As the United States attempts to regain the Ryder Cup from Europe, which has won the marquee event four of the last five times, one major advantage the team will have is amazing support from the Medinah Country Club crowd.
The raucous galleries are what make the Ryder Cup such a special event. It's unlike anything the players see elsewhere throughout the season and, unlike regular events, the fans have no problem being partisan with their cheers.
It's so weird to hear golf fans erupt when a player hits a poor shot, but that was the case all day on Friday whenever a European ball would fly into the rough, bunker or water. Yet, it's also refreshing to see fans treating it like a normal sport in that respect.
The fan support gives the United States a rare home-course advantage, at least when it is given a reason to get involved. When Europe was leading all four matches in the opening session, it turned awfully quiet aside from the European supporters.
When the Americans started making a charge, however, the place was electric. And with only a handful of groups on the course at any given time, every big shot can be recognized simply by the crowd reaction.
Players like Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and, of course, Tiger Woods really seemed to respond to the crowd. It gives them the extra boost of motivation they need throughout a round when things aren't going according to plan.
That's huge for the United States because the teams are so evenly matched. If the event were being played in Europe or on a neutral course somewhere else in the world, Europe might even have a slight advantage.
With the crowd so firmly behind the Americans, it should provide the team with a lot of energy over the next two days. That's especially true when a couple players sink a few putts in a row and work the supporters into a frenzy.
It's almost like the entire tournament is taking place in a college football stadium. And since the United States have a bunch of players who thrive in that type of environment, it sets them up to regain the coveted trophy on Sunday.
In an event where the difference between the two sides is razor thin, both the United States and Europe are looking for any conceivable advantage they can get over the weekend.
Team USA has a huge one to lean on thanks to the American fans who have made their way to Medinah Country Club.
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