Like beef brisket, chili, Dr Pepper and Lone Star Beer, this year's United States Ryder Cup Team has a definite Texas flavor.
According to Texas-based golf writer Art Stricklin, no fewer than four players on the roster -- Jordan Spieth, Hunter Mahan, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed -- all came from Texas junior golf programs.
RYDER CUP FLASHBACK: Team USA wins at Brookline in 1999
Seems like Texas has been at the forefront of Ryder Cup play for some time. Think about Justin Leonard's performance in 1999, with Ben Crenshaw captaining the team. Northern Texas PGA Executive Director Mark Harrison certainly remembers.
“When we last won the Ryder Cup in 2008, we had three former junior golfers from our Section on the team in Hunter, Chad Campbell and Justin Leonard, they played great and were instrumental," Harrison said. "When we won in 1999, Justin made the key putt on 17 at Brookline and Texan Ben Crenshaw was the captain.
"Texas has a storied history with the Ryder Cup and I’m confident that Jordan, Hunter, Jimmy and Patrick will continue that tradition this year.”
BUILDING A WORLD CLASS TEAM: Team USA 1999
Oh, and don't forget Lee Trevino and Jack Burke. And a couple of guys who won a few tournaments -- and Ryder Cups -- in their day: Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
Of course, other states -- California and Georgia, for example -- can claim a pretty strong Ryder Cup connection in 2014. But since Texans are known for proudly promoting their state as the biggest and best, where would the fun be in pointing that out?
As they say in the South, "it ain't bragging if you can back it up."
RYDER CUP HISTORY: All-time player records
Heading into the final day at the 2002 Ryder Cup, it couldn't have been any closer. The Curtis Strange led U.S. team was tied with Sam Torrance's European squad, 8-8, with just the Sunday singles play remaining at The Belfry.
The European's took 4 1/2 points in the first five matches to set the tone. Eventually, they would go on to win 15 1/2-12 1/2, with then rookie Paul McGinley (the 2014 European Captain), claiming the decisive half-point in a match with Jim Furyk.
Since 2002, the Europeans have won five of the last six Ryder Cups.
Here's a breakdown of the 2002 matches:
Tiger Woods wrote a wide-ranging blog that was published on www.TigerWoods.com on Thursday, where he opened up about his coaching situation (there isn't one) and Tom Watson's three U.S. Ryder Cup Captain's Picks -- Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson.
"As for my coaching situation, there is no hard-and-set rule on this," Woods wrote. "I may just do it on my own. I'm keeping my options very, very open. I need to get healthy first before I start back and see how I feel. That's the No. 1 concern. And from there, then I can start deciding where I want to go with it."
Woods said he has consulted with close friend and former Stanford teammate Notah Begay III.
"He's like an older brother," said Woods of Begay. "We've discussed my options and what direction he thinks I should go. He's just trying to help out any way he can."
Woods wrote that he hasn't watched much golf, but he'll be tuning in to next week's Ryder Cup.
"I think Tom Watson made three great captain's picks," he said. "Hunter Mahan hits the ball on a string and is one of the best ball-strikers out here. And when he putts well, he wins, hands down. Webb Simpson is a great grinder. He's a great person to have in these team events because he can get up and down and make putts. And Keegan Bradley is just a ball of energy. He's the guy you want on the team because he's fired up, anxious to play and wants to do anything he can to help out his teammates. He's just fun to be around."
The only other time in his professional career in which Woods has missed out on the Ryder Cup was 2008 (he was recovering from knee surgery)... the last time the U.S. won.
In just eight days, the 40th Ryder Cup gets underway from Gleneagles in Scotland. We cannot wait.
With today being Thursday (#throwbackthursday), we figured we'd throw it back to the 2010 matches at Celtic Manor in Wales and one of the most fantastic and comical photos ever taken.
Mark Pain from the Dail Mail produced the snap you see above that was a viral sensation.
First of all, the photo is spectacular, as it looks like the golf ball struck by Tiger Woods is about to smash into the camera's lens. That alone makes it awesome.
However, talk about stealing the thunder! Check out the guy to the right with the mustache, wig and cigar. How funny is that?
The Daily Mail tracked down the man behind the costume shortly after those matches.
As it turns out, the man -- Rupesh Shingadia -- was merely trying to show his support for the European Team and this was his spin on dressing like Miguel Angel Jimenez.
We're not sure he pulled that off... but the photo is unforgettable nonetheless.
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Sahalee Country Club
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