Funny thing about the Ryder Cup: passions run so deep at the long-running golf showdown between the United States and Europe that even the world’s most famous athlete becomes a giddy fan.
Every two years, when the Ryder Cup rolls around, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan finds his way into the middle of the action, cheering on the United States and, every so often, doing his part to sway the action. Here’s Jordan early Friday morning, greeting Rickie Fowler just before Fowler’s tee time:
Jordan has been attending Ryder Cups since his playing days. He tends to either watch in solitude from inside the ropes or hang out with the U.S. captain. But in 2012, he decided to get a little more involved in the action, trying hard to intimidate Europe’s Ian Poulter.
“If you are leading, you never give opponents the chance to get back in the game,” Jordan said earlier this year. “I said, ‘I am going to follow him.’ I was trying to get in their minds and use every little mental challenge possible so we could get the advantage.”
It didn’t work. Jordan stalked Poulter, but Poulter more than rose to the challenge. “I said, ‘Screw you, I’m going to hole this putt. I’m not allowing him to get in my space.'” He did, and the Europeans would go on to win the Ryder Cup.