Every four years, for about 17 days in August, the entire world is treated to the widest array of sporting competition. The Olympics represent the greatest that nearly every sport on the earth has to offer. Only a few sports are left out, and other than football and baseball, the glowing omission is the game of golf.
Golf has been absent from the Olympics since 1904, but has thankfully been reinstated as an Olympic sport for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. But that’s four years away, so the greatness of Tiger Woods might not be quite so great, and a current teenager may very well be standing on the podium when we reach Brazil.
So let’s take what we have now, the Ryder Cup. While the four majors battled for each season hold the greatest of individual achievement honors, the Ryder Cup comes along just once every other year.
Taking place at Medinah Country Club late this September, the Ryder Cup pits the best American golfers against European counterparts in a fury of differing formats.
The formats alone are worth viewing pleasure. On no other landscape are golf fans given the pleasure of watching Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker mow through the field as a pair in the alternate shot arrangement.
The Ryder Cup is the only noteworthy event that allows Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell to play as Fourball teammates instead of silently cheering for each other to perform well.
In addition to bringing together celebrated golfers, the Ryder Cup brings together golf fans. Americans felt a strong common sense of pride when Missy Franklin or Michael Phelps took the podium in London with a gold medal draped across their chest.
On the same tune, golf fans can connect through the people involved at the Ryder Cup. Each team sports a captain, which for the Americans is former PGA Champion Davis Love III and for Europe, two-time Masters Champion José Maria Olazلbal.
Grandparents that watched these pros win tournaments can now cheer for the same squads that host the likes of Rickie Fowler and McIlroy, two superb players that tend to grab the attention of younger fans.
And the best part is, the Ryder Cup has never been this close. Medinah Country Club is just over 200 miles from Door County, a proximity never matched before, and will not be until the event arrives at Whistling Straights in 2020.
If you are unable or do not wish to purchase tickets, at least pay attention. The golfers involved are athletes just like the Olympians from London, and this is their chance to play for their country. The golf will undoubtedly be great, but the nationality should be even greater.