Ryder Cup brings lasting memories for students and faculty

Community reflects on the “electric” environment

November 3, 2016

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Steven Nye

Hazeltine National Golf Club where The Ryder Cup was held. Reece Sanders’17 describes the environment as “unreal.”

The Ryder Cup is “a combination of a Renaissance Festival, a golf tournament, and a rock concert. Because it’s really loud. It’s really loud” said Jim Arnold, laughing to himself.

The Ryder Cup is a golf tournament between European countries and the United States where the top 16 players in the world compete. It changes its location every competition which happens every two years. This year, some Blake community members attended the Cup in Chaska, Minnesota at the Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Sisters Audrey Wethington ’20 and Maddie Wethington ’19 attended the event on September 29th. Wethington noted that The Ryder Cup is “not your regular golf event where everybody’s quiet… people are chirping [taunting] one another and… yelling and… chanting.”  At most tournaments, people would employ the “golf clap” and be very civil out of respect, but this is not the case at the Ryder Cup. The patriotism and team aspect of America versus Europe allows fans to dress up and cheer and shout.

Arnold caddied for Paul McGinley, who was a captain for the European team two years ago, during the “Past Captains” practice round this year. In this round, four past American and European captains play. During Arnold’s experience he noted that, “[McGinley] made the experience for me really cool. . .‘You wanna caddy? I’m gonna make you caddy’ so I got to read a couple putts [while caddying in the practice round].”

Arnold agreed with Wethington that in “other major golf tournaments it’s all about the individual and how low you can score. This is about the team.” He added that, “I’ve worked in the Pro-Shop [at the Hazeltine National Golf Club] since 1979. We’ve had 11 major tournaments at Hazeltine and I have worked at eight of them, and I was a spectator at two of the other three. So it’s been a long journey, and the Ryder Cup was absolutely the crown jewel.”

Arnold said of the spectators at the Cup, “People dress up – like I saw Abe Lincoln, George Washington… couple Statues of Liberty, American eagle, and then these Scottish people, they’re called the Guardians of the Cup. They dress in blue and yellow, like the [European] Union flag.”

Reece Sanders ‘17, a captain of the Blake Boys’ Golf Team attended the Ryder Cup. He described the environment of the Cup as, “really energetic, a lot of American flags, a lot of people dressed pretty crazy, it was a lot of fun to see how many people really enjoy watching golf.”

Kjirsten Walt, a biology teacher, worked as a marshall, someone who keeps the tournament running smoothly and under control, on the 10th and 18th tees. Describing the opening of the event in the morning, she said, “it was like a marathon… and that walkway [from the entrance to the course] was wooden, so it sounded like you were running with the bulls. Everyone was running through the gates to get to the grandstands.”

Reflecting on it, Arnold commented on the Ryder Cup as “the one event you’d take somebody to who didn’t know anything about golf.”

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