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The Ryder Cup & College Golf
3 min read
This Friday marks the start of the 41st Ryder Cup tournament. Since the competition was first established nearly a century ago, in 1927, it has seen some of the world’s best golfers participate, from Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo, to Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods - and this year is no exception. While US captain Davis Love III describes his team as “the best ever assembled”, Europe promises to put up a good fight, with major tournament winners including McIlroy, Willett and Rose on the roster. However, while these players are living the dream, representing their home team today, many of them started their careers by playing collegiate level golf. Team Europe’s captain Darren Clarke moved from his native County Tyrone in Ireland to the United States as a teen, in order to chase his love of golf. Before going on to win a massive 22 worldwide tournaments, including the Open in 2011, he graduated from Wake Forest University, Indiana, where he played college golf for the Demon Deacons. This week, Clarke hopes to lead his team to victory in the tournament he himself has triumphed in, four times, across his playing amateur career. Not one to be outshone by Team Europe, USA’s captain Davis Love III is also hoping for a victory, with an incredibly strong team. The University of North Carolina graduate attended the school between 1983 and 1985, managing to be named all-American multiple times before leaving after his sophomore year. He then went onto enjoy a substantial career in golf, emulating that of his father, the late golf legend Davis Love Jr, and at the peak of his career was ranked third in the world. Another stand out member on Team Europe’s roster is the reigning Masters champion, Danny Willett. A former FirstPoint client, Danny swapped Sheffield for Alabama, when he enrolled in Jacksonville State University in 2005. After leaving the school, Willett enjoyed a multitude of victories, culminating in April 2016, when he walked away with the coveted green jacket after beating Jordan Spieth to the top spot in the Masters. This victory will be something Willett will be hoping to equal this weekend in Minnesota, when he takes to the course as part of Clarke’s Team Europe. After finishing in second position at the Open Championship in July earlier this year, Phil Mickelson will be hoping for a stellar performance on USA’s part, to prove that he is back for good. Mickelson has enjoyed a long golf career, after graduating from Arizona State University in 1992, which he attended on a full scholarship. During his time at the school, he became the second college golfer ever to earn first team All-American honours across all four seasons, and his successes continued after graduation. With five major championship wins under his belt, and a professional career spanning almost 25 years, Mickelson certainly is a great addition to Team USA.