The idea of a Senior Ryder Cup has been flirted with in the past, but no such competition has come to fruition.
Many players have expressed a desire for our favourite legends to face off in the biennial match play showcase – including Paul McGinley, who told NCG in 2020 that “the time is right” – and now the PGA Tour Champions and Intersport have answered the call.
The first ever World Champions Cup will be held at The Concession in December and will combine the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup by featuring three teams each consisting of six players.
The inaugural event in Florida, which will be chaired by two-time senior major champion Peter Jacobsen, will see Jim Furyk captain the USA side, Darren Clarke lead the Europeans, and Ernie Els take charge of the International team.
All three captains will compete, three spots on each team will be determined by a World Champions Cup ranking system, then there will be two chairman’s picks and the final place will be based on the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Charlie Besser of Intersport, the events and marketing company behind the World Champions Cup, said: “We actually started working on this idea 10 years ago and we have been working on it and working on it and working on it.
“It just tells us that persistence is truly omnipotence. If you keep hanging in long enough, something good’s going to happen.
“The idea was really to build upon the excitement of the Ryder Cup and of the Presidents Cup, to try to bring everybody together, the entire world together in one event.
“We all know that the guys who play PGA Tour Champions have got some serious old scores to settle with each other and they are excited to get back out there and get after it.”
Furyk and Clarke, who represented their respective teams 14 times in Ryder Cups, both had unsuccessful stints as captains, while Els played on eight Presidents Cup teams and captained them in the narrow defeat in 2019.
“I’m really looking forward to it, especially going up against Jim and going up against Ernie,” Clarke said. “We’ve been friends for a very long time and those sorts of friendships are put on hold a little bit during that week.
“One of us is going to be winning captain at the end of the week, which will also be very nice. It’s just going to be special.
“As we’re a little bit older, don’t think for one second that we’re not as intense now and as much into trying to win.
“It’s going to be so exciting that we’re going to get the opportunity to do it again.”
World Champions Cup
Venue: The Concession Golf Club, Florida
Date: December 7-10, 2023
Format: There will be eight nine-hole matches per day. The matches will be played in sixsomes, with two players from each team. If two teams tie a hole, they score half a point each, and if three teams tie, they all get half a point. The most points accumulated by one team will determine the winner. There will also be a pro-am on the Saturday to break up the competition.
Prize money: Players on the winning team will receive $100,000 each, then there will be $75,000 each for second place, and $50,000 for third place.
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?