IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
IOL Sport writer Lungani Zama.
Europe's Sergio Garcia celebrates after holing a putt on the 17th green during a fourball match. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Europe's Sergio Garcia celebrates after holing a putt on the 17th green during a fourball match. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Europe's Francesco Molinari and Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods of the US and Bryson Dechambeau of the US 5 and 4. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP Photo
Europe's Francesco Molinari and Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods of the US and Bryson Dechambeau of the US 5 and 4. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP Photo
Once, every other year, sporting logic is defied. For three days, the form book goes out of the window, and a few good men become absolutely possessed.

The concept designed by Samuel Ryder might not be everyone’s Cup of tea but, for those who are obsessed, it is three days of exhilaration.

Never will you see so much emotion concentrated into a single shot or moment. Never will you see so many superstars reduced to very human form, and then back to immortals on the very next hole.

The Ryder Cup is the gift that keeps on giving, whether or not you are keeping score.

And, the fascinating thing about this duel between the continent and the country, is what it does to certain individuals.

Europe's Sergio Garcia celebrates after holing a putt on the 17th green during a fourball match. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP Photo

Justin Rose’s final putt at the Tour Championship a week ago was worth $10-million. That birdie on the 72nd hole denied Tiger Woods an inconceivable double, and allowed Rose to soak in the adulation of being FedEx Cup champion, the best golfer on the PGA Tour for the season.

Behind him, Rory McIlroy was effusive in his praise for Tiger, proud to see his idol rise once more. They shared a long embrace on the final green, and genuinely kind words were exchanged.

Just three days later, McIlroy had no interest discussing Woods in his Paris presser. He could barely say the name, because he was focused solely on what Team Europe were trying to do.

Rose, meanwhile, tapped in for birdie on the opening hole on Friday morning, and roared as if he had slain a hundred Tigers, and won himself a billion bucks.

This thing matters, and it often appears to matter more to the boys in EU blue.

Players that puzzle at most Majors suddenly become untouchable. Just a month ago, Sergio Garcia couldn’t buy a putt. Suddenly in European garb, he is dusting the Johnsons and the Reeds as if he is playing the golf of his life.

Europe's Francesco Molinari and Fleetwood beat Tiger Woods of the US and Bryson Dechambeau of the US 5 and 4. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP Photo

How about the chest-thumping Ian Poulter, whose name and bulging eyes are scorched into the more of this thing; a modern day Monty, if you will.

It does crazy things to people, this weekend of no prize-money -and no end of collective pride.

The fans make it, losing themselves in beers, cheers and jeers. They sing until their voices are hoarse, turning the opening hole into a coliseum of sorts, with players daring them to get louder still.

It’s intoxicating this thing, this heaving mob of patriotism, all pursuing a little pot of gold and gloating.

World rankings count for precious little this week. Indeed, they probably add unnecessary pressure, because it is the lesser lights who seem to be the brightest on this stage.

For but one, magical weekend, form is temporary and camaraderie is everything.

Somehow, Europe seem to have found the recipe for this whole malarkey. They live for these weeks, when they can stick two blue fingers at the stars and stripes, and the Yanks give it right back to them two years later.

The Ryder Cup...

What a riot!


Sunday Tribune

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