Understanding the Ryder Cup hooplah

I received the following email yesterday:

Dear Aussie Golfer
How do I explain the Ryder Cup concept to my wife, who doesn’t understand all the hooplah?

Well Cheesy, at first I wondered how important it really was that your wife does understand. But given the great TV times for the Ryder Cup in Australia this weekend, I’m guessing it may mean a lot.
Considering Australians have no vested interest in the result it is hard to fathom all the ‘hooplah’ but start by explaining how most countries like to beat the Americans at anything.
Perhaps to convey some of the excitement and history, here’s a few great Ryder Cup moments from the past with videos. Hope it helps. AG
1991, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
There was a dispute about the Americans changing their ball between holes.
Paul Azinger said, “I can tell you we’re not trying to cheat.” Ballesteros replied, “Oh no. Breaking the rules and cheating are two different things.”
Mark Calcavecchia blew a four hole lead to half a match with Colin Montgomerie which meant Bernard Langer needed to win the final hole over Hale Irwin for Europe to hold on to the trophy.

1999: Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

USA came from nowhere after trailing 10 – 6 coming into the final day. Some amazing shots were played but it will be remembered for Justin Leonard’s hysterical reaction to what was a match changing, monster putt. The problem was Jose-Marie Olazabal still had to putt.
“The emotion I can understand, but I still had a putt to make and that display should not have happened,” Olazabal sniffed at the time. “You should show respect to your opponents.”

2006: K Club, County Kildare, Ireland
This one sticks out for me for the outpouring of emotion from Darren Clarke who had lost his wife to cancer only months earlier. The emotion displayed towards Clarke from everyone including the defeated USA team will always be remembered. You’ll have to go to the Ryder Cup website to see video highlights. Scroll down to “2006 Flashback”.

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