The sidewalk in front of Gaynor's Restaurant and Pub was the perfect place to enjoy the Ryder Cup if golf isn't necessarily your game but golf people watching is.
A perfect example was the six British gents, dressed in blue body suits with gold stars and flowing black curly wigs.
"We got to show our support for the European team," said Garry Holland, from London. "We love Rory (McIlroy), and we're going to bring home the Ryder Cup."
"It's also to show off our muscles," said his friend in blue, Ian Mallalue.
The only bar in Medinah, a tiny community in the western suburbs, Gaynor's is a short iron shot from Medinah Country Club, where the golf tournament pitting the U.S. against Europe opened Friday.
Owner Paul Kopulos said he's slept five hours total in the past week, and he's thrilled. Music blared from the parking lot -- everything from Irish folk tunes to the '70s funk hit "Brick House" -- and the place was jammed.
Kenyan volunteers at the tournament love his Chicago-style hot dogs and ate seven or eight of them. Scottish fans showed up in kilts and gave him doughnuts. An English volunteer gave his tickets to Kopulos, allowing his wife, Angela, and their four children to attend Thursday's practice.
"I'm overwhelmed," Kopulos said. "Totally overwhelmed."
He ordered 200 pounds of burgers, 400 pounds of chicken wings and 500 hot dogs for Friday's rush. Beer delivery trucks brought 23 kegs Friday and took away 20 empties, he said.
"I never expected this. I wish we had the Ryder here every month," Kopulos said.
Other merchants, public officials and residents feel much the same as Kopulos. They see dollars raining down as one of the biggest events in professional golf jams local streets and fills hotels and restaurants.
Medinah, an unincorporated community that grew up around the country club, might be ground zero, but neighboring towns also hope to enjoy the financial perks of the international tournament.
Some of these efforts at moneymaking are as impromptu as a shot from a sand trap, most notably the conversion of front yards into parking lots and the emergence of valet parking services from a gas station.
Down the street from Gaynor's, Andrea Paull and her friend Carrie Thomas had converted Paull's lawn into a snack stand offering homemade cupcakes and cookies, popcorn, soda, coffee and water, among other goodies.
Their sales crew consisted of an assortment of their children and grandchildren, who decided to donate half of the proceeds to the fight against breast cancer.
Wednesday night they made 100 cupcakes, followed by 200 more Thursday night, an exercise that kept the kids up until 2 a.m. decorating the baked goodies to look like putting greens and sand traps. They also baked six dozen cookies Thursday night, Thomas said.
By midafternoon Friday they had earned nearly $800, she added.
"People have been extremely generous," Paull said, noting that one man gave $40 for a can of soda. Another woman, a breast cancer survivor, gave $20 for a cupcake.
Ryder Cup ticket prices also are generous. So if you want to view the action this weekend, be prepared to drop some coin.
Online marketplace StubHub had tickets ranging from $50 to $224 for Friday's match -- even as it was in progress. Prices only went up from there for tournament action the rest of the weekend, peaking at $1,853 per ticket for Sunday's finale. The price includes access to the Samuel Ryder Club for breakfast, lunch buffets and an open bar.
By contrast, as of Friday afternoon the priciest ticket for Sunday's game between the faltering Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays was $500 for a spot in the Scout Seats right behind home plate. An upper deck ticket -- and plenty were available -- was going for $15.
Like the fans who will turn out for that do-or-die game at the Cell, Ryder Cup spectators can be raucous.
Normally, golf is quiet. And polite. The sport brings with it hard and fast rules of etiquette that are not to be broken -- ever. Except at the Ryder Cup, where spectators are encouraged to be loud, boisterous and as colorful as those Brits in the blue tights.
While banners on light posts along Lake Street in Bloomingdale said the village welcomed the Ryder Cup, around the corner from Medinah, the public Bloomingdale Golf Club made it very clear where that welcome ended.
"No Ryder Cup Parking, Cars Will Be Towed," warned signs posted at the entrance. Others stated, "No Shuttle Service."
Playing 18 holes at the Bloomingdale course, Joe Mullen, Dave Frye, Steve Sanchez and Chuck Reed were almost in the shadow of the MetLife blimp providing aerial coverage of the Ryder Cup. They most definitely were in earshot of the tournament crowd.
"We could hear the cheering, and it always coincided with us making a shot," joked Frye, of LaGrange. "So we thought it was for us."
Almost to a man they agreed they'd rather be playing than watching the tournament. The golfers said time was precious and they relish walking through the pastoral setting of a golf course, playing the game.
Only Mullen, of Wheaton, said it would be a tough choice. He noted that he could still enjoy the bucolic setting and refreshing walk, "plus you get to see these amazing athletes" if you're viewing the Ryder from the rough.
But Sanchez, of Chicago, was certain where he'd rather be, especially when he considered that the tab for taking in all the practice rounds and tournament play could total $5,700.
"I could go on a nice, nice trip, buy myself a new set of clubs, play for a weekend and still have money left," he said.
Hispanic #1 Breaking News for Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Business Owners - HispanicBusiness.com
SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
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