Tweak The Ryder Cup Format

by Jeff Skinner

It seems like the much needed week off before this week’s Tour Championship may have dulled the momentum the playoffs had going.  With such big names and exciting tournaments the FedEx Cup Playoffs have exceeded expectations this year.  But I am sure as soon as Rory and the boys tee it up at East Lake the heat will be back on.

 As good as the playoffs have been, this year they are just a preliminary to the Ryder Cup.  For good or for bad, the Ryder Cup has grown into one of the biggest weeks in golf.  The four majors and the Ryder Cup hold a place well above all other events.  And every player will tell you there is no pressure like Ryder Cup Pressure.

But just because the Ryder Cup has grown into the behemoth that it is doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.  There is much discussion of late on ways to improve the Ryder Cup format to give the fans and players an even more exciting week.

The Ryder Cup’s little brother, The Presidents Cup came about when The PGA Tour realized how much cash can be made from these international matches.  The Ryder Cup is owned by The PGA of America and along with the PGA Championship generates millions of dollars of revenue.  The PGA Tour established the Presidents Cup to get their share of nationalistic cash.

There are a few differences between the two formats with the Ryder Cup competition lasting only three days as compared to four days for the Presidents Cup.  The Presidents Cup has six more matches than the Ryder Cup and in the Ryder Cup not all players have to play in the first days of competition. And in an interesting twist the President Cup Captains sit face to face and name their pairings as opposed to the Ryder Cup where the pairings are placed in an envelope in a blind draw format.

Some would have The Ryder Cup be more like the Presidents and vice versa but I think the Ryder Cup could be improved greatly by copying one aspect of the younger, more laid back Presidents Cup.  All players should have to play during the first two days.  With fewer matches a Ryder Cup Captain can hide a player who is off his game during the first days of competition.  It is a team event and the entire team should be in action for there to be real competition.

Over the years many Ryder Cup Captains have done just that: hide a slumping player.  If this is a team event than the entire team should play not just those that are playing well.

All the other differences between the two events are superficial compared to this glaring distinction.  I know the folks at The PGA of America might not warm up to the idea of copying something from the Presidents Cup but it would make a fantastic event even better.  And isn’t that what the Ryder Cup is all about?


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