Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the series. Today is the first golf moment to make the list and I am very excited to talk about this.
#21 — 2016 USA Ryder Cup Team Reclaims the Cup at Hazeltine
If you want a specific moment itself, look at the Reed vs Rory match, but this entire Ryder Cup victory makes the list. Golf is, obviously, a big deal to me. Hell, I host a Ryder Cup-like tournament named after this site, The Thundercup. Before really diving into the 2016 matches, let’s go back to 2012. The US was up heading into the final day singles matches and squandered the lead. The Meltdown at Medinah. Obviously, that stung to watch. I was a senior in college and, as such, spent the entire day on the couch with some buddies and beers. It didn’t end well with Martin Kaymer nailing that putt. 2014 was even worse. We would’ve expected a loss on European soil but not that bad of a loss.
2016 was our great hope for redemption. As the video point, Arnold Palmer had just passed so emotions were running high on both sides. I remember live-tweeting the match updates from the Thunderblog twitter at work on Friday and being relatively glued to my TV for the rest of the weekend. Sunday was spectacular to watch and Rory vs Reed starting things off on a high note.
Most of you know I’m a pretty big Rory fan so the favorite player vs country debate sparked in my mind but with the other scores on the board being in the US’s favor, my Rory fandom could shine a bit. I feel comfortable admitting now that a) it’s been four years and b) where Patrick Reed stands with golf fandom now. Once that match was over and Reed won, the dominoes began to fall and it felt like a matter of time until the Americans finished Europe off.
This was an interesting one to reflect on its ranking. Similarly to Roy Halladay’s no-hitter being brought down by the Phillies falling short of the 2010 World Series, this Ryder Cup victory feels somewhat brought down by the 2018 Ryder Cup. Unlike 2014, there was a case to have been made for the US to pull off their first win on European soil in seemingly an eternity. After the solid Friday morning session, the rest of that Ryder was a death march, and the fact that the Europeans played the course dramatically more than the Americans ever do was the clear difference-maker. And sure, you can say this about any championship or international competition like the Olympics, but every two years competition between two teams is what makes the Ryder Cup so special, to begin with.
Today’s Instagram Athlete
Nine years ago to count down the days until my 21st birthday, I posted a picture of athletes wearing the cooresponding number of day left to Facebook. While I did not have an Instagram account back in 2011, I have one now so I’ll be revisiting this idea in conjuncture with Top 30 Sports Moments. FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM SO YOU DON’T MISS IT
Joel Embiid is one who certainly wouldn’t have been eligible nine years ago. In fact, JVR was the athlete because he wore 21 during his stint with the Flyers and now he wears 25. Embiid is pretty easy to choose with the NBA so close to coming back and an actual schedule on the books. He’s a lightning rod on and off the court and a fan favorite here in Philly.Follow @geordo9