Categorized | Lifestyle, Society

Indonesian Ryder Cup

By: Anthony King

Picture 3What does Gleneagles in Scotland have in common with Jakarta? Apart from both places including a multitude of lovers of ‘water of life’ or Single Malt whisky, both hosted the Ryder Cup this year. Yes  you read this correctly, as a replica trophy was contested for on the links of Cengkareng and using the same basic format as that used a few weeks earlier in Gleneagles.

However, there is one big variation and that is in Indonesia the trophy is played for each year whereas the real Ryder Cup is biennial. Initially the Indonesian tournament was staged at Rainbow Hills but several years back it moved venue to its current home and display place for the Trophy. The move coincided when the principal sponsor [Navigat] joined and took the competition to new heights which are being used as the base format ever since.

The evening before the competition saw all players gather in the Sari Pan Pacific for a meal, the first day’s match draws and distribution of the shirts for the following days.  The Americans were full of confidence as they managed to take the trophy by a narrow margin in 2013 and definitely felt they were going to retain it for another year. Each of the European and American captains had selected a core team of 12 players [plus a few reserves in case work or other commitments meant a player could not play for three continuous days]. However, this year  the Americans had to expand their empire and draw upon some remote ‘colonial’ parts of USA such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada in order to fill the team. Certainly expectations and interest started to mount and talk of who was going to do what to whom was vibrating around the dinner table; something that increased as each pairing was announced.

Picture 1The format is Day 1 fourball better ball; Day 2 Foursomes; Day 3 Singles; with every day using the Championship Black tees.  At the end of each day’s play the teams gather for a meal, review of the day’s play and results together with hearing the following day’s pairings. This is where the captains’ strategies emerge and definitely there were some surprises in who was paired together and against whom they were pitted. Without any doubt,  the most challenging and taxing  selection is Day 2 as the Captains have to select players whose game can compliment each other and whose characters harmonise. Additionally, there is a forbidden word in this format and that is “sorry” …….. even when you are playing your shot from a part of the course that you have never seen before!!

The First Day traditionally has been the strong day for the Americans but this year saw Europeans  take a two point lead although most matches; with the exception of the European past Captain and the winner of the Bali Classic taking apart their opposition 6:5; were sufficiently close that they could have gone either way.

Second day could have been a disaster for the Europeans but thanks to the final three pairings all picking up points they edged further ahead by another single point. Once again the matches were evenly balanced and it came down to the stronger nerves that decided the majority of these matches.

Picture 2So entering the final day with Europe three points ahead, it meant that the Americans had to replicate the Medina feat of the Europeans a few years previously and pull back a large deficit. The European Captain was heard to say that he put out his potentially stronger players at the head of the field and was clearly expecting to gain the necessary points early. This message either had not got to the Americans or they ignored it as at the halfway stage it appeared that the Americans may actually pull off the big comeback. In fact, at the turn the Americans were not only going to retain the cup but actually win it. This struck a discomforitng chord with the European Captain who chivvied his players to dig deep and pull the ‘rabbit from the hat’. Slowly but surely the team started to wear down the resilience of the Americans and gradually they started to climb back into their respective matches. However, it was left to the captain in the penultimate group to get ahead on the 18th hole, for the first and only time in the match, for the Europeans to regain the trophy and then a scrambling half in the final match, where the American captain charged his first putt allowing the Europeans a comfortable two putt, meant that Day 3 ended all square.

So the competition ended with Europeans regaining the Ryder Cup by 13 ½  :  10 ½ and all of this three day excitement was  captured through stills and videos by MMS Dream Team.  During the presentation there was hilarity as both teams had awards for the MVP and LVP [Least Valuable Player] distributed.

Eager anticipation is already evident as players talk about next year’s event and whether they will retain or regain the magnificent trophy.

If you are an avid European or American golfer based here in Jakarta please feel free to get in touch with me for consideration in future Ryder Cups held  in Jakarta: anthonygwking@yahoo.co.uk

About Anthony King

Anthony is the archetypal expat who started his globe trotting back in the late 70's. Having visited and played golf in all bar one continent he is still trying to find the course that suits a left handed golfer. His company is based in Singapore but he remains a member of JGCC and several of the local golfing societies.

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