Dancing with delight (but little rhythm) at the mother of all parties
Graeme McDowell demonstrated some fancy footwork during his Ryder Cup-winning performance — but his celebration antics afterwards are unlikely to see him appear on Strictly Come Dancing.
Europe’s golfing giants — including Northern Irish stars Rory McIlroy and McDowell — finally wound down yesterday after their fairway heroics.
A few hangovers were probably being nursed after countless bottles of champagne were popped long into the night after Europe snatched victory from their US hosts in the dying stages of the event.
Earlier, a euphoric Rory had soaked up the atmosphere and applause from the crowd at the course that had just witnessed the biggest shock in the glittering competition’s 85-year history.
Wrapped in a Northern Ireland flag, the Holywood superstar finally got the chance to share a word with his own hero — Tiger Woods. The two had been kept apart for the second Ryder Cup in a row, and their smiles clearly demonstrated that whatever rivalry existed between the world’s number one and the former golden boy of golf, was friendly.
Moments after the astonishing victory, Rory promised the celebrations would be “off the charts” — and his 11 team-mates and their partners didn’t disappoint.
The party singsongs after the Medinah miracle had a distinctly Ulster twang with Rory, Graeme and vice-captain Darren Clarke — known to celebrate with a few pints of Guinness — revelling in the dramatic 11th hour victory.
The Northern Irishmen caused a few laughs — and painful grimaces — on the practice green at the Medinah Country Club when they broke into an impromptu boogie.
But no-one could begrudge them their moment of relief after the tension that had built up before.
The dance was, after all, a tribute to their captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who strutted his stuff after winning the 1987 Ryder Cup, when the US were defeated for the first time on home soil.
The celebrations had, of course, been transatlantic. Groomsport fan Peter Moore, who manages a supermarket in Holywood, described the European victory as a miracle: “I never gave up, but my heart was in my mouth. Rory was electric. Turning up late didn’t seem to faze him at all.”
Back home in Co Down yesterday, Holywood Golf Club — where Rory’s career started — was virtually deserted after the night of nights before. At Royal Portrush, where Graeme and Darren honed their skills, a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch the previous night’s historic turnaround.
Northern Ireland’s golf fans had witnessed an unbelievable fightback, but many had thought it was mission impossible.
Holywood Club manager Paul Gray said Rory’s greatness had shone through his lateness.
“It shows just how natural a player he is.
“He was able to stay relaxed and play brilliantly,” said Mr Gray.
Betting firms faced a multi-million payout in what was their most expensive ever Ryder Cup. Europe’s unlikely comeback cost Ladbrokes £650,000 and Coral £400,000, while other bookmakers also reported heavy losses.
They may swing on the course, but not on the dancefloor
By Alanna Sloan
Watching Rory and Graeme dancing after the Ryder Cup on Sunday was a bit cringeworthy.
It was more like watching your dad on the dancefloor at a wedding than anything else.
But I’ve no doubt both of them could improve a lot with a few dance classes and be raring to go by the time the next Ryder Cup comes round.
I’ve spoken to Rory a few times at the gym in Holywood where I work and he’s never expressed any interest in learning to dance, but that might change after he sees himself on television! I’ll definitely be dropping him a message on Facebook about it!
I’d be more than happy to give him and Graeme some lessons and get them up to scratch.
Unless they are really, really bad, we could have them ready for their next dance on the course in no time at all!
Alanna Sloan from Belfast runs Dance-Excel and specialises in salsa and Zumba classes