Rivalry, friendship on and off course make Ryder Cup so special

Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:57pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Paul Ingrassia

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - "So who are you rooting for?".

It is a question Rich Hendrickon, of Seattle, Wash., gets asked frequently as he roams the grounds of Gleneagles at the Ryder Cup.

The question is a joke as even a passing glance at Hendrickson will suggest. He is dressed head-to-toe in an American flag outfit, signaling his loyalties about as subtly as a sign on Times Square.

Other Americans are here in garb that seems deliberately sacrilegious: American-flag kilts. Not to be outdone, dozens of Europeans are sporting neck-to-ankle outfits in their colors, deep blue and gold.

For Americans, like me, it is not easy to enjoy the biennial Ryder Cup showdown between the United States and Europe. America have won only once in this century, in 2008, and have not prevailed on European soil for more than 20 years.

But no matter. The Ryder Cup is my favorite international sporting event, hands down, partly because it is okay for adults to act like kids again and be ostentatiously silly. Garish garb is only part of the picture.

A group of British former university chums, calling themselves Guardians of the Ryder Cup, greeted each European player at Friday's first tee with a personalized serenade -- "Bjorn v the USA" for Dane Thomas Bjorn, and a simple foot-stomping chant of "Rory, Rory," for Northern Ireland's world number one Rory McIlroy.

Twelve visiting fans from the Minneapolis area are doing their best to redress the balance. Dressed in Minnesota Vikings NFL jerseys with viking helmets complete with golden pony tails, they have serenaded the U.S. team with their own customized songs.   Continued...

U.S. Ryder Cup players Jordan Speith (L) and Patrick Reed (C) walk with Spieth's caddie Michael Greller
 during their foursomes 40th Ryder Cup match at Gleneagles in Scotland September 27, 2014.  REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN  - Tags: SPORT GOLF)