Ryder Cup Memories: 1995 Oak Hill Country Club
By Jim Ward President of Premier Golf
After their win at the Belfry in 1993, the Americans now held possession of the Ryder Cup for four years. The ’95 matches were held at historic Oak Hill Country Club, just outside of Rochester, NY.
Sometimes you have to improvise
We had some rain the first couple of days which caused some of our patrons to leave early and take the coach back to their hotel. As it turns out, we had our coach terminal at a local school, just a short walk from the course. We had two young men working for us at the terminal who refused to accept the fact that some of our guests would miss parts of the Ryder Cup. They found a way into the school ( I never asked how) and got some benches from the gymnasium and a large screen TV which they set up in the school’s main reception. They went to the store and iced down drinks and even found a hot dog vendor! We were able to offer the Ryder Cup on TV with free food and drink. When it stopped raining, many people refused to go back to the Ryder Cup, they were having so much fun. I love it!
It was all my fault
The Americans got up early in the matches and by the end of the second day led by a significant two points. As the Sunday singles started, I remember being a little concerned that the U.S. team would run away with it. We certainly wanted the Americans to win, but we also wanted to maintain the competition that makes the Ryder Cup so special. After all, the Americans had already held the Cup for four years. I remember telling my wife on Sunday that we wanted the Europeans to close the gap. A few hours later, Philip Walton beat Jay Haas 1up to clinch an incredible comeback by the Euros 14.5 to 13.5…My wife still holds me responsible for losing the 1995 Ryder Cup.
Lanny chokes up
My most endearing memory of that Ryder Cup, however, was being in the audience at the Closing Ceremony. Captain Lanny Wadkins was so distraught over losing in such dramatic fashion that he completely choked up in his congratulatory speech. He could not talk. Finally, European Captain Bernhard Gallagher came to the podium, put his arm around Wadkins and said “Can I help you Lanny. I’ve been there, done that”. Wadkins finally regained his composure, looked down at the Ryder Cup on the podium and said “Enjoy that pretty little thing for two years because we’re going to be back fighting like hell in 1997 in Spain”. It was the kind of emotion that can only come with the Ryder Cup.
For the first time, in 1997, the Ryder Cup would be contested on the European continent at Valderrama GC in Sotogrande, Spain.