Breaking golf etiquette and history, this year's Ryder Cup crowd of 45,000-plus fans in Minnesota broke into a spirited, booming rendition of God Bless America at the first tee on Friday morning. Some attendees said it was unlike anything they've ever seen before at a golf tournament, and was louder than what's often heard at most sports stadiums. The crowd's magical spin worked, because for the first time since 1975, every U.S. player won at least one match. And for the first time since 2008, the Ryder Cup is staying in America.
Yahoo called the singing incident the "most electric experience in all of golf," indicating the Ryder Cup stands were packed an hour before Justin Rose struck the event's first shot. The impromptu singing of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" was followed by cheers of "U-S-A." Red, white and blue flags also were waved by many.
Friday's supportive patriotic gesture came as a number of athletes have been protesting the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," most notably the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.
Ryder Cup attendees also mixed in chants for golf's king Arnold Palmer, and one of his golf bags was perched on the tee box. It was the first goose-bump moment in an event yielded more this weekend.
Founded in 1927, the Ryder Cup is a men's golf competition held every two years between teams from Europe and the United States. The venue alternates between courses in the United States and Europe. The Ryder Cup is named after the English businessman Samuel Ryder who donated the trophy. The event is jointly administered by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe.
Europe's Ryder Cup team members were going for their country's fourth straight victory. But the 17-11 victory of this year's USA team over Europe was their biggest rout in 35 years at the Ryder Cup. Spectators said this year wasn't about being maybe the best team ever assembled: The American golfers truly were a team, and that was all that mattered.
This year's contest was held at Hazeltine Golf Club.