Last week, I hopped on a plane for the first time in over two years. It was a really bizarre feeling at first. Those thoughts quickly evacuated from my brain as I buried myself in a movie (Captain America: The First Avenger – yes, a strategic choice), as I headed towards my destination. Ahh, yes… to the land of cheese, beer, a lot of my family and this time around, the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, WI. As I look back on this incredible trip, I thought I would share my top takeaways from the event.
Yes, prepare yourself for the latest edition of Sexy Seven at The Wife Hates Sports:
Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits: Seven Personal Takeaways – Part I of II
While there are hundreds of thoughts dancing around in my head, here are my top seven takeaways from an incredible week at Whistling Straits – and a dominating victory by the United States:
1) Whistle While You Work
I last attended Whistling Straits during the 2015 PGA Championship, an event that had record heat and not nearly the same atmosphere. Personally, I don’t remember a ton about the event when I attended. Maybe that was because my Mom was hospitalized with heat stroke and dehydration. It could be the fact that my brother and I drank more than our combined weight in Gatorade, while also contemplating taking a bath in Lake Michigan in our skivvies.
In all seriousness, it wasn’t until this year that I really started to appreciate Whistling Straits for what it is. The Pete Dye design is a monster of a course that challenges everyone, from the players to the fans who try to walk the slick hills throughout the venue. The weather changes in a moment’s notice. For example, on Friday, I’m pretty sure the weather dropped a good 15-20 degrees in an hour’s time, with the sun taking a break and the winds spiking higher than the price of a 25 oz. Michelob Ultra.
Overall, this course, nestled against Lake Michigan in Dairyland, is a public course that provides countless blind shots, brutal lies, and undulations. It was just so much fun to walk it and watch the drama unfold. It is an underrated place and I would highly recommend visiting when the PGA returns.
2) Six is the Loneliest Number
I always thought one was the loneliest number, but camping out on Hole #6 at Whistling Straits, I started to think differently. Seriously, I’ve never seen such a short hole make so many pros look foolish. Here’s a quick rundown of what we saw in the brief time we visited the short Par 4 last Friday:
- Shane Lowry nearly popped a spectator in route to heading downhill and to the edge of the bushes well left of the green. He followed that by nearly holing out, only to miss the putt
- Dustin Johnson sailed his tee shot into the gallery – and I mean WELL into the gallery. He also failed to get up and down from where he landed (within reach of the food tent). Yes, the winds were swirling.
- Xander Schauffele also had his tee shot land into the gallery on the left side of the green. He also had an incredible second shot, and as Lowry did, failed to get up and down
- All the above shots were on Friday. Patrick Cantlay joined the party with an exceptionally wayward tee shot at the 6th. I managed to capture a brief raw video of his second shot (below), which arguably was even better than the shots of both Lowry and Schauffele.
Like the others, “Patty Ice” couldn’t follow an incredible shot with an up and down. The moral of the story is this… don’t judge a book by its cover. Even a short Par 4 can create its fair share of headaches.
3) Grab Your Bucket (List)
Everyone has a bucket list. Well, most of us do. I certainly do and the Ryder Cup was on it until last week. I can finally check that off, although I might have to add a European venue Ryder Cup to it.
So, if you don’t have yourself a bucket list, create one. It’s good to have some fun goals or events that you want to get to before your time is up on this little planet of ours.
If you’re a golf fan, the Ryder Cup should 110% be on your bucket list. Even if you aren’t a golf fan, it should be there. There is simply so much energy and camaraderie. I would compare it to seeing the Olympics live, but I have never been. The fans get along. People are singing. The players are intense in some moments, but also fun and interactive during other situations. It is really hard to put into words, because it’s simply just THAT great. To be able to spend Ryder Cup time with my family, that escalated the entertainment value of this event to a whole new level.
So, if I have convinced you to check out the Ryder Cup, maybe we’ll run into each other when the next one takes place in Rome, Italy. Okay, okay… I’m not definitely going, but I certainly have interest – and you should, too.
It promises to be a wild ride.
So, for now, ciao – and thank you for visiting The Wife Hates Sports!
Don’t forget to check out my final four takeaways, via Part II!
Photo Credit: Kevin Paul (yours truly)
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