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Local Golf
July 22, 2017

AMERICAN MARSHALS - The Official, Unofficial, Cheerleaders For Team USA At The Ryder Cup
By R.J. Smiley

As the sun creates that pink/orange glow in the eastern sky on the morning of Friday, September 30, 2016, members of the American Marshals will be armed and ready at the front gate.

The American Marshals will be armed, but not with firearms. These members of the American Marshals will be armed with Deputy Marshal stickers. With these stickers golf fans will be deputized as members of the growing army of cheerleaders who will cheer, sing and roar in unison as golfers representing the USA battle golfers from Europe for the heralded Ryder Cup. When the main gate opens on the Ryder Cup spectacle at Hazeltine each of the 50,000 spectators will be offered a sticker making them a "Deputy Marshal."

So what are American Marshals? I asked Cal Franklin, spokesman for and one of the original "Ryder Cup Vikings." (The Ryder Cup Vikings have morphed into today's American Marshals.)

Cal Franklin said, "It all started in 2008 when a group of us, who were attending the Ryder Cup at Valhalla, wanted to do something to support Team USA. Because all twelve of us were from Minnesota, we decided to use the Viking Horns and Vikings' jerseys to create an identity. Immediately the U.S. players, team captain, Paul Azinger, the players' wives and family were attracted to us - the cheerleaders. The fact that we were the only people on the golf course wearing horns and purple jerseys made us hard to miss. One of the original members of our cheerleading squad was Flip Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Flip was a part of the Ryder Cup Vikings for several Ryder Cup Matches."

Franklin continues, "Because many members of Team USA are repeat players, we have gotten to know the players and their wives. Often, on the golf course, as players pass by they throw us golf balls, tees and sometimes their gloves. We use these items like a t-shirt at a Wolves game, to entice fans to compete for the prize by yelling louder in support of our team."

The American Marshals have their own website www.americanmarshals.com. The website is filled with pictures from the past Ryder Cup Matches, a schedule of appearances, places and dates and where they will appear prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup Matches. The American Marshals will be attending the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis outdoor concert on July 28th at 7:30 pm. The concert is at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Golf fans will have several opportunities to meet the American Marshals. They will appear at the 3M Championship, the Minnesota State Fair and at Vikings games. The American Marshals will also be appearing downtown and various rooftop bars over the next two months. In addition to the American Marshals' website check www.teetimespress.com to see a schedule of upcoming events.

The American Marshals' website also contains a variety of songs that will be sung during the Matches and cheers that will be used by the American Marshals.

Franklin went on to explain, "For the 2016 Ryder Cup we wanted to do something to honor Flip, what he did for the community and what he did for the American Marshals. We also wanted to achieve a deeper identity for our group. There have always been twelve of us (Ryder Cup Vikings or American Marshals), but we choose the 13th Man as our identity theme. First, Flip Saunders will always be a member of the American Marshals. The 13th Man is symbolic, like the missing plane formation used by the Air Force to honor a fallen pilot. Second, the 13th Man is a take off from the 12th Man, the name adopted by the ruckus fans that make the NFL's Seattle Seahawks almost unbeatable when playing at home. Each of the Team USA fans, who wear an American Marshals' Deputy sticker, will in fact be a collective member of the 13th Man. We even have our 13th Man creed. The American Marshals adhere to the highest level of sportsmanship and golf etiquette and expect all deputies to follow the same principles. We have become good friends with the Guardians of the Cup, Europe's version of the American Marshals."

With the American Marshals and the 13th Man, the 2016 version of the Ryder Cup will surely be the most organized group of fans ever assembled for a major sporting event. With each new twist, the 2016 Ryder Cup becomes even bigger! Stay tuned!

The 13th Man Creed

I am the 13th Man.
I support, with pride, my Ryder Cup team.
I value sportsmanship over partisanship.
I do not cheer failure.
At the Ryder Cup, putts are holed, arms go up, dreams are claimed.
Men become legends.
And we, the witnesses, take home memories we'll share forever.
I'll be watching. I'll be cheering.
I am the 13th Man.

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