Miracle at Medinah Ryder Cup Recap

RYDER_CUP_MEDINAH2In what’s being called the “Miracle at Medinah”, Team Europe staged one of golf greatest comebacks to win the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in the western suburbs. The event was billed as Chicago’s biggest professional sporting event and the drama more than exceeded the build-up as the Europeans recovered from A 10-6 deficit at the start of Sunday’s play to improbably defeat the United States by 14½ points to 13½.

By nearly every measure, the 2012 Ryder Cup will be considered a success as the golf course and golf competition received favorable reviews and even higher TV ratings. The gripping action of the event at 4PM CT attracted a massive TV audience along with over 200,000 spectators on site throughout the week. The tension and excitement of the Ryder Cup made the action at Medinah “sound like a Bears game” according to NBC reporter Mark Rolfing.

The players and announcers praised the Chicago golf fans for their spirit and ethusiasm. The weather for the matches was spectacular, perfect for the intense fall competition among the best golfers in the world. The man in charge of the golf course, superintendent Curtis Tyrrell deserves a great deal of credit for optimizing the quality and beauty of the golf course despite less than perfect weather conditions throughout the summer, including a month-long drought in July.

Despite nearly unanimous praise for the golf course, former Team Europe captain Colin Montogomerie used his time on the NBC Saturday broadcast to label the Medinah fairways as “poor”. Monty’s remarks came as the European squad were at their lowest point, so the petulant Montgomerie might not have been in a very pleasant mood at the time. However, it was very difficult to find a section of fairway or green that wasn’t perfectly green and groomed.

Although traffic along the west side of the golf course was severely limited due to construction on nearby Rohlwing Road, the overall layout and logistics of the 2012 Ryder Cup worked well. The majority of spectators were shuttled from remote parking lots, which helped minimize congestion in and around Medinah.

Vehicle traffic around Medinah nearly became a major issue as 2012 PGA Champion Rory McIlroy misjudged the local time zone and nearly missed his Sunday tee time. McIlroy received a police escort to the golf course and made his match with minutes to spare.

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Walter Lis

Walter Lis is the managing editor of Chicago Golf Report, which launched in 2010.

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