Watch Darren Clarke break down, watch the Europeans celebrate, and wonder no more why they consider this more important than a major.
Early in the day, the morning air filled with a damp rain and throaty chants from the wild Irish fans, it felt like a Big Ten college football game. Except this was Ohio State against Akron and Akrons not in the Big Ten, just as America hasnt been in the last two Ryder Cup matches.
Tom Lehman sought advice from Dukes Coach K. and UCLAs John Wooden. He had two former Presidents, Bush and Clinton, plus the greatest athlete ever on the grounds in Michael Jordan. Power and fame, though, were no match for heart and soul.
Darren Clarke could win a handful of green jackets, but its doubtful anything will ever supplant what happened here when he adds up the meaningful moments at the end of his career.
It may be true that Tiger enjoys winning majors on his own more than competing in the Ryder Cup with 11 others, a competitive lone wolf forced to hunt with the pack. But to question his desire to win or his commitment to his teammates is disrespectful to the greatest player in the game.
Paul Casey once broke Tigers college records in the Pac 10. He's now looking ready to challenge Woods on occasion at a major. Hes explosive, maturing, and growing in confidence.
Phil Mickelson to his credit carried the PGA TOUR through the first half of the season, but seemed to be a shell of that player after Winged Foot.
Any team needs a collection of good characters and offbeat personalities to go with the great talent, but there seems to be a dearth of those types these days in the head down, straight ahead world of the PGA TOUR.
The Ryder Cup remains an undeniable failing for a generation of American golfers whove otherwise amassed impressive individual records; fair or not, Americans love winners, and in any team event where country is represented, the public's disappointment deepens with a loss.
Even if you bleed red, white and blue, you had to be stone hearted not to cheer for Darren Clarke and applaud Paul Casey and Lee Westwood and yes, even the irrepressible Monty. Theres an awful lot to like about the Europeans.
Remember the PGA TOUR slogan: 'These guys are good'? The European team is better.
The U.S. suffers a bit because it has to do this every year with The Presidents Cup, while the Europeans can ramp up only once every two years.
Another indicator of the size of the modern Ryder Cup is this: for the 2010 spectacle at Celtic Manor in Wales there will be 24 players and 7000 in staff.
By then the $40 hats in the bustling merchandise tent will be $60. The players who were highly criticized for wanting a piece of the pie simply for a charity of their choice back in 1999 dont look so bad, do they?
Dont for a moment think the Americans are the only ones living the high life on tour. A blurb in the Sunday Telegraph related that Lee Westwood enjoys joint ownership of a private jet with Clarke. Westwood recently went on vacation with his family and flew commercially. His 5-year-old son, Sam, boarded the plane and asked: Daddy, what are all these people doing on our airplane?
Anyone longing for the days when the U.S. won by 40 points in basketball and by seven in The Ryder Cup?
If you have the answer as to whats ailing the American Ryder Cup effort, you might also know the radius of Mars.
For what its worth, I asked Westwood after the matches, how often he goes out to dinner with his European Tour brethren. Every single week, he said, drenched in champagne and with tears in his eyes. Colleague Steve Sands has covered the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone two of the last three years and says that every night a handful of European players gather at a round table at Ken Stewarts in Akron for dinner and drinks.
Oscar Wilde, a low handicap Irishman in the literary department, leaves us with this in closing: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.