Let us know what you think about the site, we would love to hear from you:

Login Here

   Sign Up Now »
Email Address
Password
Keep Me Logged In
Forgot Password?
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Sign Up Now

   Login Here »
Email Address
Password
Confirm Password
Username
Phone Number
Captcha Image
By signing up you agree to our Terms Of Use
You are currently logged into Facebook. You can use your facebook account to login or signup
Login/Sign Up

Forgot Password

Email Address

19th Hole
News and Opinion

Golf Blogs: Ryder Cup

 [clear]
Date CreatedMost Popular

Sean Donnelly
Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston sheds light on mental health challenges in golf
Sep 30, 2020 6:10 AM
 
From the perspective of a fan, professional sports people enjoy a gilded life. Multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals, jet-set lifestyles, large houses, fast cars, designer clothes and jewellery, not to mention the privilege of being paid to exercise a sporting passion. What more could a person ask for? The reality, of course, is often far different. In addition to labouring under a relentless pressure to perform, professional sportspeople in any discipline are required to endure long periods away from home and often struggle to separate their own personal sense of self-worth from their performances. Andrew Johnston’s comments to Sky Sports during National Inclusion Week 2020 set these dynamics in sharp relief. Affectionately nicknamed, ‘Beef’, the Englishman shot to international prominence upon claiming his maiden European Tour accolade at the 2016 Open de España. A further five top-10 finishes in the same season catapulted him into the world’s top-100 and led to him appearing regularly on the US PGA Tour the following year. Still trying to perfect the move https://t.co/osDwjOxjvB— Andrew 'Beef' Johnston (@BeefGolf) September 30, 2020 Johnston, however, was slow to adjust to his new elevated profile. While he garnered popular affection among fans and pundits as a consequence of his self-effacing, charismatic media profile, he struggled mentally to cope with the pressure arising from a precipitous decline in form, as he slumped outside of the world’s top-200. Indeed, little was known about Johnston's mental health until he lifted the lid on his issues in an emotionally-charged interview with Sky Sports following his superb final-round 62 at last year's Scottish Open - earning him his first top-10 finish of 2019 while also booking a place in The Open at Royal Portrush the following week. Speaking again on Sky Sports last week, the 31-year-old recounted how he was persuaded to consult a psychologist about his problems by his fiancée, Jodie, and Johnston urged other athletes in a similar position to do the same. "What I've learned the most is that it can happen to anyone at any time," said Johnston. "Nobody is immune, so you shouldn't be worried about talking to someone. Talk to someone close if you can, and someone you trust, and it's better to be open about it. The more people that open up about it and talk, then the easier it becomes for everyone else. "Once I started talking about it, I could understand what was going on and the pressure I was putting myself under, and for no reason. It all made sense, and I'm still learning a lot about myself now." "I keep my perspective," he added. "I want to win golf tournaments, there's no doubt about that. I want to do well, I want to play Ryder Cups, play in majors and all that. But first things first, I want to be a good dad and the best dad I can be, that comes above golf. I want to be a good fiancé, and I want to be the best person I can be. All of that is above golf.” At a time when instances of mental health difficulties are rising internationally, Johnston can only be commended for his frankness and honesty in addressing such a sensitive, personal topic. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
After 7 years, Matteo Manassero returns to the winner's circle
Sep 25, 2020 7:50 AM
 
When in June, 2009 Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner of the British Amateur Championship at the age of 16 and went on claim the Silver Medal for Low Amateur at the Open at Turnberry just over a month later, finishing in a tie for 13th, he seemed destined to join Rory McIlroy at the forefront of a new generation of European golfers vying to overtake Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings. Possessed of impressive length off of the tee, penetrating approach-play and a solid putting stroke, the Verona native commanded all of the physical and technical raw materials required to develop into a regular winner at the highest level of the professional game. Perhaps even more importantly, he seemed to have the patient, hard-working mentality that is a hallmark of the finest elite athletes in any discipline. It is notable, for instance, that even after ascending to the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings in the autumn of 2009, Manassero resisted the allure of sponsors, agents’ promises and hefty cheques in order to retain his amateur status until he finished high school. When he did finally turn professional the following year, he established himself as both the youngest player ever to make the cut at the Masters Tournament (finishing as Low Amateur in a tie for 36th), and the youngest ever winner on the European Tour, upon claiming the Castello Masters in October 2010. He would go on to claim European Tour victories in each of the subsequent three seasons, consolidating his position inside of the world’s top-50, and it appeared only a matter of time before the then 20-year-old made a breakthrough at major championship level. However, in six seasons after claiming the biggest victory of his fledgling career at the European Tour’s flagship BMW Championship event at Wentworth, Manassero’s game went into a tailspin, a slump precipitated by a combination of injuries, loss of form and foolhardy technical experimentation. In 2014, he could only manage two top-10s as the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles came and went. The following year things got worse as he only made five cuts in 22 starts, falling to 167th in the Race to Dubai. Matteo Manassero is a winner again. The 27 year old Italian won on the @AlpsTourGolf today, his first professional victory since winning the @BMWPGA at Wentworth in 2013. Manassero, once ranked in the top 30 in the world as a teenager, is currently ranked 1,805th. pic.twitter.com/1DTuruqbuG — GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) September 19, 2020 He managed one top ten in 2016 – third place at the Hero Indian Open – and in 2018, after finishing 122nd in the rankings, he found himself out of exemptions and at Qualifying School trying to forge a path back to the Tour. The same pattern repeated last November: on both occasions, he was cut after four rounds, only beating two players in the field. The former world No.25 consequently arrived in Tuscany to contest the Toscana Open on Europe’s third-tier Alps Tour last week ranked No. 1705, having missed 23 cuts in his preceding 25 starts. Needless to say, such a severe slump would be sufficient to drive many, less mentally resilient practitioners to retirement. However, Manassero’s diligence was rewarded richly as he went on to end a seven-year trophy drought on home soil. The 27-year-old set the pace with an eight-under 63 and added a second-round 66 on Friday, before signing for a final-round 65 and a single-stroke victory at 19-under-par. Back up inside of the world’s top-1000, the Italian has time on his side in his quest to re-establish himself at the top-end of the European game. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Ryder Cup will be pushed back to 2021 over coronavirus concerns
Jun 23, 2020 9:57 AM
 
And so, after weeks of speculation, it appears a firm decision has belatedly been taken on the fate of the 43rd Ryder Cup. The Guardian’s Ewan Murray reported this morning that an announcement will be made next week confirming the event’s postponement to 2021. Presently scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Wisconsin in September, doubts have surrounded the staging of the event since PGA Tour play was halted in March owing to the onset of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. With the notable exception of Justin Rose, mooted plans to hold the event behind closed doors were unsympathetically received. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell are just a few examples of leading European players who said that the event shouldn’t go ahead if fans are not permitted to attend. Brooks Koepka expressed a similar point of view from a US perspective. Even the European and US captains, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker, publicly articulated misgivings regarding the prospect of a behind closed doors contest, commenting that a Ryder Cup devoid of spectators is not really a Ryder Cup at all. In light of such forceful public criticism of the behind closed doors proposals, many pundits, notably the Telegraph’s James Corrigan, speculated as early as March that it is a matter of time before the event is formally postponed. Expect Ryder Cup announcement next week: moved to 2021https://t.co/eXTUSihCgT — Ewan Murray (@mrewanmurray) June 22, 2020 Finally, it appears the PGA of America and the European Tour have come an agreement on this course of action. While Harrington has insisted he has yet to receive confirmation of any decision regarding the future of the event, postponement has long seemed inevitable outcome and, given the circumstances, it is surely the most responsible course of action. According to Murray’s report, work on the spectator build at Whistling Straits, ordinarily well under way by now, never meaningfully started, and officials had long since conceded the impossibility of temperature-checking and physical-distancing thousands of fans each day. The Ryder Cup will remain in “odd” years following the switch, as was the case before the 9/11 terror attacks led to a 12-month delay in 2001. That Europe will wait until 2023 for a home Ryder Cup, which will be held in Italy, will do little to reduce recurring speculation about the state of the European Tour’s finances. A knock-on benefit will arise for Adare Manor, which will now be the Ryder Cup host in 2027 – 100 years on from the first official staging of the event. A delayed Irish Open could fill this year’s Ryder Cup slot. Of course, while postponement will remedy a scheduling issue in the short-term, it creates longer-term difficulties. The Presidents Cup is slated, as normal, for the autumn of 2021, while the Olympics, too, has already been pushed back to August next year. Where the Ryder Cup can be slotted into an already packed golfing calendar in 2021 remains to be seen. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Fans have to be part of the Ryder Cup, says Stricker
Jun 6, 2020 9:23 AM
 
For all the uncertainty that persists regarding the staging of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits Golf Club in Wisconsin this September, there has been no shortage of fan, player and media commentary on the event. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell are just a few examples of leading European players who have said that the event shouldn’t go ahead if fans are not permitted to attend. Even the European captain, Padraig Harrington, has publicly articulated his misgivings regarding the prospect of a behind closed doors contest, commenting that a Ryder Cup devoid of spectators is not really a Ryder Cup at all. In light of such forceful public criticism of the proposals, many pundits, notably the Telegraph’s James Corrigan, have speculated that it is a matter of time before the event is formally postponed. Will the Ryder Cup happen in 2020? We should know in a few weeks. https://t.co/1iO3pDRSJF— Golfweek (@golfweek) June 5, 2020 But for all the negative comments of players across Europe, it has been striking how few leading American golfers have proffered an opinion on the staging of the Ryder Cup. While the four-time major champion, Brooks Koepka, came out early in opposition to the behind closed doors proposals, a majority of the PGA Tour establishment have retained a deathly silence on the issue. This reticence led some to ponder whether the financial incentive of hosting the event (only the host tour profits from the Ryder Cup every two years) has already persuaded the US golfing establishment to sacrifice fan attendance in the interests of ensuring that the event is played and television and sponsorship revenues are received. It was significant, therefore, to read US captain, Steve Stricker comment last week that the Ryder Cup could be "a yawner" if held behind closed doors. Speaking to Golf Affect Radio, he said: "This event is made by the fans. If it was without fans, it almost would be a yawner of an event. To cheat out the Wisconsin fans would be a crime. I hope when we do have it, it can be up to its full potential. "So far, we're planning it as if it's a go, like we're going to have it but there's some obstacles that we're going to have to face. The confidence of the people and the corporate people. It's going to come down to probably the safety. And who knows, right?" Stricker concluded by observing that a decision will need to be made “probably within the next two or three weeks…The build-up to put up all the stands and all the corporate tents, all that kind of stuff, has to happen in June." The US captain’s comments may hold some sway in the corridors of American golfing power, but they are unlikely to be decisive. One way or another, the fate of September’s Ryder Cup will be revealed to us soon. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Ryder Cup: Justin Rose feels fan-free contest could be intense
Jun 1, 2020 11:02 AM
 
The prospect of playing September’s Ryder Cup behind closed doors has generated no shortage of intrigue since the idea was first floated back in April. Suffice to say, the dominant tenor of the response from fans, pundits and players alike has been overwhelmingly negative. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell are just a few examples of leading European players who have said that the event shouldn’t go ahead if fans are not permitted to attend Whistling Straits Golf Club in Wisconsin. This perspective has since been endorsed publicly by European and US captains, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker, while Brooks Koepka is one of several top American golfers to have stated that a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup at all. In light of such forceful public criticism of the behind closed doors proposals, many pundits, notably the Telegraph’s James Corrigan, have speculated that it is a matter of time before the event is formally postponed. In this context that it was so interesting to see the former US Open winner and world No.1, Justin Rose proffer an alternative perspective on the prospect of the event being played without fans. In his analysis, there are good reasons to hold the tournament in the autumn if at all possible, with or without spectators. Justin Rose doesn't think a Ryder Cup without fans would be as bad as it sounds... https://t.co/FUmvichiSR pic.twitter.com/2EqmYo41oe— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) May 31, 2020 “We might actually be used to it [no crowds] by then," Rose told Golf.com. "It might almost be interesting if the Ryder Cup is the first event with fans. "Who knows how the summer is gonna play out? The thought of a Ryder Cup without fans is mind-blowing, but what is the new normal? Would we rather still have the opportunity to play? You can't just bump everything to 2021 because 2021 becomes chaos if that's the case. "In one way, it could be more intense between the two players. There's nowhere to hide, nowhere else to look. You know, it's eyeball to eyeball. It could create a bizarrely intense environment." Rose will be in the field when the PGA Tour resumes regular season play behind closed doors at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Fort Worth Golf Club in Texas on 11 June, and the Englishman professed to be relishing the opportunity to return to competitive action. "I think the sport will be a great help for people who are still not able to get back to work themselves in whatever way," Rose added. "I really miss competing and I'm willing to go through some of the pain that's going to be required. "It's going to be tedious, the checks and balances that we need to have in place to make it safe. For me, it's worth it, especially hearing about what the key workers have gone through. While we've been tucked up safe and sound, they've been out there on the front lines dealing with this. "So, for me, having to wear a mask here and there and deal with some questions and take a temperature and a swab or two, it's like, 'Get on with it, man.' You realise that you're pretty fortunate to have the opportunity." Rose’s pragmatic attitude may ultimately be the only approach capable of remedying the current impasse regarding September’s Ryder Cup. A suboptimal outcome is presently the best that can be hoped for. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Spectator-free Ryder Cup 'more favourable' for Europe than USA
May 31, 2020 7:52 AM
 
Luke Donald has always been a divisive figure among golf fans. The first player ever to reach the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings having never won or finished runner-up in a major championship, many spectators regarded him as an inappropriate figurehead. This impression was strengthened as a consequence of the widespread perception that Donald’s game lacked the panache associated figures such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Devoid of a major title or any truly exceptional technical or physical attributes, Donald’s game didn’t provide the casual sports fan with a great deal by which to be enthralled. To golf obsessives, on the other hand, Donald has long been a figure of peculiar intrigue. In an era increasingly dominated by big-hitters (Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka) and players possessed of preternatural technical flair (Woods, Mickelson, McIlroy), Donald stood-out as a broadly average golfer – a 7/10 in most all aspects of the sport – who maximised his abilities through a combination of hard-work and steely self-discipline. A look back to the 2001 @walkercup where @lukedonald finished his last amateur event in style pic.twitter.com/cLNqcOxnlN— The R&A (@RandA) May 25, 2020 Prioritizing traditional virtues such as accuracy off the tee, pristine ball-striking and solid putting, Donald’s unrivalled consistency and renowned strategic intelligence enabled him to out-think many more technically accomplished rivals and rise to the very summit of the professional game. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that where many players, fans and pundits have responded to the prospect of a spectator-less Ryder Cup with howls of indignation or bewilderment, Donald sensed opportunity. Confirmed as one of European captain, Padraig Harrington’s assistants a fortnight ago, the Englishman told the Sky Sports golf podcast that a behind-closed doors staging of the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin in September may yield the travelling side with a valuable advantage. "It certainly could benefit us [Europe]”, Donald reflected. “Obviously for anyone who watched the exhibition match last weekend and saw some live golf, there were only four players and there wasn't much energy there. "I think players feed off the energy, especially the home team. They feed off that positive vibe and the crowd can play a big part, that's why it's always an advantage to be at home. "If we were to play a Ryder Cup without any fans, then being in America it would be more favourable to the Europeans than the US team." As someone who featured on the winning side in all four Ryder Cup appearances as a player, as well as when he was a vice-captain during the 2018 contest at Le Golf National, we would be wise to regard Donald’s contribution seriously. In light of the Englishman’s comments, we should not be surprised if the European Tour’s resistance to the prospect of a behind-closed-doors Ryder Cup is significantly less substantial than that of their counterparts across the Atlantic. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
USA name Davis Love III and Zach Johnson Ryder Cup vice-captains
May 13, 2020 10:40 AM
 
Uncertainty reigns regarding the 43rd Ryder Cup. While the event remains slated to take place from 25 September at Whistling Straits Golf Course in Wisconsin, just a week after the recently rescheduled US Open, it is unclear whether fans will be permitted to attend. Indeed, several high-profile players, as well as European captain, Pádraig Harrington, have stated that a Ryder Cup devoid of spectators is not a Ryder Cup at all and should not take place. Amidst such a backdrop of uncertainty, both squads are blessed to be captained by two of the most even-tempered, methodical and rigorous professionals in the modern history of the sport. This blog made reference last week to the fastidiousness Harrington displayed in announcing Luke Donald as his second vice-captain, alongside Sweden's Robert Karlsson, for the Whistling Straits event, whenever it does take place. Not to be out-done, US captain, Steve Stricker has this week announced two vice-captains of his own, Davis Love III and Zach Johnson. These seem like shrewd appointments, both bringing leadership qualities, experience and significant Ryder Cup pedigree to the table. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker announced two more vice captains to his squad on Monday. https://t.co/2qqhU3WWXt pic.twitter.com/W2Kbbrn7eK— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) May 11, 2020 Indeed, Love is the second former captain to sign up as a deputy to Stricker, who had already selected his own predecessor, Jim Furyk. Love first helmed the team in a losing cause in 2012 and returned to claim a memorable 17-11 win over Darren Clarke's Europe four years later. Johnson, incidentally, was part of that team, his only victory in five Ryder Cup appearances, and he also served Furyk as a vice-captain after missing out on selection as a player two years ago. While the two-time major winner’s professional fortunes has gone into free-fall over the previous 18-months – he presently languishes at No. 247 in the Official World Golf Rankings – he remains close to the senior personalities in the PGA Tour locker-room and will be well-placed, therefore, to act as a conduit between management and players at Whistling Straits. Stricker told the PGA of America: "With the Ryder Cup it's important to surround yourself with quality individuals who you can lean on and who have the best interests of the team in mind. "Jim and I have talked about this a lot in the last year and now we are happy to add two Ryder Cup veterans in Zach and Davis to the conversation with the goal of putting this team in a prime position to win. "Both Zach and Davis share a passion to compete at the highest level and are strong communicators, which is important, especially when we're in the heat of competition." Whenever this Ryder Cup does take place, it is sure to be an epic battle. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
There is no easy solution to rescheduling the Ryder Cup
May 10, 2020 4:14 AM
 
For a tournament that may not even get played, the 2020 Ryder Cup has generated no shortage of media comment and intrigue. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell are just a few examples of leading European players who have said that the event shouldn’t go ahead if fans are not permitted to attend Whistling Straits Golf Club in September. This perspective has been endorsed publicly by European and US captains, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker, while Brooks Koepka is one of several top American golfers to have stated that a Ryder Cup without fans is not a Ryder Cup at all. 5 consecutive appearances 4 Ryder Cup wins 13 points returned Happy birthday, @McIlroyRory! pic.twitter.com/8Pa61IkYfR — Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) May 4, 2020 It is not difficult to empathise with such perspectives. The Ryder Cup, more than any other event in golf, is defined by its atmosphere. Take away the pressure-cooker environment generated by raucous fans lining the fairway from the 1st tee-box to the 18th green, and the players are competing in a wholly different event. McIlroy even emphasised astutely that by delaying the 43rd Ryder Cup to 2021 – a drastic step not taken since the 9/11 terror attacks – would allow Italy, one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19, additional time to prepare to host the event in 2023. “If they do delay it until 2021, the next Ryder Cup is supposed to be in Italy, and we know how badly affected Italy was by coronavirus”, McIlroy said. “So it gives that country an extra year to prepare for the Ryder Cup in 2023 instead of 2022.” There is thus, inarguably, a clear and coherent logic for delaying the event for 12-months. However, this is far easier said than done. For too often overlooked in the current debate surrounding September’s Ryder Cup is the fact that the Presidents Cup and Olympics are already set for next autumn. Golfers, especially the top ones, don’t care for scheduling clutter. Common wisdom holds that the Presidents Cup, played to very little external fanfare between the US and an international team, would shuffle along elsewhere. But that process would not be so simple. The Presidents Cup is a PGA Tour event whereas the biggest corporate entity in golf has no stake at all in the Ryder Cup. It is even pertinent that the Presidents Cup takes place at Quail Hollow, therefore in the US, next time around. In the aftermath of the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, every dollar will count and the PGA Tour is unlikely to be disposed to adopting a charitable attitude in negotiating the rescheduling of the Ryder Cup with the USGA and European Tour. Whatever about our sentimental attachment to fan attendance at the Ryder Cup, economic and commercial imperatives are likely to prove decisive in negotiations regarding its scheduling. If there’s a way the event can be staged safely behind closed doors this autumn, the shrewd golf observer should expect it to take place. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Padraig Harrington adds Luke Donald to Ryder Cup vice-captains
May 7, 2020 10:54 AM
 
Padraig Harrington is a stickler for preparedness. Never blessed with the sublime natural ability of a Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, the three-time major champion built a decorated professional career through the sheer sweat of his brow, working harder than 99% of his rivals to maximize his performance. Unsurprisingly, Harrington has applied a similar work ethic in his role as European Ryder Cup captain. Since day one, the Dubliner has been monitoring the performance stats of every potential player in the minutest of detail in an effort to identify the world-class combinations required to defeat the Americans on home soil at Whistling Straits Golf Club, Wisconsin in September. Indeed, it was only last month we heard he personally tested the durability of the European team’s rainwear by having his kids spray him with the garden hose while he practiced chipping. ICYMI: Luke Donald has been confirmed as a Ryder Cup vice-captain after Padraig Harrington accidentally revealed the news on the #SkyGolfShow! — Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) May 6, 2020 Now, of course, uncertainty reigns regarding the scheduling of the Ryder Cup, which remains slated provisionally for 25 September. Over a month has passed since the Daily Telegraph’s golf correspondent, James Corrigan reported that USGA and R&A were exploring the possibility of postponing the Ryder Cup until 2021. While Harrington initially dismissed these reports, his stance has since softened conspicuously and it is clear no one is sure whether the event will go ahead, with or without fans. Nevertheless, Harrington has vowed to continue preparing as though the event will take place in September and, speaking to Sky Sports Golf on Wednesday, he unintentionally revealed the identity of a new vice-captain, reflecting he had spoken on the phone to "Luke". This statement was clearly a reference to the former world No.1, Luke Donald, and Ryder Cup Europe later tweeted confirmation that Donald has been added as a second vice captain at Whistling Straits, with Sweden's Robert Karlsson appointed in September 2019. Donald, whose four Ryder Cup appearances all resulted in European wins, last featured as a player at the 2012 'Miracle of Medinah' and he boasts an impressive career record of 10.5 from a possible 15. The Englishman jokingly took to Twitter to post: "I thought this was supposed to be a secret @padraig--h." A vastly experienced professional, such as Donald seems sure to be a shrewd addition to the Old World’s backroom team. While doubt still lingers regarding the ultimate staging of the 43rd Ryder Cup, European fans can rest assured that, whenever the event does happen, their captain will have his side fully prepared. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Harrington: A 'no fans' Ryder Cup may have to happen
May 2, 2020 10:34 AM
 
To observe that uncertainty reigns regarding the shape and structure of the 43rd Ryder Cup, presently slated to take place from 25 September at Whistling Straits Golf Club in Wisconsin, would be an understatement. Over a month has passed since the Daily Telegraph’s golf correspondent, James Corrigan reported that USGA and R&A were exploring the possibility of postponing the Ryder Cup until 2021. European captain, Padraig Harrington initially dismissed these reports, avowing emphatically that there were no plans to push the tournament back a year. However, the Irishman’s stance has since softened conspicuously. On 13 April, Harrington stated on Irish radio that there is ‘absolute 100% consensus’ between the European and US leadership that the Ryder Cup ‘will not happen behind closed doors’. He reiterated this stance on 21 April, commenting that ‘For me and Steve (Stricker), neither of us would like a situation where the fans don’t turn up.’ Now it seems that Harrington, whose public statements we can safely assume reflect the opinion of the European Tour, has changed track once more. Speaking to The Times of London last week, the three-time major winner conceded that although staging a Ryder Cup without fans is not in the event's best long-term interests, the current captains might have to "take one for the team" and manage behind closed doors amid the COVID-19 crisis. A little bit of mental game and strategy. #paddysgolftips #activelycreateyourownreality @europeantour @pgatour #golfathome #staysharp @wilsongolf pic.twitter.com/KvlyAUSY96— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) April 28, 2020 "Everyone wants fans to be there, but the question is does sport need the Ryder Cup and should the Ryder Cup take one for the team?", said Harrington. "Would it be for the greater good of sport? It wouldn't be in the Ryder Cup's best interests but it could be in the best interests of enough people who want to see a big sporting occasion on TV." The PGA Tour plans to restart its season in June with the first four competitions closed to the public and Harrington said the PGA of America and European Tour would make a decision on the Ryder Cup after studying those events. "If those PGA Tour events go well, behind closed doors, then we're far more likely to see a Ryder Cup as normal," Harrington added. "It massively increases the odds of being with fans because by September we may have moved on. I assume there's no chance of a vaccine (by September) so we're looking at how well contained it is by then and how treatable it is." Ultimately, Harrington’s comments in The Times have done little to remedy the prevailing uncertainty regarding September’s event. For players, fans and captains, the sooner a firm decision is taken on staging the Ryder Cup, the better. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
Leaked emails reveal extent of European Tour's financial challenges
Apr 30, 2020 6:11 AM
Tags: European Tour   Keith Pelley   Ryder Cup   COVID-19   News   pga tour  
 
This blog reflected last month that, as serious as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be on the US PGA Tour, its effects on the less financially robust European Tour have the potential to be far graver. We even speculated that the ongoing disruption effected by the COVID-19 emergency might precipitate long-standing moves to unify the US PGA and European Tours to create a global professional governing body. The gravity of the situation facing the European Tour was illustrated vividly a fortnight ago when the PGA Tour announced a substantially restructured calendar, beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas on 8 June. The Old World circuit, by contrast, was deafeningly silent on the subject of its future plans and has yet to provide any indication of when play is likely to resume. Indeed, there can be no doubting the fact that European Tour coffers will suffer gravely as a consequence of the postponement of the 149th Open Championship and potential rescheduling of the Ryder Cup. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that European Tour Chief Executive, Keith Pelley has privately warned staff and players of slashed prize funds and a dramatically altered professional landscape when play does eventually resume in the Old World. The bleak tone that characterises a clutch of internal emails obtained by the Daily Telegraph set the gravity of the situation facing European golf in sharp relief. Keith Pelley on the #ShotClockMasters pic.twitter.com/suppeGjKRc — The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) June 10, 2018 "[The] infrastructure of tournaments could look radically different from what you have been used to," said Pelley. "Many of the things you have become accustomed to, such as top-class players' lounges or courtesy car services will most likely assume a different appearance, if indeed they are present at all. Prize funds will also most likely be different. The reality is, the pandemic is going to have a profound impact on the tour financially, as well as many of our partners, both in sponsorship and broadcast areas." Pelley added that they are looking at several options to cram in as much of the tournament schedule as possible should the season resume. So far, 14 events have been cancelled or postponed altogether. "We are looking at options such as (a) multiple tournaments in the same location; (b) two tournaments in the same week, or three in a fortnight; or (c) three or four tournaments back-to-back in the UK with a 14-day 'quarantine' period ahead of that," he continued. "[This would] allow players not from the UK to come over and self-isolate in advance, if that health requirement is still in place then." Whatever happens, the COVID-19 emergency will leave lasting scars on the professional golfing landscape and the long-term viability of a separate, European Tour remains very much open to question. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

Sean Donnelly
'I hope it goes ahead, with crowds' - Shane Lowry opposes closed-doors Ryder Cup
Apr 27, 2020 7:01 AM
Tags: News   Ryder Cup   pga tour   European Tour   Shane Lowry   COVID-19  
 
And so, the chorus of high-profile voices protesting the idea of playing September’s Ryder Cup behind closed doors continues to grow. Over a month has passed since the Daily Telegraph’s golf correspondent, James Corrigan reported that USGA and R&A were exploring the possibility of postponing the Ryder Cup until 2021. European captain, Padraig Harrington initially dismissed these reports, avowing emphatically that there were no plans to push the tournament back a year. WATCH: See what happened when we got Shane Lowry, Paul Ince, Owen Colgan, Wayne Mardle and Ruby Walsh on for a game of virtual Poker with Paddy Power... pic.twitter.com/CJn1nEU2Z0— Paddy Power (@paddypower) April 27, 2020 However, the Irishman’s stance has since softened conspicuously. On 13 April, Harrington stated on Irish radio that there is ‘absolute 100% consensus’ between the European and US leadership that the Ryder Cup ‘will not happen behind closed doors’. He reiterated this stance last week, commenting that ‘For me and Steve (Stricker), neither of us would like a situation where the fans don’t turn up.’ Harrington’s perspective has since been endorsed by world No.1, Rory McIlroy and several other high-profile PGA Tour professionals such as Russell Knox and Graeme McDowell. Now Shane Lowry has leant his voice to the growing chorus of players protesting the idea of staging the Ryder Cup without any fans. “Look, I hope the Ryder Cup goes ahead, I hope it goes ahead with the crowds, I hope I’m on the team”, Lowry reflected during a live broadcast on Paddy Power’s official Instagram page. “A Ryder Cup without fans just won’t be feel the same. The atmosphere the fans generate means that it’s a unique event in golf. We’ll just have to wait and see.” Nevertheless, the bulk of The Open champion’s comments were focused on making the team and ensuring he is paired with the right partner once on it. "GMac (Graeme McDowell) said to me before, if you want a good Ryder Cup record, you have to pick a good partner”, Lowry observed. “So I think myself and Rory would go well together. It would be nice to play with the best player in the world, but I'll play with anyone to be honest. But I think playing with Rory would be pretty good.” Lowry, ranked No.20 in the world, was coy when asked about his own hopes of making a belated Ryder Cup debut in Wisconsin. “They're very slow to pick rookies but when you look at what happened in Portrush last year and the ups and downs I’ve had in my career, and the stuff I’ve done, I wouldn't really class myself [as a ‘must pick’] other people might disagree with me, but hopefully… look, we’ll just have to wait and see, I don’t really know. "I’m trying to be very politically correct here because I’m very conscious of who is listening - Harrington is on some dodgy account there listening to me. We just have to wait and see. I can't wait to get back playing golf, to get out and hopefully make some points and try to make the team.” Whenever the 43rd Ryder Cup does take place, one struggles to envisage Lowry being absent from the European roster. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
0 Comments

GolfSmash Bloggers

Sean Donnelly
Blog Posts: 1568
crudbay
Blog Posts: 90
OfficialGolfSmash
Blog Posts: 38
CLTheGolfer
Blog Posts: 33
Matt Martin
Blog Posts: 10
MattRistine
Blog Posts: 6
Darren DeYoung
Blog Posts: 6
Anyagolf
Blog Posts: 4