Ryder Cup 2021
On the eve of 43rd playing of the Ryder Cup matches, this time at Pete Dye's magnificent Lake Michigan behemoth, Whistling Straits, the game of golf may be at its zenith. Due partially to: A) the side effects of a catastrophic global pandemic, by allowing new people to take up the game in a safe outdoor arena, coupled with, B) the rapid expanse of the social stage, allowing the game's best and brightest stars to be more accessible than ever to the general public, the popularity of the sport has exploded.
This is all coming to a head with the biennial showdown of the United States versus the European continent. It has been nothing short of dominance for the Europeans since the 1980s, of course with a few exceptions, primarily the iconic, and original War on the Shore, taking place at Pete Dye's magnum opus: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. This year, on paper, the Americans should (and to be clear-must) claim the Cup back, and do so with a statement victory. With six rookies, and all the pressure on their shoulders, it will not be an easy task.
Yet, most of these American Ryder Cup "rookies" have the intestinal fortitude of savvy veterans. Collin Morikawa seemed fine claiming the Claret Jug a mere 3 months ago. Scottie Scheffler seemed fined going toe-to-toe with match play stalwart Billy Horschel (and likely the last man left off the team-*sad emoji*) at another Pete Dye track, Austin Country Club, for runner-up honors at the WGC.
The Europeans on the other hand, are a team of battle-tested champions, playing with absolutely nothing to lose (sans the Cup itself), taking one last shot at glory. Cheeseheads or not, their team chemistry is nearing the apex level of Aunt Helen Hunt and Tom Hanks in Castaway, that is to say it's smoldering. They also have the current World Number 1, Jon Rahm, looking to fill his trophy cabinet with a replacement for Player of The Year (right next to his US Open trophy). Maybe graced by the immortal spirit of Seve, whispering wisdom through the whistling straits, Sergio will ride off into the sunset padding his all-time Ryder Cup GOAT status.
Oh yea, and they have still the most talented player since Tiger, in Rory McIlroy, not to mention a few brash Englishmen who never met a stiff breeze they didn't fancy (here's looking at you Uncle Lee, plus links expert and resident hot-head, Ty Hatton).
But in the end, if our Killer B's can put aside the petty PIP sleights, forget about Paris, and let the spirits of Pete, Alice, and Great Uncle Harvey guide them along the way, the frontier is bright here Stateside for this week, and potentially for years to come. Here's how I see it playing out on Sunday, best-case scenario, tie-match going in, adjust accordingly for imaginary point totals...
The morning air is filled with the wafting scent of cheese curds, gusting in the 30mph breeze...
Match 1: Hatton def. Brooks - Ty gets under Brooks' skin and nails a 30 footer to start the day with a point for the Europeans.
Match 2: Bryson def. Casey.
Match 3: Uncle Lee def. Cousin Harris in a battle of our Fantasy "Family Tree"...
Match 4: Sergio def. Scottie in the Battle for Austin.
Match 5: Spieth def. Fitzy in a putting clinic.
Match 6: FInau def. Poulter, much to the rowdy crowd's viewing pleasure.
Match 7: Morikawa def. Bernd
Match 8: Lowry def. Berger
Match 9: X def. Tommy (despite his hair looking angelic in the wind).
Match 10: DJ def. Yung Viktor in a ball-striking bonanza.
Match 11: Rahm def. Cantlay 2&1 and gets his vengeance.
Match 12 (the anchors): JT (the new Captain America) def. Rory in extra holes to claim the Cup with Phil's calves, RODGAS, Jake from State Farm, Paulina and Co., and maybe even a certain striped cat lurking in the fescue, cheering on the boys, Cup in hand, and buckets of 3 Sheeps on ice at the ready...
Cheers to an epic weekend in Wisconsin,
Follow along with the action all weekend on Twitter @BlatantGolf, @Blatant_Chief, @LiamBlatant, and @BlatantLegsBets