What does the future hold for the Ryder Cup?
Alex Perry: I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when the 2032 Ryder Cup venue was announced. First of all, we don’t have venues for 2026, ‘28 or ’30 yet. But I was actually a bit sad because I was hoping there would be a break from 2024 to ‘27 when a 100-year anniversary Ryder Cup would take place – at Worcester Country Club, obviously – then we’d go back to playing in odd-numbered years. Maybe I’m a dreamer.
Mark Townsend: In a perfect world they would choose a course that everyone would be dying to go and play. Which might not have happened in Europe since the ‘70s. So it would be a return to Wales and that would mean Porthcawl and the chances of any of this happening are zero.
Alex Perry: Would it go back to a links course, though? There must be a reason the Ryder Cup hasn’t been played on a links course since the days it was US vs. GB&I.
Tom Irwin: Kiawah Island was OK.
Alex Perry: That’s not proper links.
James Savage: There is a spectator issue as you can’t get big grandstands on every hole and general access is a bit rubbish. We should always play it on a tough links over here, scrap the points system and pick 12 links specialists.
Tom Irwin: Muirfield, Birkdale, Lytham, Ganton, Southport & Ainsdale seemed to manage…
Alex Perry: But they haven’t gone back since the ‘70s
Tom Irwin: Because they go to the highest bidder.
Mark Townsend: By 2026 it will probably be played in Abu Dhabi.
Alex Perry: I’d be very surprised if talks to hold the Ryder Cup in the Middle East haven’t already happened.
James Savage: Places like Celtic Manor, Le Golf National and the Dutch were built or renovated with the Ryder Cup in mind. Millions spent so they can tick all the right boxes. I’d be surprised to see any traditional course, links or otherwise, hosting the Ryder Cup again.
Alex Perry: Which, as Mark alludes to, is a tremendous shame.
James Savage: We’ll still have The Open
Alex Perry: Until Jumeirah Golf Estates buys the rights to host it.
Tom Irwin: The JCB course at Woodseat Hall near Stoke is apparently getting a Rolex event in 2020.
Alex Perry: Will you win a digger for a hole-in-one?
Mark Townsend: The Ryder Cup goes to courses with money and hotels which is a grim state of affairs. We’ve got a high percentage of the best courses in the world and all people see is Celtic Manor and the worst of three courses at Gleneagles.
James Savage: As a spectator though I enjoyed the experience more at Gleneagles than I have at any links venue.
Tom Irwin: It is much more likely that the event will go somewhere ‘good’ in the US because the PGA of America do not have the same revenue requirements as the European Tour.
Mark Townsend: It gets away with it because it’s the Ryder Cup. It could be so much better on a great course.
Tom Irwin: Personally I am not sure the venue really matters at all. The home captains ruin that anyway. It is a unique week in that the calibre of the golf course is really very secondary to well matched teams and a bonkers atmosphere. It’s enormous, ongoing, commercial contribution to professional golf is ultimately the most important thing, especially for the European Tour, so they could play in a farmers field as far as I am concerned.
Mark Townsend: Forgetting money and infrastructure, how much more do you enjoy the Walker Cup to a Ryder Cup just on a course basis?
Tom Irwin: I enjoy the Walker Cup as much as the next nerd and the venues are an aspect of that but do I enjoy it more than the Ryder Cup? No, of course not. If it wasn’t for the money then you may very well just be left with the Walker Cup.
Alex Perry: The Magic of the Ryder Cup isn’t going to disappear because some resort in the middle of Portugal doesn’t stump up billions to host it.
Tom Irwin: It will disappear altogether if the European Tour does.
Alex Perry: So what of this JCB place?
Tom Irwin: Let’s see if them and Visit Britain come up with a mega-bucks bid for 2026. Then we will see if they can do it on Friday afternoon in Stoke.
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