Vaught’s note: Jessica Cornelius of Stanford, a former Kentucky Women’s Amateur champion, is in Minnesota working as a volunteer at the Ryder Cup that will include Kentucky’s J.B. Holmes. She will share updates on her experience all week.
By JESSICA CORNELIUS
Tuesday was warm up day at the Ryder Cup, not only for the players but for fans. The 24 players, 12 representing the USA and 12 from “across the pond,” practiced their skills with captains, vice-captains, and swing coaches watching their every move.
Some played 9 holes Tuesday while others played more. Captains were busy watching the players gait, attitude and performance in warm-up similar to a handicapper at Keeneland. The all important pairings are still yet to be decided.
The fans were draped in red, white and blue and warming up their voices to Team USA. The Euros, though fewer in number, are always obvious and quite loud. They get stared at a lot by otherwise civil golf enthusiasts.
Tuesday was the celebrity scramble USA vs Euro. Headliner for USA was Michael Phelps. He was easy to pick out from 250 yards with his long, lanky frame. I saw him hit a massive drive down #1 splitting the fairway then shank a few, but he didn’t care. He was proud to be picked to experience what few do. He was engaging with fans on every hole, truly appreciative of the cheers he so rightly deserved. Arnie would have been proud.
Martina Navratilova was one of the Euros celeb and she played barefoot!! It was windy and about 50 degrees and she played BAREFOOT. Some locals, definitely used to the weather, even questioned her sanity (instead of her game). Both were questionable.
And speaking of the locals, the most friendly bunch of people I’ve been around. Even on the freeways, bumper to bumper, they don’t speed, don’t lay on their horn and always let you change lanes.
The players won’t notice, they are preparing to play for their country. Multi Multi Millionaires, tops in their sport, playing for free, in front of millions from across the globe under the most pressure they will face in their career. You can see it in their eyes, they smile, they sign autographs, but they don’t see you. The pressure is already building…… and I can’t wait.