Leap of Faith

Ryder Cup 2023: Fan leaps into pond to celebrate Europe’s bizarre Rickie Fowler concession victory

October 01, 2023

It was no real surprise that Team Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup on Sunday. They led wire-to-wire and haven’t lost on home soil since 1993. The manner in which Team Europe clinched, however, was downright shocking, with Rickie Fowler conceding a birdie putt to Tommy Fleetwood just inside three feet on the 16th hole, handing Fleetwood a two-up lead with two to play. With Europe needing just a half point to clinch, the 2023 Ryder Cup abruptly, and anti-climactically, came to a close.

Fowler’s decision will be discussed for days to come. Was it weak? Was it a show of sportsmanship? Did he know the situation or was it an honest arithmetic mistake in a pressure-packed situation? All of this will be unpacked and repacked and unpacked again. It will be analyzed, reanalyzed and overanalyzed into dust. But for one European fan, there was no thinking—no logic nor reason—only an explosion of pure joy as he went sprinting across the 16th green and into the pond on the other side.

The lone hero quickly became a trailblazer as more European fans poured into the water to celebrate the blue-and-yellow’s big win.

Let the talking heads worry about the implications and extrapolations. These fans were living in the moment; no cellphones in sight and loving every second of it. Sure, those phone are probably now bricked, but it was worth it in the end. Team Europe are Ryder Cup champs again. There is balance in the universe and for one brief, shining and slightly soggy moment, peace on earth.