It was another amazing day in Louisville as the American team took care of business and won the Ryder Cup. The atmosphere at Valhalla was absolutely electric and one of the greatest crowds I have ever seen for any sport. The crowd was massive and overjoyed and gave support to the USA team at every possible moment. The tension at the course was remarkable, but when a great shot was hit, the release was eardrum-popping as cheers for Kentucky boys JB Holmes and Kenny Perry and adopted fan favorites like Boo Weekley and Anthony Kim roared through the trees. It was a great weekend, made even more special by the fact that it was also great for the state. The crowds at Valhalla represented the Bluegrass well and nearly every player commented that they were the best ever for an event in America. This event showcases what a great sports state this is, but also what great people comprise the Commonwealth. Everyone was loud and energetic, but also respectful of the European players. It was a special weekend and I hope you got the opportunity at some point to make your way down and be a part of it.
I have some good stories to include in the coming days and weeks, but here are some Ryder Cup notes, interwoven with some UK football and basketball news making the way around the bend…..
— It cannot be overstated what a tremendous performance the Kentucky guys put on today. Kenny Perry lived every Kentuckian’s dream, playing in his home state, representing his country and producing other-worldly results. He hit every putt when he needed to and his emotion after his victory was palpable. Afterwards he told me that he was “Kentucky to the core, and these fans are too.” JB Holmes was also great, hitting the most important shot of the day, his wedge to two feet on 17. While getting publicity for Campbellsville, Kentucky (and sporting the hottest wife/girlfriend of the US team), Holmes made his alma mater proud. After his birdie on 16, a loud C-A-T-S chant was made by a few fans and JB acknowledged them with a fist pump…..that, and he gave me a good “‘SUP HOLMES” soundbite in honor of Beisner. These two were terrific.
— Somehow I found my way inside the ropes during the celebration on 17 and witnessed the change in Phil Mickelson personality up close. He was nice enough to agree to talk to me and while he was quiet and barking at a fan before we began, the minute I turned the recorder on, he got that slight Phil smile and was very gracious. I never know for sure what I think of Phil, but he did talk to a random blogger with a sunburn and cargo shorts….so he cant be all that bad.
— Part of the reason I really enjoyed this event is that it had more of a “common man feeling” than your average golf outing. Whether it was the greatness of BOOOOOO Weekley and his alligator wrestling or the Kentucky crowd doing the wave, it was my kind of sporting crowd. The team shared that attitude as well, as seen by Paul Azinger’s comment at the closing ceremonies, where he thanked the Valhalla superintendent and his crew and promised “the whole team is going to come down and hang out with you.” My kind of guy.
— The only substantive news from the UK football field is the report from the Herald Leader that the Wide Receiving corp has been narrowed to Dicky Lyons, Kyrus Lanxter, EJ Adams, Eric Adeymeni, Matt Roark, and McCaskill. This leaves out EJ Fields and Aaron Boyd, both of whom had seen some limited action early on. It will be interesting to see how this plays out this week and if the team sticks to the plan, but it looks as if six receivers will be the corp for the next few weeks.
— American fans and sports teams need songs. Throughout the week, the Euro fans were singing songs, the best of which came today when Miguel Angel Jimenez was about to tee off at the first hold. To the tune of “Yellow Submarine”, they sang….
Miguel Has Got a Great Ponytail
A Great Pony Tail
A Great Pony Tail
We need songs. Any suggestions?
— Great people watching today…..I nearly ran over former Governor Ernie Fletcher, Michael Jordan was milling about and John Clay was putting the “white socks with sandals” vibe in the media center. Exactly what you would want….
— Scott Van Pelt let me interview him and his floral tie today and after talking golf, we spoke about basketball. He said that he loved Kentucky’s passion and said that we had the “best fan base in all of college basketball.” See, you knew you liked him.
— Tennessee’s basketball team got two great 2010 commitments this weekend from Josh Selby and Jordan Mcrae . As much as it bothers me to say it, Bruce Pearl is here to stay….that means great pictures and sweaty orange jackets for years to come.
— In the post-victory celebration (seen above), I was below on the practice green as the fans chanted the various players names. Chants of “HUN-TER MA-HAN” and “J-B HOL-MES” went loud and proud. From the side however, all of a sudden I heard a “TUR-KEY HUN-TER”…..and some KSR fans waved approval. Gotta love the Kentucky Sports Radio fans….
One last thing that shows the greatness of UK fans….as JB walked up the fairway on 17, very close to closing out the Ryder Cup, I overheard one UK fan look at another and say, “now if we can just get Daniel Orton, this will be a hell of a few weeks.” Aww UK, it never stops….
More throughout the day….the response to the “Who Wants to Be a Blogger” contest has been tremendous and the entries are really fabulous so far. We will have a hard time cutting it down to 10, but I have been asked by a couple of folks if we can extend the deadline to Monday at midnight…..so that we will. But that will be the final cutoff. Email your entry to [email protected] We are back to our regular schedule tomorrow, so stay tuned…..