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The practice putting green and Belfry Hotel

Ryder Cup Memories: The Last Time the U.S. Won on European Soil

March 15, 2018
Ryder Cup

With all of the excitement about the 2018 team, it doesn’t seem possible but the last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup on European soil was 1993 when the Americans rallied for a 15-13 victory at the Belfry in England.

Jim Ward, Premier Golf’s president, was at the Belfry overseeing the company’s first opportunity to manage a European event.

Here are Jim’s wonderful memories of that special Ryder Cup:

I can still see Davis Love’s hands triumphantly raised in the air after holing a six foot putt on 18 to win it for the Americans.

Yet, my favorite memory happened during the Saturday afternoon four ball matches. By now, we had learned the best strategy for watching the matches is to pick a hole early, secure a good vantage point, and let the matches come to you.

This is exactly what my wife Sandy and I did. We went to the fifth hole to watch the fourball matches come through. As it turned out there were very few Americans there and we found ourselves right in the middle of a group of  British fans. There were two fathers and their young sons right in front of us. As the day wore on, I carried on a friendly verbal battle with everyone around us, especially the two boys. We took great pleasure shouting “USA” anytime the Americans did something good.

Eventually, Corey Pavin and Lanny Wadkins came through in their match with Bernhard Langer and Barry Lane. We watched as the Euros knocked their shots to within ten feet. Corey Pavin was next to play his shot. Suddenly, and I really don’t know what made me do it, but before Pavin played his shot, I turned around to all my new friends, with my hands a foot apart, and said “Watch my man Corey stiff it!” Well, you can look it up, Corey Pavin knocked it right in the hole from about 150 yards for an amazing Eagle 2. I was wearing a bright, American flag sweater so when I threw up my hands to celebrate, Corey picked me out as one of the few Americans in the crowd.

With a big smile, Corey picked his ball out of the hole and as he walked by us he casually tossed the ball to me. Without thinking, I gave the ball to one of the boys I had been teasing all afternoon. Actually, I wish I had that ball today, but I wouldn’t trade it for my memories of those stunned British fans or for the picture I have hanging in my office of that youngster with that ball.