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Over 51K Show Up For First Day Of Match Play At Ryder Cup

CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — How hungry for golf are Minnesotans?

Very.

More than 51,000 fans were crammed onto Hazeltine National Golf club before high noon for the first day of matches. The event was sold out months ago. Hazeltine has hosted four majors, two U.S. Opens (1970, 1991) and a pair of PGA Championships (2002, 2009; the last major held in the state).

How nice are Minnesotans?

More than 30,000 turned out for a Monday playoff in which between Payne Stewart beat Scott Simpson to decide the 1991 U.S. Open. That's about five times the usual gallery for such extra sessions.

Reed Mackenzie, then chairman at Hazeltine and subsequently at the U.S. Golf Association, explained it this way at the time: "People would have thought it would be impolite not to be here for the playoff."

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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