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Players Return to the Island

2001 Warburg Cup The Ryder Cup was first played in 1927. But the Matches we know today were given its emotional birth a decade ago in Kiawah Island, SC.
In 1985, the Europeans won for the first time since being allowed to join Great Britain & Ireland six years prior. And stubbornly enough, they held onto the Cup for the following half-dozen years. Along the way, they also won for the first time on American soil (1987, Dublin, Ohio) since the inception of the Matches 60 years before.
So as the competition returned to the United States in 1991, the pressure was palpable. And it was furthered when after two days the teams remained deadlocked at eight points apiece.
Under Ryder Cup rules, the reigning champions need but halve the overall Matches in order to retain the Cup; therefore, the United States needed an outright victory on Sunday.
And thats just what they received. In the final singles match, on the final hole, Germanys Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot par putt that would have won his match against Hale Irwin, and consequently given the Europeans a 14-14 overall tie.
As it was, the match was halved and the U.S. won back the Cup with a 14 to 13 victory.
Sunday was unlike any other in Ryder Cup history. Emotions were carried from match to match through the ocean winds. The partisan patrons were boisterous. And fragile nerves gave way to some deviated psyches.
It was, and will forever be known as The War by the Shore.
Now ten years later, some of the prime participants from those Matches return to the Ocean Course, though under more casual circumstances.Friday will mark the beginning of the inaugural UBS Warburg Cup, where a 12-man United States team will take on a 12-man team from the rest of the world.
Click here for the Warburg Cup format
Each team is comprised of six players at least 50 years old, and six players 40-49 years of age.
Arnold Palmer will captain the American side, while South African Gary Player leads the World Team.
Click here to meet the Warburg Cup teams
Eight players from the 91 Ryder Cup Matches have returned to the Island. Langer, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance were on the losing side a decade ago. Irwin, Raymond Floyd, Mark OMeara and Mark Calcavecchia were among the victors.
Aside from Langer, no player suffered emotional scars more so than Calcavecchia.
The 1989 British Open champion blew a 4-up lead with four holes to play against Colin Montgomerie, finishing triple bogey, bogey, triple bogey, bogey to halve the match.
He had imploded. Left without speech, just tears for expression.
Such meltdowns arent expected this week, for the simple fact that this is a friendly competition among middle-aged men.
Its an event more made for television than played for country.
And when this competition comes complete Sunday afternoon, it will be remembered only with 'War' in its sponsor's name, not its moniker.