I love the Ryder, President’s and Solheim Cups (and the Walker, for that matter).
In the often repetitious world of professional golf the Cups stand out because they showcase a format not generally seen in professional golf (or for that matter, among amateurs): team play.
Although the concept of team golf seems contrary to what we all “know” about the game, it’s thoroughly embedded in the rules and in the history. Four Ball, Foursomes and Match Play are very interesting and challenging ways to play and weekenders miss quite a bit by not finding a way to incorporate them into their regular play. In particular, I think the USGA could speed up play—while not diminishing player enjoyment—by encouraging match play.
It’s also the case that for me, the Cups also are probably the only time outside the Majors where I get the impression that the players are giving it their all. Too often I get the sense that Tour players have made the calculation that second place—with its accompanying very large paycheck—is good enough. Others seem perfectly content to plod along continually in 40th to 50th place, since that’s really all they need to make a good living and keep their cards.
Players at the Cups, on the other hand, generally give the impression that they care about the results (the Oakland Hills debacle, and Tiger Woods aside). It’s nice to see exuberance of the sort seen in touchdown celebrations, rather than the usual end-of-tournament mumbled thanks to the sponsors while an oversized check is delivered followed by those creepy trophy kisses. I don’t care about the size of the check (physical, or numerical). I like to see guys who are emotional with a win.
So I look forward every year to the Ryder, President’s or Solheim Cups. They’re a nice break from the ordinary.