Skippers on both sides are glorified in
victory and vilified in defeat. Sure, they
matter—sometimes a great deal—but their
impact is often overstated. There is a simple
but profound way, though, to alter the captain’s role and make him a much more critical factor.
If you think there is a lot of chatter about the respective
four and two wild-card picks currently available to the
captains of the United States and Europe, imagine if each
leader selected all 12 of his players. Such a system would
be a huge responsibility for the captains, rewarding their
instincts for team chemistry, and a fascinating prelude
to the matches for fans. Well before a flag is raised or a
national anthem played, captains would truly matter.
2Improve The venues The quality/allure of a course has seldom been the
sole factor in determining where big events are staged. And
golf politics and the almighty dollar (or Euro) seem to speak
louder than ever. That said, how cool would it be if the Ryder
Cup bowed less to the bottom line and in the process was
held more frequently on classic courses?
Having played the matches on three traditional gems
(Oak Hill, The Country Club and Oakland Hills) within
the past two decades, the PGA of America is less guilty
of omitting the classics than the European Tour, which
hasn’t brought the Ryder Cup to a links since 1977 at
Royal Lytham & St. Annes. That is way too long.
3play The ma Tches over Four days Ins Tead oF Three
The current format of two-session, dawn-to-dusk competition for the first two days (foursomes and four-ball matches)
followed by a day of 12 singles matches has been the norm
since 1979, but other schedules were used previously. There
is no reason a new scheme couldn’t be employed now.
Following the lead of the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup
could expand its drama to Thursday through Sunday. As in
the matches between the U.S. and an International roster,
contest six team matches on the first two days (foursomes
one day, four-ball the other), with two four-match ses-
sions in both formats on the third day. The final day would
remain 12 singles matches. There would be 32 total points
at stake—the same number available for the Ryder Cup
between 1963 and 1975—instead of the present 28.