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Patrick Reed Stars as America Celebrates Ryder Cup Victory

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CHASKA, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 1: Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed of the United States celebrate Patrick's shot on the sixth hole during the fourball matches for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, MN. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth wildly celebrates U.S. teammate Patrick Reed’s miracle hole out on the sixth hole during the fourball matches for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course on October 1, 2016, in Chaska, Minnesota. (Montana Pritchard/PGA of America via Getty Images)

Arnold Palmer accomplished many great things on the golf course, but perhaps none was as remarkable as his utter domination at the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition, that since 1927, has pitted America’s best golfers against their European equivalents. (It was originally limited to only the British.) Palmer played in six Ryder Cups, winning 22 out of 32 matches as the U.S. took all six Cups. Palmer was particularly invincible in 1967, winning five out of five matches.

 

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: Vice-captain Bubba Watson of the United States cheers with fans in the first grandstand during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Vice-captain (and two-time Masters champ) Bubba Watson cheers with fans in the first grandstand during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016, in Chaska, Minnesota. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

That success had been a distant memory in recent years, as Europe won six of the last seven Ryder Cups, including the last three. Perhaps inspired by Palmer’s recent passing, the U.S. ended Europe’s streak in fearsome fashion, turning in their best team performance since 1981.

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 01: Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth of the United States react on the eighth tee as vice-captain Tiger Woods looks on during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth of the United States react on the eighth tee as vice-captain Tiger Woods celebrates in the background during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 1, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)

Indeed, it’s always been a knock on both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson that despite their individual brilliance, the U.S. had only won two out of the last 10 Ryder Cups, and Woods had only played on one of those winning teams. Though currently unable to golf due to back surgery complications, Woods made a point of volunteering to serve as a vice-captain and could often be spotted discreetly (but enthusiastically) savoring his team’s success, as in the photo above.

CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Fans look on during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Fans look on during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Indeed, there was a tremendous amount of celebrating in general during the three-day Ryder Cup. Having attended this year’s Cup at Minnesota’s Hazeltine National Golf Club, RealClearLife can verify that television coverage reflects the energy of a Ryder Cup crowd (estimated at over 65,000 on the final Sunday), but doesn’t always capture the amount of drinking they’re engaged in: amusingly, team allegiance was visible even here, as Americans tended toward Bud, while Europeans generally stuck with Stella.

CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Michael Jordan attends morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Michael Jordan attends morning foursome matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (Mike Ehrmann/PGA of America via Getty Images)

The American fans featured some links-loving celebrities, including basketball legend and golf fanatic Michael Jordan. This ensured that, even as he played on a winning U.S. Ryder Cup for the first time in his career, Jordan Spieth was not the most famous Jordan at Hazeltine.

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: Actors Brian Doyle Murray and Bill Murray attend singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Actors Brian Doyle-Murray and his brother Bill Murray attend singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Of course, what would golf be without two of the men behind Caddyshack? Bill Murray, of course, starred in the classic comedy, while his brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, co-wrote it.

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: European fans look on from the first tee during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
European fans look on from the first tee during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Greatly outnumbered by the Americans, the Europeans in attendance still made their presence felt through often brilliant and strikingly well-coordinated costumes. Much of the time, however, they were drowned out by the American fans, particularly during matches involving Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy.

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: Rory McIlroy of Europe reacts on the eighth green during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Europe reacts on the eighth green during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (David Cannon/Getty Images)

While Patrick Reed emerged as the star for the U.S., McIlroy established himself both as Europe’s best player and by far the biggest target of a number of vocal American fans. McIlroy (who went 3-2 for the weekend) spent much of the tournament playing angry yet superb golf, with antics including mockingly bowing to fans after sinking an eagle putt to win a match. Some of the abuse was shockingly out of form for the well-mannered world of golf—McIlroy had a fan ejected after the man yelled an obscene insult at him—though other antics were just plain silly. In particular, fans enjoyed serenading the former fiancé of tennis player Caroline Wozniacki with verses of “Sweet Caroline,” with McIlroy even joining in on one occasion.

CHASKA, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: A fan wearing an eagle mask cheers during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
A fan wearing an eagle mask cheers during afternoon fourball matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Unfortunate as the attacks on McIlroy were, the vast majority of fans, both European and American, were superbly behaved. Indeed, when a fan whistled as McIlroy began to take a swing, American fans loudly booed and pointed to the offender, recognizing a line had been crossed. And it was hard not to be swept up in the celebration of the first U.S. victory in eight years, with Rickie Fowler providing an iconic moment by being the single at the center of the team’s couples. (The Mercedes Brand Ambassador also suffered the disappointment of failing to win a Benz at the Ryder sponsor’s hole-in-one challenge, though that blow was softened by Fowler’s first Cup win.)

CHASKA, MN - OCTOBER 02: Rickie Fowler of the United States looks on as Kim Johnson, Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Erica Holmes, Jimmy Walker, Erin Walker, Jordan Spieth, Annie Verret, Justine Reed and Patrick Reed celebrate during singles matches of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler of the United States looks on as Kim Johnson, Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Erica Holmes, Jimmy Walker, Erin Walker, Jordan Spieth, Annie Verret, Justine Reed and Patrick Reed celebrate at Hazeltine National Golf Club on October 2, 2016 in Chaska, Minnesota. (Scott Halleran/PGA of America via Getty Images)

Quite simply, the 2016 Ryder Cup was a much-needed win for American golf and a fitting tribute to the late Palmer. Below, watch the most remarkable shot of the Ryder Cup: Patrick “Captain America” Reed’s extraordinary eagle.

—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife