Just how close was Bjorn to losing the Ryder Cup captaincy?
Forget the clashes that undermined Team USA’s Ryder Cup defence, it was revealed by The Times this week that Thomas Bjorn and the European Tour’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, had been involved in at least two of what they describe as “serious arguments” in the build up to the showdown at Le Golf National.
A bit of digging by the newspaper found out it all escalated from the Tour offering a job, which was accepted, to Bjorn’s long-time manager, Guy Kinnings.
Bjorn said: “It was a timing issue for me. It created some tension. To lose my manager of over 20 years just months before the biggest week in my career was difficult.”
Why on earth would they pull such a move that they knew would upset the Ryder Cup captain without first speaking to the Ryder Cup captain.
So was Bjorn’s position as Ryder Cup captain ever in danger? Well of course they both said that at no point was it considered the Dane be removed from his role – but wouldn’t you love to know how close it got? It does make you wonder, doesn’t it? Pelley has proved time and time again he is hardly one to shy away from a big decision.
But Pelley did reveal the clear-the-air meeting ended, as he describes, “with a massive bear hug”, which really just conjures up wonderful mental images of Bjorn sweeping Pelley off the ground in some sort of Wentworth remake of Of Mice and Men.
I guess we’ll never know if taking the Ryder Cup captaincy from Bjorn was ever an option, but it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?
Going for Green
Now, we all know Rory McIlroy is ditching the European Tour in 2019 in a bid to cut down on travel and aid his bid to end a four-year major drought.
And we all know the one the 29-year-old – he’s not even 30 yet! – really wants is The Masters, so how will he prepare to complete his bid for golf’s Grand Slam?
His website only has him down to play the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January and it is understood McIlroy will play six events between seeing in the new year and strolling down Magnolia Lane.
According to the Irish Golf Desk, the other five will be the Genesis Open and WGC-Mexico Championship in February before a defence of his Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players, and WGC-Match Play in March.
PGA on the move
Staying stateside the PGA of America announced they are moving their headquarters from West Palm Beach in Florida to Frisco, Texas.
The $520 million development will include two championship courses and a short course, a resort, a two-sided driving range, and a convention centre.
One of the courses will be designed by highly-regarded Gil Hanse and has already been named as the host of the 2027 and 2034 PGA Championships, the 2025 and 2031 Women’s PGA Championships, and the 2023 and 2029 Senior PGA Championships.
It is also expected to host a Ryder Cup, but they are going to have to wait a while given the next available slot on that side of the Atlantic is 2040.
That makes you think, doesn’t it? Some of the players who will play in the 2040 Ryder Cup haven’t even been born yet…
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