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Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 17, 2017

Team USA gather for a photo after winning the 2016 Ryder Cup
+ click to enlarge
Team USA gather for a photo after winning the 2016 Ryder Cup
Arnold Palmer tributary signature wall outside the Merchandise Tent
+ click to enlarge
Arnold Palmer tributary signature wall outside the Merchandise Tent
By R.J. Smiley

With Ryan Moore's final putt still rattling in the bottom of the cup, the celebration began. No more drama. No more ugly language from over-served patrons. Only the methodic finish of the last few matches being played for personal Ryder Cup records. The Cup would now be in the hands of Team USA for two brief years.

Who Were The Winners... And Losers?

Losers First:
Team Europe lost the Ryder Cup. But in this writer's opinion they were no more losers than the three teams who do not win at the Final Four. The Europeans played golf at a level seldom witnessed. There was no choke! There was no meltdown! There was no poor player selection by Captain Darren Clarke! Team USA simply played better for three days than their European counterparts.

Team USA was the winner of the Ryder Cup. But, had Team USA lost, they would still have been winners. They competed well bringing forth their best effort. In every competition there is a winner and a loser. But in reality there were no losers here.

The Ryder Cup, and everyone involved, was the winner. The fan base has been expanded. The television audience is truly worldwide. As 21st century technology spreads around the world, major sporting events like the Ryder Cup will continue to grow. These made-for-television events have become a who can do it best competition. Tickets were sold out long before the audience knew who the players were going to be. Staging a weeklong event that daily captured an audience proved, the Ryder Cup can teach a thing or two to the other major sporting events.

PGA of America has morphed into a corporation that specializes in hosting entertainment events. Once a closely-knit group of golf professionals who work daily to please members and give lessons, the PGA has become a huge multi faceted corporation, disguised in a non-profit framework, like the NFL. The PGA has done such an incredible job of creating these entertainment venues that money spending, souvenir buying, throngs will enter a lottery to get a ticket to something that they can't see. The PGA has created an atmosphere where corporations are noticeable by the absence of their corporate tent.

Hazeltine National Golf Club leaped into golf immorality by becoming only the second golf club in America (Pinehurst #2 was the first) to host every major golf event held in the U.S. This rise to stardom truly began in 1991 with the U.S. Open. Hazeltine has passed the test, proving the perfect venue to host major golf events. The now mature golf course that has continued to be improved and will be a regular venue for major golf events. Not because the golf course is so wonderful. Not because the clubhouse is new. Because, Hazeltine that was created to host national golf championships. Its members have embraced the idea of giving up their course for extended periods of time to achieve stardom.

But most importantly, Minnesota's base of golf fans continues to prove to the world that Minnesota's population will support big time golf. Without the fans, Hazeltine would be just another fine private golf club.

PGA of America and European PGA golfers are the big winners. They have proven, perhaps to themselves, that they can play golf at the very highest levels. In match play golf, players have no opportunity to play it safe and play for a routine par. Each player must play every hole for a birdie or better, knowing that par will not win a hole. The 'go for broke' attitude displayed during the Ryder Cup proves that golf can be played aggressively and without fear. Golf fans in the future will be treated to even better scoring because golfers have learned to attempt to knock every shot into the hole.

Ryder Cup Logo Merchandise sales were a huge winner. The Ryder Cup logo will be on display for years to come. Every Minnesota golfer owns a shirt, cap or jacket with a Ryder Cup logo. The question for most is when should I wear it. Do I save it for special occasions or do I wear it with pride now. Many have a cap purchased over the last year bearing a Ryder Cup logo. These hats are already sweat stained and ready for the trash. Do I throw it or do I keep it? The PGA should fan the flames of desire and re-order many of the items most in demand so that those golfers who wished that they had bought another will have the chance.

The red, white and blue replica uniforms of Team USA members will be seen for years to come on Minnesota golf courses. Some have been packed away for future generations to sell at auctions to the highest bidder.

The volunteer uniforms, that most thought were over priced, will be objects of pride as the 2016 Ryder Cup is remembered.

The State of Minnesota was a huge winner. There is not enough money in any marketing budget to purchase the kind of positive images displayed for a week on worldwide television. The weather that started like Minnesota duck hunting weather, turned to Minnesota fall perfect. The blue skies, gentle winds and turning trees gave the foreign visitors and television viewers the dressed-for-the-prom look. Tourism organizations, chambers of commerce, statewide resorts and airlines will use images of Ryder Cup week for years to come in marketing brochures.

Hospitality Venues such as hotels, motels and dining establishments were full to overflowing during the week of Ryder Cup. Hotels were sold out years in advance for prices two or three times rack rate.

Law Enforcement Officers were another big winner. No terrorist incident occurred during Ryder Cup week. Select management from the various law enforcement branches will be hired to organize security details at other major entertainment venues. The fine men and women in blue worked overtime and received overtime pay for their effort. The ripple affect of this increase in paycheck will be felt throughout retail business of all types.

Transportation and Bus Companies were the winners. At no other time in Minnesota history have more buses been put into use for a longer period of time than the week of Ryder Cup. Owners of these transportation companies will be able to reward their employees with a share of the profit and purchase upgraded equipment that will have trickle down affect throughout the entire economy.

Golf Course Operators who have struggled to remain afloat during the recent downturn in the industry hope that the excitement created during the Ryder Cup will have a positive affect on their business. Time will tell?

Which Tech Savvy Entrepreneur will win? Who will emerge from the success of Ryder Cup creating something new to sell to an adoring public? Will it be a new Ryder Cup video game? Will it be a new advertising personality, maybe a razor to shave Ryan Moore's beard. Maybe a new golf ball that leaves a vapor trail to be seen by golf fans like the tracer seen on television replays. We live in times that are changing at warp speed.

Golf, the Ageless Game is the real winner! The game that started with a stick, a round stone and a hole in the ground has remained the same. The equipment has been improved, the players are better trained, but the game of golf remains the same challenge.

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