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Golfers in the Chippewa Valley get excited for Wisconsin’s first Ryder Cup

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Twelve of the best golfers from the United States and Europe are in Wisconsin for one of the most prestigious competitions the sport has to offer.

In July of last year, the 43rd Ryder Cup was postponed another year with safety in mind for both players and fans. Finally, the guys hit the links today at Whistling Straights Golf Course for their first practice rounds. People in the Chippewa Valley say they’re looking forward to the weekend action.

“I’ve never been to whistling straights but it’s on my bucket list. It’s like wow what a course!” said Pat Clifton of Lake Hallie.

One of golf’s biggest tournaments is just around the corner, taking place in Sheboygan County. The Ryder Cup, which is held every two years since 1927, was last in the United States in 2016. And, has never been hosted in the badger state before.

“I’m excited I think it’s huge for the state. I really want Brooks Koepka to have a good match. I really wish I could get out there to see him play,” said Bob Matthews of Eau Claire.

“If you’re from Wisconsin and the Ryder Cup is in Wisconsin you got to be excited about it and even if it wasn’t in Wisconsin, being an avid golfer, you always want USA to win. Yes, the Europeans have some very good players, but you always got to cheer for the home country,” Clifton said.

The Wisconsin course is anticipating about 45,000 golf fanatics each day, lucky fans like Luke Ekstrom from Eau Claire. This will be his second Ryder Cup.

“In 2016 we got to go to Hazeltine and I had never got to go to a Ryder Cup before and it was a new experience and it was honestly unlike anything I’ve ever been to before like crazier than football games the crowd was unreal,” said Ekstrom.

Ekstrom says with the tournament so close by, he knew he had to get back in the stands.

“It’s the camaraderie. It’s an individual sport and then they get to play together in a team event … and everyone gets to and cheer for everybody and America,” Ekstrom said.

Others, still plan to cheer for the U.S. From the Chippewa Valley.

“Mix it up between the Badgers game they’ll be playing on Saturday too ... hopefully the boys can take one home here in Wisconsin,” said Matthews.

“We will have it on the TV a lot of people will be here watching it and everyone will be rooting for the United States having fun and just loving it,” Clifton said.

Europe has won four out of the last five Ryder Cups. Both teams will be out practicing the course the next few days. The competition officially tees off Friday.

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