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The Putt the Pros Couldn't Make

Ryder Cup 2016This crazy video is from my seat on the first hole at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska Minnesota on Sunday of the Ryder Cup. THAT – is not common in golf, but it sure is in the Ryder Cup!

What, you say, does that have to do with a business blog? The answer: Nothing. But, as the year comes to a close – often a time to reflect upon the neat things you get to do over the year – I couldn’t help but think about the 2016 Ryder Cup.

For those of you that don’t know, the Ryder Cup is a unique form of golf where 12 players from the United States square off against 12 players from Europe. For golf, a sport with clear individuality, this is the one time where the “Us vs. Them” mentality can really take hold. The players embrace their teammates, who together, get to combat the ‘other side’. And, BABY! The competition is insanely intense. They play hard and they do it for the title of Ryder Cup Champion. No money is paid out. These guys WANT TO WIN, and so do the fans - as you can see in the video.

As many of you know, the United States team won. After winning only once in the previous seven matches, this was a big deal! It was fun to watch the players compete and to feel the thick pride of patriotism that exuded from every angle of that golf course. The tournament created many intriguing story lines.
My favorite story came from the day before the Ryder Cup started – from the practice round. A few of the Euro’s greatest players, Rory McElroy, Justin Rose, Henrick Stenson and Andy Sullivan were attempting a tricky 15 foot putt on one of the undulating greens of Hazeltine. Try as they might – and they tried often, none of the pros could make the putt.

A few of the spectators began to give the poor putting Euro’s a bit of a hard time. One fella was particularly hard on the putters and actually went on to say – loud enough for the players to hear – that ‘that putt was so easy even he could make it!’. Out of the blue, Henrick Stenson stepped over to that fan and pulled him onto the green and said, “If you are so good, then you make the putt!”. Rory McElroy gave the guy his putter and Justin Rose, for fun, put a $100 bill next to the ball… as if to say “there is no way you’ll make this putt, but if you do, there is a hundred bucks in it for you!”

The guy took the putter, lined up the putt and stroked the ball. It curved left, then right, then slowed way down as it took its final roll right into the cup! This guy made the putt the pros simply could not make! The roars of the crowd at the Ryder Cup on Sunday were certainly louder, but the roar for the regular guy who made the putt during a practice round was pretty dang loud, and what a fun moment for him and for all of us!

The fella took his hundred bucks and we never saw him again. But we did see the United States team gut out a thrilling victory! We won’t soon forget the Ryder Cup, nor will we ever forget the guy who made a putt the pros couldn’t make!