Ryder Cup Descends On DuPage County | NBC Chicago

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Ryder Cup Descends On DuPage County

Medinah, Chicago area prepare for the Super Bowl of golf



    (Published Monday, Sept. 24, 2012)

    "We always compare it to the Super Bowl of golf," says Ryder Cup Director Michael Belot.

    But unlike football's single-day Super Bowl Sunday, tens of thousands of fans are expected each day from Friday through Sunday at Medinah Country Club in DuPage County.

    "It's a huge deal," said Belot. "Chicago isn't going to see a sporting event of this size in the coming future, maybe never has, really."

    On Medinah's grounds Monday, the finishing touches were put on four months of work on a tent city around the clubhouse. Massive risers and grand stands cover the grounds, and impressive, temporary TV studios tower over the opening tee, where the biggest names in golf tee off Friday.

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    There are estimates the Super Bowl of golf will bring upwards of $80 million to DuPage County.
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    "There's two teams playing for pride rather than prize money, which is unique in the game of golf," said Belot.

    The anticipation has spilled outside the country club and into the community.

    Just outside Medinah, Lake Park High School shut down for Ryder Cup parking, and neighboring businesses are trying to capitalize on the event.

    "They're telling us 40,000 people a day which is kind of mind-boggling," said Sharon Kopulos, who manages Gaynor's Irish Pub directly across Medinah Road from the Country Club. "This is a good event to showcase not only Medinah, but the whole city of Chicago. We've got a beautiful city. This gives people an opportunity to see what nice people Chicagoans are."

    Kopulos and her son, Gaynor's owner Paul, already are setting up for the huge weekend, expanding their operation to the parking lot with what they call "The 19th Hole Party Tent."

    What's the end goal?

    "Just get everyone involved, the whole community and everything so everyone has a good time and everybody makes money," said Paul Kopulos.