Why Britain’s exit from Europe could cost the 2016 Ryder Cup

Britain went to the polls yesterday and the public decided our political landscape needed to change. With an unprecedented 72% turnout, 52% of voters made the call that the UK should no longer tie itself to the supranational community we entered over forty years ago.

It’s hard to describe the zeitgeist of the capital. My walk to work was mundane – as usual, my coffee was essential – as usual, and my typical introverted start to the day was well, usual. But something drastic had happened during the night, something that is so monumental it’s seriousness will take months to sink in.

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Britain’s choice to leave was overwhelmingly effected by the older voter. 18-34’s were convinced that this was not the right path, that, for all it’s flaws, the EU represented one of the best manifestations of cultural coexistence. Our’s was as an emotionally driven decision more concerned with progressive cultural relations.

What happens now? Nothing will happen over night and this is why the Ryder cup just became interesting.

Name me another major sport that has a “European” team. It’s a fascinating display of continental unity that isn’t replicated anywhere else. It would be facetious to suggest the Ryder Cup is anything more than a biannual dick measuring contest, but the context of this tournament has changed. As the dust settles over Britain the Ryder Cup will question the very concept of being European, or rather non-European.

After a long period of American dominance it was decided that golfers from the European continent should join the British Ryder Cup team and help restore some balance. This was just four years after Britain voted on the European question in 1975 and i’d ask that you acknowledge this rather tenuous parallel

For the last 45 years the Ryder Cup has been the embodiment of the European spirit. It represented the emotional connection felt by the countries who possessed this cross-national citizenship. A Ryder cup can cause a Frenchman to hug a German, an Englishman to cry with a Spaniard and Irishman to kiss a Swede. It displayed a type of unity that you rarely see. Cultural differences were set aside in place of the most basic emotion and it’s electrifying.

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Team USA and Team Europe have a slinging match on Twitter.

I’m not saying Britain’s decision to leave the EU will put an end to this, but it could alter America’s perception of Team Europe. For some years now Team USA have watched statistically weaker European teams take them to the cleaners. The Ryder Cup has become an enigma for American players. How can we compete with a team that exudes camaraderie? What do they have that we don’t? Why do we dominate all year only to lose for one week? These are the questions you ponder.

Golf is a psychological tightrope walk and when you acknowledge the fragility of the American Ryder cup teams you have to wonder if the perception of a “fragmented’ Europe will give them a crucial boost. It’s ludicrous to suggest Brexit will suddenly change a team dynamic, but all it takes is for the Americans to have some belief. I genuinely believe Britain leaving the EU can alter a Team USA’s psyche.

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