The United States is currently entrenched in a eight year Ryder Cup drought. If you’re not a fan of golf then you probably don’t care. And if you’re European then you’re actually quite stoked on the three-event win streak Team Europe holds over Team USA. But if the only thing you care about is surfing then you can at least take note that Kelly Slater and a few other recognizable Americans just layeth the smack down against the European celebrity team for the 2016 Ryder Cup Celebrity Match.
Surfing and golf are both pretty darn fun, although not everybody loves them both. Slater, however, does love them both and his prowess with a golf club has landed him in plenty of celebrity tourneys, features in golf magazines and even TV shows. So this week, as Team USA gets ready to take on Team Europe in the 2016 Ryder Cup and the WSL gears up for next week’s Quiksilver Pro France, Kelly stayed stateside to team up with Olympian Michael Phelps. Other (really awesome) American pairings included actors Kurt Russell and Rob Riggle, Celebrity Chef Todd English and NHL great Jeremy Roenick and my personal favorite team, Bill Murray and Huey Lewis (yes, the one and only Huey Lewis and the one and only Bill Murray). The four American pairs went undefeated in the 9-hole scramble, while Murray and Lewis (Huey Lewis is so cool) halved (tied) their matchup. As for Slater and Phelps, RyderCup.com put it best: “23-time Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps partnered with 11-time surfing world champ Kelly Slater to a six up mauling over tennis legend Martina Navratilova and British Olympian John Regis.”
Sep 27, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA; Film actor Bill Murray plays his shot from the first tee in the celebrity tournament during a practice for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Phelps is a 15-handicap golfer, which is slightly below average when stacked up against the “average” golfer. Slater, though, is nearly a scratch golfer (it means he’s good) so it’s not crazy to assume he was heavily responsible for that boat race of a beating put on the Europeans. Benji Weatherly once said Slater is the best golfer in all of surfing. “He’s the most focused. Kelly can float through a whole round and not even know it happened. If we had a competition and everyone had to play with a single handicap, Kelly would win every time.”
Maybe Kelly can stick around Hazeltine National for a couple more days, help the real Team USA bring the Ryder Cup trophy back to the States for the first time since 2008, then still jet to France just in time for the Quik Pro. Just a thought.
Sep 27, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA; Pro surfer Kelly Slater plays his shot from the first tee in the celebrity tournament during a practice for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports