The Ryder Cup brings together the best players in golf and pits them against each other in an inter-continental competition that drives those ‘big moments’ that make the tournament extraordinary. It allows golfers to unleash the most competitive part of their nature, while simultaneously bringing out the most sportsmanlike attitudes through the team format. When these two collide – these are the moments that go down in history. Here are our five inspiring Ryder Cup moments:
This moment has to be one of the best sporting gestures in golf, period. During the final match of the first ever tied Ryder Cup, with team scores even at 15 ½ points each, Jack Nicklaus and Britain’s Open champion Tony Jacklin entered the final hole. Nicklaus sunk his 6ft putt, walked over to pick up his opponent’s marker, and extended his hand for the draw. “I didn’t think it was in the spirit of the game to make Jacklin have a chance to miss a two-footer to lose the match in front of his fans,” Nicklaus later said.
All square during his singles match with Fuzzy Zoeller, Ballesteros hit a lousy drive on the par-5 18th and landed himself deep in a bunker, some 245 yards from the green. Rather than take the lay up, Ballesteros reached for his three wood, dug in, and managed to rocket the ball out of the steep bunker, avoiding the lip, soaring over the water hazard to land on the green. U.S. Captain Jack Nicklaus described it as, “the greatest shot I ever saw,” although somehow cameras that day missed it.
After three days of back and forth from team captains Seve Ballesteros (Europe) and Paul Azinger (U.S.A), it literally came down to the last putt at the Ocean Course. On the final singles match of Sunday play, it was left to Hale Irwin and Bernard Langer who entered the 18th hole all squared. The U.S. only needed to tie to take back the cup after eight years of losses. Langer was at 45 yards with two putts to win, and on his first shot he slid past the hole to land 6 feet away. On his final short putt, it lipped the hole and slid out, handing the victory to Irwin and the American team.
In the first two days of competition, the European team was up 10-6 going in to Sunday’s singles. To most, it looked like the rest of the play was merely a formality, however U.S. Captain Ben Crenshaw had a press conference and told them not to count them out yet. “I’m going to leave y’all with one thought,” said Crenshaw, wagging his finger at the cameras. “I’m a big believer in fate. I have a good feeling about this.” The next day, the Americans rallied like no team before or since to beat the Europeans 14 ½ – 13 ½.
A week before the Ryder Cup in 2016, golf legend and former Ryder Cup Captain Arnold Palmer passed away. The American team chose to honor his memory by placing his captain’s bag at the first tee, where they proceeded to sweep the first round of play unlike any team since his turn as captain in 1975. The American team went on to dominate the competition, winning the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008 in the largest victory in 35 years. We also saw some foreshadowing of the players who are likely to be American team staples for years to come: Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Rickie Fowler.
Of course there are dozens of great Ryder Cup moments, and we’re excited to see the teams and more moments like these at Le Golf National in Paris later this month!
The next time the tournament is on American soil is 2020, at the beautiful Whistling Straits. For “Ryder Cup Month”, we have got some great promotions to help you save money and reserve your space for the next edition! Click the banner below for more information!