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Justin Leonard sunk a long putt to clinch the USA victory in the 1999 Ryder Cup
Where to start? This sporting event is a thing of beauty. It contains every aspect of the perfect competition. Team and individuals, nailbiters and blowouts, and the pure genius of two continents battling each other for what some might say "Just an old Cup," but it's more special to the participants than any major that could be won.
The passion exhibited by each competitor that goes into every match, to me, surpasses any other sporting competitor alike. The main reason why I love golf is because it takes a combination of patience, mental toughness, and pure talent to succeed. It is not so much an athlete's game, but a thinker's, which sets up for dramatic finishes and genius displays of dominating performances.
Sure, you have to be able to turn 180 degrees without throwing out your back, but you cannot tell me that there is an athletic difference in another professional sport that is even remotely comparable to John Daly and Tiger Woods. Let's be honest, you do not have to be athletic to be a great golfer.
I am straying away from my main point. The Ryder Cup is something amazing. Two of my favorite sporting events in history were in golf. Tiger Woods' performance in the 2000 U.S. Open might be the greatest performance by an individual in the history of professional sports. Also, if anybody has watched golf in the past 15 years, you will remember the 1999 Ryder Cup, where the United States team was down a whole four points going into the last day. In other words, the U.S. Team was screwed, and needed a miracle.
On that Sunday in 1999, out of the 12 matches that were played, USA racked in the first seven matches of the day to take the lead 13-10. The Europeans tried to make a comeback winning the next 2 out of 3 matches, when Justin Leonard sunk a 45-foot putt to birdie the 17th hole and eventually halve the match, clinching the U.S. victory. I think that will possibly be the only time that you will see fans and teammates ''storm the field" in a golf tournament.
Every time I look back on that special day in 1999, I get pure chills. It is so refreshing to see so much passion in the world's best golfers when there is nothing at stake besides bragging rights with some old friends.
That is what makes the Ryder Cup so special. One moment you can catch Fred Couples holding back tears after losing a match and another see Ernie Els displaying intense emotion (which everyone who watches Golf knows Ernie Els and emotion do not go together).
The Ryder Cup is special not because it is two continents working out differences to play a "Gentleman's" game, but because the players put forward so much effort and passion to win, when there is nothing at stake. There is no reward besides pure bragging rights and a win for their respected Countries, and to get the best Professionals in the World to all buy into that, there is nothing better.