1st: Paul McGinley’s Full-Melters
Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley referred to his desire to ensure that European players take more Ryder Cup games to their wallets following this crucial 1-1 draw with the United States at Hazeltine in 2012. McGinley was willing to do this by promising that any Ryder Cup player who made money would be ‘full-melters’ in those matches as a gesture to other members of his side who had not yet taken part.
2nd: Tommy Fleetwood’s mash-up of the Claret Jug and the Ryder Cup?
England’s Tommy Fleetwood was the star of the show at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. The 26-year-old made the singles match up against Phil Mickelson, had six birdies and appeared to convince all of the golfing world that he had what it takes to win the Walker Cup and the Open as well as any future Ryder Cup matches. But what will surprise those familiar with him the most is that his explosive burst of golf that marked his last three holes at Gleneagles may just be the most dramatic Ryder Cup finish of all time, comprising a mash-up of both the Claret Jug and the Ryder Cup.
3rd: Fuzzy Zoeller’s pre-match jig
America’s Fuzzy Zoeller became the first US player to hit his first putt of the Ryder Cup from the front of the 10th fairway in 1978. A putt for the cup was missed, the US won, the trophy was placed on the tee box and Zoeller proceeded to play some golf himself, which resulted in him striking a new country, changed course and winning the next hole. Given that as well as the Ryder Cup was the 1999 Masters, which he won, by the time he was finished he had exactly half an inch to spare.
4th: Sweden’s mischievous Lee Westwood
Englishman Lee Westwood is a Ryder Cup hero for the right reasons. He wins four out of five points for Europe as an individual and all five points as a team. However, the man known as The Great Dane knows when to shush his team-mates and has a distinct habit of defying demands placed upon him by his fellow players. During the 2010 Ryder Cup he made a “silent protest” when the American players were all under the instruction to agree to chants of “USA” during the competition.
5th: It’s in the minutiae
It is sometimes said that a good Ryder Cup team is best compiled from different countries with different personality types and behaviours, amongst them being a good orchestra. Just look at the concept of ‘Ryder Cup specific golf balls’ which was introduced in 1985 and was never looked back. These include not just the traditional ones but fancy surgical-made versions that are designed to carry more weight and produce longer, stronger leads.
And the five hours?
A Ryder Cup match can last anywhere between 12-and-a-half and 14 hours depending on the back nine, according to American observers, and the lasting memory will be one side imploding from strength to strength while the other advances, intent on ensuring there is never a repeat of that fate.