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Trading swords for golf clubs

Eben Harrell

Top golf professionals say that more than any individual tournament, the Ryder Cup, a team event contested between the United States and Europe every two years, is by far the most nerve racking.With individual PGA tournaments often offering millions of dollars in prize money to the winner, it remains that a tournament with no prize money or influence over world rankings is still considered the most elite, pressure-filled event in the world.Sure some of the pressure has to do with patriotism. But it is also harks back to something deeper. Local golfer and spiritualist Tom Crum has pointed out the similarities between the wielding of a golf club and the swordplay of warrior cultures. Is it possible that the seemingly inexplicable pressure of team play is in some way related to the subconscious memory of our ancestors emerging from their tents to do battle against neighboring villages?Fortunately, we’ve become more civilized since then, although anyone who witnessed the primal behavior at the “Battle at Brookline Country Club” two years ago might disagree. The swords have been traded for seven irons, bullets for balata. And it’s become every golfer’s dream to play in a Ryder Cup.This year, the best local golfers have that chance. The Aspen-Vail Ryder Cup, played every two years like the real Ryder Cup, has become one of the highlights of the two towns’ rivalry. The teams consist of 20 local golfers from either the Aspen or Vail valleys; no more than 10 can be professionals. The event is played over two days, and will be hosted this year by the Vail Golf Club on September 27 and 28. Aspen captain Sean Groover is currently in the process of selecting the team.”It’s just different in team format,” Groover said. “I need guys that can make that crucial putt with the whole team watching them on the last hole.”Unlike in years past, this Ryder Cup will be a charity tournament, with proceeds going to two Aspen locals. Pat Culley, the paralyzed Gents of Aspen rugby player, and Aspenite Sarah Smith, who recently lost her husband Eric Smith to cancer but became pregnant with twins via artificial insemination after his death, will be the recipients of tournament proceeds. Aspen Junior Golf will be a secondary beneficiary.For information, contact Aspen captain Sean Groover at 925-6126.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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