When it comes to golf, you will find it hard to find two more avid enthusiasts than Leo and Mary Mather from Rathangan.
As members of Cill Dara golf club and having marshalled for three Ryder Cups now, the pair have a huge appreciation for how the pros play.
“Ryder Cups are totally different. You have the best players in the world and there are two teams, it’s more like a match. The atmosphere is brilliant. It was just magical in Medinah and the way Europe came back from nothing. It was awesome,” said Mary.
The couple travelled over to Chicago for the tournament when ran from September 25 to 30th.
It’s not clear how many marshals travelled from Ireland but Mary and Leo didn’t bump into any of them, such is the scale of the event with 4,500 volunteers offering their services in total. Not all of these end up marshalling on the course with many assigned to work in merchandising pavilions or other duties.
The couple were assigned to the 15th tee where they got to see the players in close quarters. They worked four four hour shifts - three of those on the practice days.
“When we volunteered at Celtic Manor in Wales, we met one of the chief marshals and he invited us to come and marshal at Medinah,” explained Mary. Leo said they also volunteered at the K Club which was very special because it was on home ground.
“In Medinah, the Americans thought they had it won going into the final day but Europe came back. We were standing at the 15th at 1pm and there was a big notice board on the tee just beside us. You could see things start to change. There had been huge screams and roars around the course but it started to get quieter as the day went on. Then the score board all started to turn blue. When Woods and Molinari went through 15, Europe were wining,” outlined Leo.
As the players left 15, Mary and Leo followed them on to the next hole.
“We were half way up 18 when Kaymer sank the winning put. We couldn’t see but you could feel it. All the Americans were very disappointed and all the Europeans were cheering,” he added.
Luke Donald was a big favourite with the crowd as he lives nearby and the couple said Ian Poulter really interacted well with the spectators. Mary said the welcome they got as Irish people was fantastic.
Leo and Mary spent 11 days in Chicago and had a ball. This year marked their 25th wedding anniversary and they also got to see the Katie Taylor boxing final in London.
“To get to see two huge sporting events like that in the same year was just brilliant,” said Mary.
Next up is Gleneagles in Scotland and Mary and Leo are looking forward to it.