Patriotism at its finest!
Just last week I attended the 2009 Solheim Cup in Sugar Grove, IL held at Rich Harvest Farms, a top 100 rated private golf course. Trying to decide how to sum up my experience is not an easy task. There are so many elements and aspects of this magnificent event on which to draw it is hard to find a focal point. With that said, what I will attempt to do is offer up highlights from my perspective in a series of articles.
For those of you who have never experienced attending an event like this, I would suggest that you keep an eye out for when this event comes close to you and make plans to attend, even if it’s just for the practice rounds. This is like attending an Olympic event in that you are there cheering for your country or collection of countries, in Europe’s case. There were 8 countries represented: Sweden, Norway, England, Wales, Scotland, Spain, France, Italy and the United States of America. Although everyone has their favorite players, the essence of the Solheim Cup is cheering on your TEAM and country.
The sense of patriotic pride that exudes from this event is, at time, overwhelming. The good sportsmanship that is displayed by players and fans alike is wonderful to see and to hear. The Euros, being on foreign soil (although some have chosen to move to the US), were treated with the utmost respect and courtesy from everyone. It was nice to see true competition without any of the negativity that sometimes creeps into sporting events.
Being in the stands on the first tee box chanting and singing at the tops of our lungs alongside a much smaller but extremely vocal European group was quite the experience. Going back and forth cheering for our respective teams and players, there was a sense of good will and humor from both sides. The Euros were extremely creative in adapting new lyrics to old songs and excelled at singing them at the top of their voices. We also had a brave young woman who donned an Uncle Sam outfit for the final day of singles play and to her credit (or insanity) stayed in that get-up ALL day long. Even the players and captains got a kick out of that! We also spotted Captain America onsite at various times during the competition. I don’t know who was wearing that outfit. Suffice it say that some people are ‘braver’ than others.
I will say the universal favorite for the week was the course mascot, Bunker, a beautiful golden retriever who welcomed everyone to the first tee. Everyone fell in love with Bunker!! He could be seen all week long riding in a golf cart to various venues on the course when not attending to his official duty of welcoming players to the 1st tee. There were numerous conversations about kidnapping him but it is good to know none of them were serious.
Patriotism was on major display throughout the week. Seas of US red, white and blue and Euro blue and gold outfits, flags and face paint were overwhelming. The emotionally charged players who were ramping up the volume of cheers as they approached the greens and tee boxes showed sides of their personalities that you rarely see in a ‘regular’ golf event. The greatest part was they (both US and Euro) were always mindful and respectful of their opponents so as not to allow the crowds to interfere with their play. To see the over 120,000 fans, from the very young to very old, fully engaged in the drama that unfolded for 3 very long and exhausting days gave one the sense that women’s golf is alive and well. The Solheim experience is like none other in women’s golf. There is much more to share so please come back to read more.
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