After the United States celebrated a victory over Europe in the 37th Ryder Cup, Kentuckian Kenny Perry said the residual effect of the matches would influence youngsters across the Commonwealth to take up golf.
I don't know about the kids, but I'm ready to tee it up again tomorrow. Watching the Americans win has me fired up!
Several of us media types were trying to remember the last time we had as much fun covering an event. Sure, several Final Fours and a couple of bowls game were fun, but with all due respect, nothing comes close as being at Valhalla all week and seeing the party-like atmosphere on the course Sunday afternoon. Covering last week's Ryder Cup is at the top of my list.
The final day proved powerful and emotional.
Remembering the 24 pros were playing not for money, but for the love of the sport and their countries, and for the tradition of the Ryder Cup, it truly was amazing to see how these guys responded, time and again, to perfectly executed shots, and the roars and jeers from the crowd. Fist pumps and high fives were as plentiful as birdies and pars.
And the 40,000 fans who lined the course, from tees to greens, were deliriously wonderful. Maligned by the foreign press and at least one European golfer (you know who you are, Lee Westwood), the galleries were incredibly loud and passionate in their cheers for the Americans, and from what I saw first hand, rather respectful toward Nick Faldo's guys.
The U.S. relinquished possession of the Ryder Cup in 2001 and hadn't had a sniff of it since. But captain Paul Azinger's plan, which has been well-documented, was executed perfectly. By winning 16 1/2 to 11 1/2, the Americans pulled off their biggest win since 1981.
Fans of golf in the Bluegrass had to be especially proud of homegrown products Perry and J.B. Holmes. Making the Ryder Cup team was priority No. 1 for Perry this year. A couple of weeks ago Perry reminded us that playing in the matches might be a double-edged sword for him: folks might only remember his play in Ryder Cup instead of the 12 career wins he has on tour.
Perry was downright giddy after the U.S. clinched the Cup. "I said all along that this would define my career. But you know what? This MAKES my career," he told the media, as he walked into the Valhalla clubhouse, hoping to change shoes.
Seeing Perry hug his father, Ken, was one of the more memorable moments on Sunday. The elder Perry was clad in his usual bibbed overalls and sported sneakers on his feet. The 84-year-old from Franklin walked the course, following his son. Incidentally, also in tow, was Governor Steve Beshear, with wife Jane.
Azinger's selection of Holmes was panned by more than a few so-called experts, including NBC's golf analyst, Johnny Miller. How fitting, then, that Miller had to eat crow on the broadcast, especially after watching Holmes win a point for his team, closing out his match against Soren Hansen on Sunday.
I wonder what Miller was thinking after watching Holmes' jaw-dropping tee shot on 17? Then, Holmes deftly knocked his short approach shot to within two feet of the cup, setting up his birdie putt that ended Hansen's day.
My new favorite golfer is Boo Weekly. Not only was the guy spectacular all week, but he was a quote machine afterward. Who will ever forget his analogy of being stuck with a needle, like a dog chasing a bunny quote? He topped that on Sunday night, when asked, now that he had caught that bunny, to describe how it tasted.
"Like chicken," Weekly said. His 11 teammates and the dozens of reporters inside the media tent roared with laughter.
Finally, I've never seen anything quite like the celebration that occurred on the balcony of the clubhouse. Seeing the Americans shower one another with champagne was priceless. That moment ranks up there with any on-field or on-court celebrations I've seen.
Party all night
At last word, the victory celebrations lasted well into the night on Sunday. Witnesses in Louisville say the Europeans, despite losing the Cup, partied until the sun came up.
I'm told one American found his way into the Europeans' celebration. You guessed it. Weekly.
Those are the highlights... stay tuned.