Junior Golf: Ryder Cup Excitement Begins

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at today’s start of The 41st Ryder Cup from Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. This is a team matchplay event where 12 of the best US men’s golfers compete against the best 12 from Europe.img_0106

If you’re not already recording it, I suggest you set the TiVo right now. Coverage starts on the Golf Channel at 730am central time today and goes until 600pm. Saturday’s coverage is 800am-600pm on NBC. Sunday’s broadcast time is 1100am-500pm again on NBC. We always record an additional hour in case the event runs long. Ties count and there is not a playoff but weather delays and other unknowns might cause matches to run longer than usual. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

You will hear 3 types of matches discussed. These 1st 2 are a bit confusing. Foursomes refers to 4 players, 2 2-man teams, in each group and it is played where team members hit every other shot with 1 team member hitting 1st on odd-numbered holes and the other hitting 1st on even-numbered holes. Often both players in singles play, use very different golf balls. Different degrees of firmness/softness and high spin vs low spin means the teammates must find a compromise ball since they aren’t allowed to switch balls each shot. The pros are so finely tuned to the feel of their golf ball that switching to another ball takes a lot of practice. It is very different. Yardages, amount of draw or fade, spin rates and backspin all are impacted. There’s a ton of pressure on Foursomes since you really don’t want to hit a poor shot which leaves your partner facing a very difficult next shot. You don’t want to let your partner down. Each team’s score is recorded on every hole and low score out of the 2 team scores wins the hole.

Fourballs is also 2 2-man teams playing against each other. All 4 players play their own ball through the hole and the low score for each 2-man team is recorded. Lowest score of the 2 team scores wins the hole.

Singles are on Sunday and the 12 matches will include every player on each team, 1 US player vs 1 European player. It’s very straightforward. Low score wins the hole.

Each of the 28 total matches is worth 1 point. The winning team of each match gets 1 point, the losing team gets 0 points and if the match is tied/halved, each team gets ½ point. The 1st team to reach 14 and1/2 points wins the Ryder Cup. If the teams tie at 14-14 the previous Ryder Cup winning team retains the Cup. (image agtgolftours.com)

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The crowds are very loud for golf tournaments. There will be more European fans than you could possibly imagine and they are loud. The enthusiasm and energy of the players and fans is unique and contagious. Pretty much every player will tell you that this is the 1 event where their knees are literally shaking on #1 tee. I mean, you’re playing for your flag, your country, your national pride. It’s so different than playing for oneself. I think it was Zach Johnson that said there was tremendous pressure on every shot in a Ryder Cup because the stakes are so high and the pressure on the 1st tee was insane! It’s a lifetime achievement for these guys, certainly equal to or close to the equal of winning major championships.

Please have your junior golfer watch some of this event. It should certainly excite him and inspire him to dream more and dream bigger. The excitement is contagious!

See you on #1 tee looking proud of your country… Sam

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