Early yesterday afternoon Neil and I were feeling a little jaded and were considering watching the fourball action on the big screen in the comfort of the media centre. But, girding our loins, we forged out to catch half an hour of live action. This proved to be just about the greatest decision since a bored caveman picked up a couple of sticks and decided to start rubbing.
We walked to the hill behind the 10th green from where we had a view over to the 11th tee and 11th green. As the first match – Boo Wekley and JB Holmes vs Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen – approached, we got the first hint of a feeling that something exciting was going to happen.
The crowd following Weekley was boisterous – we stood beside a group dressed in camouflage gear screaming “Booooo” at the top of their voices every five seconds or so. We were wondering what would happen if Boo ever did something that met with a crowd’s disapproval – what would they shout at him then?
As the groups came through the atmosphere began to build and, by the time the last fourball – Mickelson and Mahan vs Stenson and Karlsson played into the 10th green, Neil and I were more excited than a troop of cub-scouts on an outing to the Cadburys factory. Any thought of going back to our desks had gone totally out of the window.
We joined a throng of people and jogged and jostled our way down to the 15th green where the cries of “Booooo” told us the US team’s talisman was approaching. We got there just in time to see him fire an incredible shot from out of the fairway bunker in to about two feet. The cheer that greeted the ball’s arrival was phenomenal. We waited there until Garcia and Casey arrived then followed them to the 17th green. There we found a media stand from where we could also see a TV screen. This was where we stayed to watch the remainder of the action.
I can sometimes be a little cynical, some may even say dour, but even I was totally caught up in the electric excitement sparking and crackling around that green. By the time play had finished Neil and I had to sit down in the bleachers for a while to regain our composure.
This is a fabulous course for spectators – particularly on the back nine. Every hole is banked by huge slopes meaning you can see pretty much all of the action, no matter how many people are standing in front of you. It all adds to the incredible atmosphere.
As a journalist I should try to give both sides of a story but I simply can’t think of anything negative to say about the experience of being at this Ryder Cup. Maybe Neil can……