The War By The Shore’ – 1991 Ryder Cup
This Week We’re On The Coast Of South Carolina
Home of the Most Important Ryder Cup … The War By The Shore!
In 1991 … just as the US was getting back on track after the Gulf War … and US Golf reeling from having not won the Ryder Cup since 1983 … Europe (and the golfing world) traveled to a small island off the coast of South Carolina to again beat-up the Americans. What happened those 3 days brought a new found popularity to golf even from people that weren’t Golfers!
In what became known as “The War By The Shore” started out the first morning of the competition, with American’s Paul Azinger & Chip Beck accusing Seve Ballesteros of clearing his throat during one of Beck’s shots. Which was soon followed by Seve accusing the Americans of cheating. With his integrity challenged, Azinger replied “I can tell you we’re not trying to cheat.” With Ballesteros responding, “Oh no. Breaking the rules and cheating are two different things.”
This intensity between Ballesteros and Azinger pushed these two players, already known for their emotional play … into fiery competitors! And with this now being about honor and integrity, as well as “I’m going to beat your butt” … the intensity produced what may be regarded as one of the most exciting golf events in history, with the Spaniards winning the match on the 17th green.
Though, after 3 days of ‘War’ … the Americans regained The Cup with Seve reportedly firing the last shot of “The American team has 11 nice guys. And Paul Azinger.”
The setting of the Ocean Course just intensified the event. In fact – the 1991 Ryder Cup had been awarded to a course that hadn’t even been built yet! That honor was bestowed upon Pete and Alice Dye, who had only two years to build a seaside course that would host one of the world’s most important golf events.
“When I first walked the land, I fell in love with the site,” recalls Dye. “This narrow, two-and-a-half mile beachfront had beautiful ocean views on one side and vast saltwater marshes on the other. I would have bent down on my knees and begged for the opportunity to build here.”
The Dye’s worked 18-hour days leading up to the Ryder Cup. Yet, while just having started construction … Hurricane Hugo battered Charleston mercilessly in 1989. Which flattened the natural dunes that were a focal point of the golf course.
As the roads, and bridges to the island were closed … Pete had to take a boat back and forth from the mainland. And while building greens, tees, fairways and everything underneath the course that the typical Golfer never sees to help with drainage, they had to also rebuild the flattened dunes back up with bulldozers.
As the golf world was anticipating the 1991 Ryder Cup … the crew finished the course just before the September 27th, 1991 start date
Words can’t describe the human emotion of this Ryder Cup – if you’ve never seen it, or your memory is hazy on this event played nearly 29 years ago … you’ll be happy you watched the video to see the exciting finish of this ‘War By The Shore’