News & Opinion

Does Ryder Cup need a European vacation?

Ryder Cup
There is no better home-course advantage in golf than to be playing for the host team at the Ryder Cup, as Europe’s Rory McIlroy experienced in 2018 in France. This year, however, could be different.

John Hawkins contends ‘show must go on,’ if only because the U.S. could use the help at home, but Mike Purkey counters that ‘shoehorned’ event simply doesn’t fit in this unusual year

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Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Mike Purkey, who co-host the weekly Hawk & Purk podcast on MorningRead.com, also discuss and debate the game’s hottest issues in this weekly commentary.

Given the likelihood that the European Tour won’t resume play until the fall, should this year’s Ryder Cup be moved to 2021?

Hawk’s take: Such a delay seems to make sense on a number of levels, the biggest being that a Ryder Cup held at any point this year faces the possibility of being played without spectators. That would be an absolute shame, especially at an event in which emotion, atmosphere and home-field advantage all assume such a vital role. With that in mind, it’s hard to envision the PGA of America agreeing to such a condition. The United States has beaten Europe just twice in this century. Clearly, the host side needs all the help it can get.

However awkward that scenario may be, the show must go on. If the PGA Tour returns to action this summer, as planned, the Ryder Cup needs to remain true to its original dates (Sept. 25-27). It was the only “big event” of the four on the updated schedule that wasn’t moved. The entire month of October was left open, perhaps as a time cushion that would allow everything to be pushed back a few weeks, if necessary. There’s still plenty of open space on the calendar to accommodate the game’s most important gatherings.

Bumping the Ryder Cup into 2021 also would create a conflict with the Presidents Cup. You and I might have no trouble with that, but Camp Ponte Vedra would, and the Tour still holds the largest stake (and say) as to when professional golf returns.

Difficult times call for difficult measures. There’s no need to make them more difficult than they already are.

Purk’s take: Of course, the Ryder Cup should be postponed for a year. With the new proposed schedule cramming every big event into a narrow window, the Ryder Cup has been shoehorned in unnecessarily.

As it stands, the Ryder Cup will fall the week after the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which means that the 24 players on both teams must march through the crucible of the Open and then be immediately dragged to Whistling Straits and muster up the emotion and focus necessary for the Ryder Cup to be at its best.

And that doesn’t even account for the fact that the Europeans could be at a decided disadvantage, given that the European Tour has given no indication when it could be back up and running, maybe not until after the Ryder Cup. While it’s true that most of the players who are likely to be on the European team will be playing much of their golf in the U.S., it’s not 100 percent, which will harm the Euros’ preparation.

Some won’t feel sorry for the Europeans at all, given that they are the favorites – again. But if the PGA of America cares anything about the integrity of the competition, it should hurry up and wait.

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