. I mean, can you imagine what it took to make 5 birdies in a row with the utter chaos going on around you? 

They said the fans got quiet as the tide turned. I know I did. Sensing something awful was going to happen I headed to the media centre. I got to hang out with U.S ski hottie, Lindsey Vonn and eat muffins. And I met Sean Foley! I mean, what do you do there? Punch him in the face for the way that Tiger is playing or punch him in the face for turning Justin Rose into one of the most solid players on the planet. 


Medinah 2012 through GolfPunk's eyes...



What the players, captains and agents made of it!

TAGS: Hazeltine, Ryder Cup, Medinah, Ryder Cup 2016, 2016