They call the home Ryder Cup crowd the 13th man. Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods are counting on that 13th man to morph into tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans at Medinah.
“I know the Chicago fans are good fans,” said Furyk, who will play in his eighth Ryder Cup. “I know they are loud. I know they are boisterous. That's what I'm expecting to hear.”
Some 40,000 fans will stuff Medinah each day, and Furyk said the 3,000 or so expected to support Europe “can make a lot of noise. They have their soccer chants and it’s part of their culture to be loud. But I know that 37,000 Americans can drown out 3,000 Europeans if they want to.”
Furyk said it’s the job of the U.S. players to “make a good start, make some birdies, engage the crowd and show some emotion ourselves. I think if we can do that, the rest of the world will find out how good the sports fans here in Chicago are.”
Woods said of the local fans: “This is a great sporting town. They have supported the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, you name it. They love their sport, period. For us to come here just adds to that.”
Woods has a phenomenal record on Chicago-area courses, having won at Cog Hill for the Western Open in 1997, 1999 and 2003 and then at Dubsdread again for the BMW Championship in 2007 and 2009. And he won the last two majors contested at Medinah, the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships.
“It’s a different golf course,” Woods said, referring to the reconstruction of 11 greens and Rees Jones’ re-do of the 15th hole, now a driveable par-4. “I will have to do my homework.”
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