As the world mourns the passing of golf’s undisputed “King” on the eve of the 41st edition of golf’s biennial contest between the United States and Europe, one has to think that the Americans will have a thirteenth man in the locker room this week as they try to win their first Ryder Cup since 2008. Arnold Palmer loved this event and in six appearances as a player he won a total of 23 points, a record that stood for 24 years until it was broken by Nick Faldo in 1997. How US Captain Davis Love III harnesses the emotion surrounding Palmer’s death could well turn the tables on Darren Clarke’s European team.
For the man who almost singlehandedly redefined the country club game, the Ryder Cup was about something more than playing for money. To Palmer, it was something grander and more personal as it was for Spain’s Seve Ballesteros who was the inspiration behind Europe’s Ryder Cup resurgence. A mainstay of the European team for much of the 80s and 90s, Seve scored 22½ points in 37 matches and his partnership with fellow Spaniard José María Olazábal was the most successful in the history of the competition with 11 wins and two ties in 15 pairs matches. Just as Palmer brought the game to the masses, Ballesteros helped elevate public interest in the Ryder Cup.
If there was a turning point in the modern era of the matches, it was the 1989 event at The Belfry in England that ignited tensions between the teams and saw the beginnings of a feud between Ballesteros and American Paul Azinger. After holding the cup for more than two decades, the United States team lost both the 1985 and 1987 matches and in 1989 the pressure was on the US side. Early in their singles match, Ballesteros sought to change a scuffed ball for a new one under the Rules of Golf and when Azinger disputed whether the ball was unfit for play, Ballesteros reportedly said, “Is this the way you want to play today?” The matches ended in a tie, with the European side retaining the cup.
The tension between the teams and the feud between Ballesteros and Azinger escalated in 1991 at Kiawah Island dubbed “The War on the Shore”. On the first morning of the competition, Azinger and Chip Beck were paired against Ballesteros and José María Olazábal in a foursome match when Azinger accused Ballesteros of gamesmanship for clearing his throat during Beck’s shots. That intensity produced what may be regarded as one of the best pairs matches in history, with the Spaniards winning 2 & 1. The United States won that year and the Ryder Cup became anything but a friendly contest again.
In 2008, Seve was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and died May 7, 2011, at the age 54. At the 2012 Ryder Cup, the first to be played after his death, the European team wore navy blue and white on the final day, the colours Seve traditionally wore on the last day of a tournament. On their uniforms they stitched the silhouette of the iconic Ballesteros’ “salute” from his win at the 1984 Open Championship.
Fast forward to Hazeltine this week and the swashbuckling image of golf’s first authentic hero and what US Captain Davis Love III does to honor “The King” could well have a profound impact on the American side and the on-going battle for golf’s greatest team prize.
Since 1980, World Tourism Day has been celebrated on September 27 helping to raise awareness of the role of tourism within the international community and demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values globally. As one of the most recognized and visited tourism destinations in the world, Niagara Parks would like to invite you to celebrate World Tourism Day with us!
Whether it’s standing in awe under the roar of Niagara Falls, soaring over the swirling Niagara Whirlpool or savouring a taste of the region with Niagara Parks Culinary, our iconic Canadian experiences always show you something new. Here are the top five reasons to visit Niagara Falls.
1. Stand face to face with Niagara Falls at Journey Behind the Falls. Here, visitors can venture deep below and behind the heart of Niagara and stand at the base of Horseshoe Falls to witness one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. Enjoy this all-season Canadian Signature Experience in the heat of summer or during the winter months when the falls are coated in ice.
2. Niagara begins here, and our encyclopedic Niagara Parks Heritage team can take you back in time to show you just how historically true this is. Relive over 200 years of history at Old Fort Erie, a War of 1812 National Historic Site and Canada’s bloodiest battlefield.
3. Savour a taste of Niagara at our five Feast On certified restaurants on the Niagara Parkway. Enjoy seasonal menu items, Niagara VQA wines and Ontario craft beers at Elements on the Falls, Queen Victoria Place Restaurant, Queenston Heights Restaurant, Legends on the Niagara Restaurant or Whirlpool Restaurant.
4. Escape to our sprawling parkland and cycle between two Great Lakes on the 53 kilometre Niagara River Recreational Trail. The Niagara River Recreational Trail runs along the Niagara River and extends from Niagara-on-the-Lake, through Chippawa, and on to Historic Fort Erie. This mixed-use path passes through many Niagara Parks attractions, historic sites and natural areas.
5. Soar high over the Niagara River on our 100-year-old Whirlpool Aero Car. The Aero Car travels between two different points on the Canadian shore of the Niagara River, offering spectacular views of the Niagara Gorge and the swirling Whirlpool below. This antique cable car has tremendous historic significance and represents both engineering and tourism development in Niagara.
There is a lot on the line this week at the TOUR Championship when it gets underway September 22 at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. In addition to a purse of $8.5 million for the 30-man field, the FedEx Cup trophy and a $10 million season-ending bonus are all up for grabs. Add to that PGA Tour Player of the Year honors and the final Ryder Cup pick by Davis Love III and we’re in for an exciting season finale.
For starters, Dustin Johnson will have a chance to settle the Player of the Year debate this week. With a U.S. Open win, a World Golf Championship title at Firestone, and a playoff win at the BMW Championship, he appears to have the edge over world number one Jason Day. Johnson also leads the PGA Tour with 14 top-10 finishes and with a win and/or the FedEx Cup title he should take the crown. Day, on the other hand, has three titles of his own this year, including a wire-to-wire win at The Players and could tilt the Player of the Year argument in his favour with a win at the TOUR Championship.
And if that’s not enough drama, after the FedEx Cup champion is crowned on Sunday, US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will announce his final Ryder Cup pick on NBC during halftime of Sunday Night Football. When he named three of his four wildcard picks just over a week ago, one glaring omission was two-time Masters champion and world number seven Bubba Watson. The apparent snub was brought into focus by the fact Rickie Fowler was one of those who got the nod instead. Fowler has had a dismal Ryder Cup record – the only man to play as many as eight Ryder Cup matches without winning one. Love’s other two picks were Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes. And with Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Ryan Moore, and Mr. 58 Jim Furyk all making strong cases to be the final player added to the US Team, Bubba Watson is sadly on the brink of missing out on Hazeltine.
Lee Westwood, who was one of Darren Clarke’s wildcard picks for the European squad, making this his tenth Ryder Cup appearance when the matches get underway September 30, believes that Watson’s stark omission from America’s Ryder Cup team came down to US captain Davis Love not considering him a team player. Some think Love is simply over-thinking the process and with a win at the TOUR Championship this week, Watson could well turn the tables in his favour. Whatever the outcome, and with so much on the line this week, Twitter should be ablaze come Sunday evening.