Can the Ryder Cup Survive the Summer Olympics?

Golf Writer, Keith Cook, examines the major challenges ahead to keep the Ryder Cup relevant in the game of golf.

(L) Darren Clarke, (R) Davis Love III / Photos: EuropeanTour.com, RyderCup.com
(L) Darren Clarke, (R) Davis Love III / Photos: EuropeanTour.com, RyderCup.com

The golf world has been abuzz this week with the announcement of Darren Clarke as the 2016 European Ryder Cup Captain and the expected announcement (next week) of Davis Love III as the 2016 American Ryder Cup Captain. However, even with the anticipation and energy these announcements bring to the Ryder Cup, there is a stark reality floating in the background, which may affect the future of the competition itself.

 

Historically, this isn’t the first time the future of the Ryder Cup has come into question. Prior to 1979, and the inclusion of European players, the event was falling out of style due to USA dominance. This one-sided result had some within the USGA and R&A, questioning if the event needed to be held at all. Sound familiar?

The modern Ryder Cup is now beginning to face the same questions of relevance. It’s no secret America has lost 7 of the last 10 Ryder Cups and “lack of competiveness” is once again being whispered in the boardrooms. Still, even though competiveness is a large problem, another and much more significant challenge looms on the horizon . . . the Summer Olympics.

GOLF IN THE OLYMPICS

Olympic Flag / Photo: Olympic.org
Olympic Flag / Photo: Olympic.org

The game of golf being included once again as an official Olympic sport has been rightly heralded throughout the world. Yet, this great news for golf could unintentionally affect the future of the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is held in even numbered years and every fourth year, the Olympics and the Ryder Cup will compete against each other for the attention of the golfing world, beginning in 2016.

Consider this: In an event already struggling for competitive relevance, there will be a Gold Medal on the line every 4-years in the same sport. Although the calendar dates will be separated by a few months in the Olympic years, the Olympic results will certainly either mute or negate any Ryder Cup outcome.

This will be especially true if the United States wins the Gold Medal in golf. For example, if the US were to win the Gold Medal in 2016, but lose the Ryder Cup, the Cup loss could be seen as meaningless because of the Olympic result. If the US wins the Gold and then wins the Ryder Cup, the result will be muted because of the expectation of the win.

The same can’t be said for Team Europe however, because of the blend of nations which make up their team . . . making the future of the Ryder Cup dicey – at best – in the Olympic years.

RYDER CUP EVERY FOUR YEARS?

The Ryder Cup / Photo: RyderCup.com
The Ryder Cup / Photo: RyderCup.com

With no easy way out, because of the President’s Cup being held in the odd-numbered years, Ryder Cup Officials (PGA/R&A/PGA and European Tours) are now confronted with tough decisions.

 

  • Will the Ryder Cup have to intentionally space itself outside of the Summer Olympic years? Essentially, reset the Cup to 2018, 2022, 2026, etc. and hold the event every four years?
  • Does the President’s Cup go away or perhaps switch in and out with the Ryder Cup in odd-numbered years? Meaning each of those events would only be held every four years.
  • Is there enough space in golf for the Olympics and the Ryder Cup to co-exist with each other? Should everything stand solid and the future of the Ryder Cup simply remain linked with the Olympics every fourth year?

HARD QUESTIONS – SMART PEOPLE

These are hard questions for smart people to figure out. Nonetheless, there is little doubt the future of the Ryder Cup must once again be addressed to remain relevant in the world of golf.

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BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/blogger/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. He is a retired U.S. Military Veteran and Ashford University Graduate living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

Read more from Keith, Click here

Weekend Wrap-Up In Golf (15 Feb 2015)

Golf Writer, Keith Cook, provides the Weekend’s Wrap-up of the Winners, Losers, and Other News from the LPGA, PGA, Champions, and European Tours!

PGA TOUR

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Brandt Snedeker, 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Champion Photo: PGATour.com
Brandt Snedeker, 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Champion
Photo: PGATour.com

PEBBLE BEACH, California /// Winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second time in three years, tour veteran Brandt Snedeker played impressive golf and took home the victory by three shots over his closest competitor, Nick Watney.

 

 

 

 

Snedeker’s -22 under par / 265 total, included an opening round 64 and three straight rounds of 67. The win comes just in time for Snedeker, who had fallen outside of the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings and was on the verge of not receiving an invite to Augusta, in April 2015.

With the victory, Brandt Snedeker comfortably moves inside the world’s Top 50 and takes home the first place winner’s check of $1,224,000 dollars.

NEXT UP: Northern Trust Open, Pacific Palisades, CA (Feb 19 – Feb 22)

EUROPEAN TOUR

True Thailand Classic

Andrew Dodt, 2015 True Thailand Classic Champion Photo: EuropeanTour.com
Andrew Dodt, 2015 True Thailand Classic Champion
Photo: EuropeanTour.com

HUA HIN, Thailand /// Returning to Thailand for just the first time in 8-years, the European Tour didn’t disappoint in bringing great golf and great drama to the fans. Beginning the day with the lead, Australian Scott Hend started off strong, but lost momentum down the stretch finishing with a final round Even Par / 72 and leaving the tournament up for grabs.

Waiting in the wings were Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Australia’s Andrew Dodt. Jaidee and Dodt battled to the end with Jaidee needing to make birdie on the last hole in regulation to force a playoff. Once Jaidee’s putt missed to the left, Dodt knew he had secured the victory . . . his second on the European Tour.

With the win, Andrew Dodt pockets a first place check of €289,862 (~$330,000) and moves to 13th place in the season-long Race To Dubai.

NEXT UP: Hero Indian Open, New Delhi, India (Feb 19 – Feb 22)

CHAMPIONS TOUR

ACE Group Classic

Lee Janzen, 2015 ACE Group Classic Champion Photo: PGATour.com
Lee Janzen, 2015 ACE Group Classic Champion
Photo: PGATour.com

NAPLES, Florida /// Winning for the first time in his Champions Tour career and for the first time since his 1998 U.S. Open title, Lee Janzen fired a final round -5 under / 67 to win the 2015 ACE Group Classic. Janzen, 50-years old and in his first full season on the Champions Tour, birdied the 18th hole in regulation to secure a spot in a playoff with Bart Bryant. Both Bryant and Janzen finished the tournament tied at -16 under par / 200 total.

Unfortunately for Bryant, his tee shot on the first hole of the playoff found the water and in the end, it was Lee Janzen who had just two-putts to secure the victory with a par. The win was an emotional one for Janzen who described the feeling of winning for the first time in 17-years.

“It’s hard to put into words, it’s emotional, it’s what the game does to you” said Janzen. “Everything’s heightened, amplified, and extreme, all your emotions, and the battle that goes on.”

With the victory, Lee Janzen enjoys being in the winner’s circle once again, and deposits a first place winner’s check of $240,000 dollars.

NEXT UP: The Champions Tour takes an early season break in the schedule and will tee it up again in Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, March 20 – March 22.

LPGA TOUR

LPGA LogoISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia /// NEXT UP: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia (Feb 19 – Feb 22)

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BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/blogger/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. He is a retired U.S. Military Veteran and Ashford University Graduate living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

Read more from Keith, Click here

RedHawk No.5-Nampa ID

RedHawk Recognized by Pacific Northwest Golfer Magazine

 
Par-5 fifth hole selected as one of the ‘Great Holes of the Northwest’

 

Federal Way, Wash. – In the upcoming February issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the par-5 fifth hole at RedHawk Golf Course in Nampa, Idaho is recognized as one of the “Great Holes of the Northwest,” one of just four holes selected each year by the Northwest’s largest and longest-running golf publication.

 

Measuring just 515 yards from the back tees, this uphill par-5 marks the early point in the round where opportunity exists to score. The split-level fairway is bordered on the right by a creek, and the closer to the creek with a tee shot, the shorter the approach to the green. With bailout areas to the left of the green, allowing for long second shots to funnel toward the massive green, the hole, which has recently been converted from a par-4, invites aggressive play.

 

RedHawk will be the site of the 2015 Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur, being held August 10-13, as well as the IGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship, to be held June 6-7.

 

Formerly known as Hunter’s Point Golf Club, the course was purchased in 2013 by Canyon County Golf Partners and re-opened in the summer of 2014 as RedHawk Golf Course. The course’s co-owners are Jerry Breaux, PGA, and Clint Travis, GCSAA. The two partners, both longtime fixtures in the Idaho golf community, have developed a reputation for turning distressed properties into successful business and recreational ventures.

 

Among the improvements to the course, the new owners transformed it from a private club into a family-friendly public facility, replaced bent grass with rye grass and Kentucky blue grass, irrigated an additional 20 acres that was previously left unmaintained, eliminated or reduced in size the number of bunkers, lengthened the driving range and reversed the nines. Visit www.redhawkidaho.com for more information.

Visit www.thepnga.org for more information.