Watching sport these days is different to when I was a kid. Supporting a Premier League football team (and England) doesn't carry the same resonance. It's still great but there is no connection with the participants. Footballers have a lifestyle so removed from fans. My emotional reaction to sport remains but is unquestionably different these days. It's detached.
This applies even more to the multi-million dollar golf world. The sporting goal here is an individual one, even in matchplay. In the Ryder Cup all that is forgotten. It is pure team sport, like the old days.
Players who spend the rest of the tour waging a personal battle against the course and against themselves in the pursuit of glory (and yes money) suddenly find themselves playing for team-mates, and focusing on winning for them and not letting them down. Add an enthusiastic, partisan crowd to the mix and the essence of the Ryder Cup is clear. Yesterday affirmed that.
Never mind the geopolitics of supporting 'Europe', for the spectator this is pure team sport. You root for the team you want to win. It happens in every sport. Patriotism is a side issue for European spectators in the Ryder Cup and avoids all the pain that comes from supporting your country. It isn't confused, it isn't frustrating. It's pure theatre and endeavour and it's just life affirming to watch.
Does it mean less to the Americans? If you saw Hunter Mahan after the match you'd know the answer to that. I thought Corey Pavin was going to explode in the closing ceremony - you could tell he was struggling to maintain his emotions.
Yesterday, there were so many moments that captured why this event is so special. Ian Poulter's most un-English positivity - pure determination like a man possessed as he steamrollered to victory. Manuel Angel Jimenez swaggering around the course with Mediterranean cool, clearly loving every minute. Hell, even Tiger had a smile on his face much of the day. Rory McIlroy's complete about turn from dismissing the event as an 'exhibition' to leaping in the air as his teammates putted their holes. Rickie Fowler's incredible nerve in winning the last three holes. And, of course Graeme McDowell at the death.
McDowell and Mahan's final match became the decider. With Fowler halving his match, McDowell had to win. Being only 1up with 3 to play this was pressure. I was pacing around the room with hands covering my eyes as he approached the 16th green.
All the old feelings came back. This transcended 'sport'. This was about life. Clare Balding summed up my emotions yesterday afternoon.
If it was like this for me what the hell was going through McDowell's head? McDowell's putt to win the hole (and effectively win the Ryder Cup) was one of the greatest moments I've ever seen in sport. It does not get any better.
Football just can't match this. Only the 2005 Ashes can compete with the drama of the Ryder Cup. I don't even like golf that much but after yesterday I have no doubt.
The Ryder Cup is the greatest event on the planet.