My best golfing memory 2014
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
We have just come to the end of a fantastic golfing year. It saw Rory McIlroy win two majors, the return of Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson thrilling all and sundry with a second victory at The Masters.
It also saw the emergence of Jordan Spieth Patrick Reed and Victor Dubuisson as consistent, world-class players. And it saw Rickie Fowler finish in the top five in all four majors - an amazing achievement.
On the downside, Tiger Woods was seriously crocked and Dustin Johnson took what was euphemistically described as "a break" from the game.
But my favourite memory of 2014 is the Ryder Cup. Not because Europe won (though that certainly helped), but because of the incredible atmosphere.
I make no apologies for asking you to read the piece below, which I wrote before a shot had been hit on the final day. For me, it sums up what the Ryder is all about. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it...
"If the atmosphere was good on Friday and Saturday - and it was - it had nothing when compared with the show put on by the spectators at Gleneagles for the final day of the 40th Ryder Cup.
The first match between Graeme McDowell and Jordan Spieth didn't tee off until 11.36am, but at soon after 9am local time there wasn't a seat to be had in the huge grandstand surrounding the first tee. Not long after that, the entire fairway and green were encircled.
Clearly, such a huge number of people had to do something to keep themselves amused. And they found many and various ways to do so. It began with a Mexican wave, starting at one end of the grandstand and rippling out to the other side.
But that wasn't good enough for the fans. Oh no! They started chanting "Fairway, fairway, fairway!" Eventually, those lining the left side of the first hole got the message. The wave began again, running through the grandstand and all the way down the side of the hole, coming to an end some 50 yards short of the green. Boos rang out. Then "Green, green, green, green, green!
Eventually the spectators located behind the first green got the message. And the wave began again, from the edge of the grandstand, all the way round, up the fairway, to the green and beyond. Feeling quite pleased, they gave themselves a cheer.
"We're the right side of the grandstand on the hill!" "We're the centre of the grandstand on the hill!" "We're the left side of the grandstand on the hill....." "Fairway, fairway, fairway, fairway....."
"We're the right side of the grandstand on the hill"" "We're the centre of the grandstand on the hill." "We're the left side of the grandstand on the hill." "We're the fairway side on the hill." Cue another uproarious cheer.
It was impossible not to get caught up in the moment. At 11am, fully two hours before he was due to tee off, Thomas Bjorn emerged to get a taste of it. The crowd erupted. And burst into a version of "Bjorn in the USA!"
On and on it went. "There's only one Ivor Robson, one Ivor Robson....." Poor old Ivor, the starter, almost looked embarrassed.
Alongside the grandstand is the Sky TV studio, where the great and the good spout forth their opinions about who is and who is not going to win. And there was Colin Montgomerie, in plain sight of us all. "Monty! Monty! Monty!" they yelled. On and on it went until, finally, he turned and waved. Huge cheer!
Sam Torrance emerged. "One Sam Torrance, there's only one Sam Torrance...." Sam loved it.
Jose Maria Olazabal, one of Paul McGinley's vice-captains, arrived. "Olly Olly Olly, oi oi oi!" And then "Olly Olly give us a dance, Olly, give us a dance!" And sure enough, Olazabal obliged with a reurn of his famous dance performed on the 18th green in 1987 after Europe's first win on American soil.
Now they were in full swing. "Miguel, Miguel give us a dance...." "Des Smyth, Des Smyth give us a dance..." "Torrance, Torrance give us a dance, Torrance, give us a dance..." And, one by one, they all made an attempt - Miguel Angel Jimenez on rubber legs, Smyth treating us to an Irish jig and Sam attempting a Highliand jig. The operative word there is "attempting".
Torrance and Jimenez even got their camera phones out and started filming it all - and why wouldn't you? Just imagine the thrill of being an integral part of something like this.
"Ivor, Ivor give us a dance, Ivor, give us a dance." Shortly before the first players were due to appear, McGinley came through the tunnel. "One Paul McGinley, there's only one Paul McGinley." You know what's coming next. "McGinley, McGinley give us a dance, McGinley, give us a dance." And he did. Even 65-year-old Tom Watson was persuaded to give it a go.
We wondered whether the players would enter into the spirit of it all. Most of them did. "You've got Big mac, we've got G-Mac, you've got Big Mac, we've got G-Mac. G-Mac, G-Mac give us a dance...."
"Bubba, Bubba give us a dance, Bubba, give us a dance." Watson had to ask somebody what the crowd were singing, but as soon as it was explained to him, off he went. As did every member of the European team. Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson were just about the only players who didn't join in.
Throughout the week, the fans have taken to cheering in time with the players' practice swings, yelling "Fore" at end of every single American followthrough. Bubba bought into it 100%, pointing his driver left and then right as the cry went up. Furyk, regarded by many as a dour man, placed his hand above his forehead as if trying to keep track of a 400-yard drive.
It lightened the mood, it made everybody smile. And it was exactly what was needed. Truly, there is no other event like this one."
What is your favourite golfing memory of 2014? Please comment below, we would love to hear from you!
Image Credit - Ryder Cup Team Europe Facebook Page
Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]
The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.
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