The Golf Channel analyst reflects on why the event is so special.

Image by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America

Having repeatedly visited for three years leading up to the Ryder Cup, the Bloomington area’s eagerness to welcome golf fans from across the United States and Europe has consistently struck me. With the matches now upon us, Ryder Cup fever stretches far beyond Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska. Not only will legions of fans converge, but the television broadcast will showcase spectacular scenes to a worldwide audience.

With its pressure-packed team format, the Ryder Cup has simply become one of the most dramatic and prestigious events in all of sports. Minnesota fans are regarded for spirited dedication to their Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild; not to overlook the Gophers and myriad of college teams. It is only fitting that they lead a rally with sights on spurring the first American Ryder Cup victory since 2008.

While the players astound you on the golf course, be sure to enjoy the marvels and hospitality in nearby Bloomington, Minn. Foremost among Bloomington’s attractions, Mall of America offers much more than shopping. This enormous complex is a fantasyland of adventures and entertainment for guests of all ages. In addition to nearly 600 shops and restaurants, Mall of America houses roller coaster rides and an aquarium while boasting an array of live entertainment from music to comedy acts.

Mark Rolfing Headshot 01

Mark Rolfing. Photo courtesy of Golf Channel

But let’s face it, the focus is now upon golf! With rolling terrain featuring lakes and pine tree forests, the Minnesota landscape presents a stunning backdrop for many golf courses. One of the most attractive recent ideas in golf travel combines courses in Minnesota and Wisconsin along the “Great Northern Golf Trail.” Beginning with luxury accommodations in Bloomington, golfers can traverse two states with customized itineraries spanning seven to 14 days. Quite appropriately, one such itinerary leads to the site of the 2020 Ryder Cup: Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.

The 2016 Ryder Cup promises to be one of the most exciting in golf's history. Europe has the Cup and America wants it desperately. Something will have to give in what will be an incredibly patriotic Minnesota environment. Whether you are fortunate to be here in person or among millions watching from afar, enjoy this Ryder Cup! Welcome to a special week in a special place!

Mark Rolfing serves as NBC Sports & Golf Channel Analyst. During more than 30 years on national TV, golf travel has consistently been a focal point in his career. The Ryder Cup has been a personal favorite on his schedule since covering the 1991 matches at Kiawah Island, S.C., and he has hosted NBC’s Road to the Ryder Cup series since 2010.

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