SI Vault
November 15, 1999
What happened on the 17th green that Sunday afternoon is called home field advantage.—JERRY LESAK, Ambridge, Pa.
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November 15, 1999


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The photograph of the celebration depicts what I expected. Not one American player, player's wife, caddie or fan came between the hole and Jos� Mar�a Olaz�bal's ball mark. No one stepped in his line. The celebration may have been excessive, but under the circumstances it should have happened—and I'm glad it did.
BEV DAVIS, Radford, Va.

I fail to understand why Leonard is being hailed as the Ryder Cup hero simply because he made one long putt and was responsible for winning 1� points in the competition. The U.S. victory was a team triumph. If there was a hero, it was Hal Sutton, who had 3� points.
BILL TEMPLETON, Shreveport, La.

The only thing obnoxious about our guys' monumental performance was the shirts.

I'm as glad as the next guy that the U.S. came back to win the Ryder Cup, but the premature celebration on the 17th green was an affront to everything that golf stands for: self-discipline, integrity, common sense and sportsmanship.

When a baseball player hits a homer in the top of the ninth of the seventh game of the World Series to help his team take the lead, the team celebrates like mad, even though the opposing team can tie the score in the bottom of the ninth. When a back runs for a touchdown with 58 seconds to play in the Super Bowl to put his team ahead by three, his team celebrates like mad, even though the opposing team still has the opportunity to get into field goal range and tie the score. For a brief moment on the 17th green on the final day of the 1999 Ryder Cup, something peculiar happened: Golf actually imitated sport.
DOUGLAS J. CASA, Storrs, Conn.

It would have been a memorable act of sportsmanship if captain Ben Crenshaw had Justin Leonard concede Olaz�bal's putt on the 17th after the disruption ceased.
MICHAEL B. MEYERS, Middletown, Md.

Happy Together
Rick Reilly has hit the nail on the head with his A Change of Heart column (THE LIFE OF REILLY, Oct. 4). Watching the U.S. players turn an individual sport into a team effort was captivating.

Congratulations to Reilly for describing the behavior of David Duval and the rest of the U.S. team after their dramatic victory as great and appropriate. This boorish, shameful and ridiculous celebration was just what the game of golf, and Duval, needed.
BEN HOPPE, Kennewick, Wash.

The argument that the U.S. team became one big happy family on Sunday is easy to make in retrospect. The real story would have been if the same love-fest had occurred in the face of a loss.
DAVE CUMMINGS, South Portland, Maine

Reilly is sadly mistaken if he thinks the spoiled, ego-driven U.S. team members have changed their ways. On Monday, it was back to the same old routine of private jets, dark glasses and contempt for the fans who make them famous. It's easy to be patriotic one weekend every other year.
ANDREW WITTEN, Jacksonville

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