Which European country deserves 2018 Ryder Cup Matches? Time to give Sweden the nod
Now that we’re in the same decade, it’s time to pay close attention to who receives Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup Matches.
Great Britain and Ireland will in all likelihood not host the event that year, having hosted the matches every year except the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama in the Costa Del Sol, Spain. One of our WorldGolf.com readers is among those curious of the possibilities:
I know it’s light years away, but which country would you choose for next European venue and why? Queries on GB & I “hogging” it, should the venue be influenced by the nationality of previous participants, a sentimental vote for Spain, and should some countries be excluded due to weather (therefore should/could dates be changed to accommodate them)? Will money take it out of geographical Europe, e.g. China, Asia, Middle East? - Wendy
First off, it’s hard to believe any sum of money could take the Ryder Cup to Asia or Dubai. To briefly tangent, I’d like to see Asian players, and more specifically South Koreans, get involved in the LPGA’s Solheim Cup, because frankly, the European women can’t hold a candle to Asia’s current contingent and would be a much better match versus the top American women.
Back to the Ryder Cup venue. I’ve never quite figured out how the Europeans award their venues, other than possibly whichever resort or country ponies up the most amount of cash, which would explain the Belfry hosting so many of them as well as the K Club in Ireland. I am happy to see Wales, under the strong lobbying from Welshman Terry Matthews to be hosting the event this year in order to help jump start its tourism industry and promote golf in the country. Yeah, Matthews’ deep pockets probably helped, but the cause is a good one.
That said, a big part of me wishes it was being hosted at Walker Cup host Royal Porthcawl down the road from Celtic Manor, as it’s one of my favorite links in the Isles but lacks the infrastructure compared to the purpose-built Twenty Ten Course, whose closing stretch will be a sight to behold with 40,000 spectators along the hillside.
As for “deserving countries” in 2018, Sweden immediately comes to mind as the frontrunner because there are almost always two Swedes on the European team (with exception to the 2004 matches. Only Spain on continental Europe has such pedigree. The problem with Sweden, like you referenced Wendy, is its latitude. The Ryder Cup is usually hosted in October and Sweden goes black by 6 pm, which makes getting in 36 holes a day hairy.
If the country were to be awarded the event, it would have to be moved to earlier in the year than 2010’s October 1-3rd, which may even be cutting it close in Wales, which will go dark by about 7 pm. If the dates were moved into September, that opens a can of worms with the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup schedule and European Tour’s Race to Dubai (if they’re even still in existence by 2018…), both priorities on the PGA and European Tours.
Sweden recently opened a golf course near Stockholm that would match the Ryder Cup specs well: the Stadium Course at Bro Hof Slott. Like Matthews with Celtic Manor, a rich businessman owns the club and would probably put his resources behind getting the tournament there.
I don’t think Germany, France, Netherlands or anywhere else on the continent is worthy of a Ryder Cup quite yet. It’d be great to get another match back in Spain. However, other journalists tell me Valderrama was a logistical disaster in 1997 thanks to horrible traffic and some bizarre fall weather. Having been to the Costa Del Sol, I’m not convinced the infrastructure is there to cope with all the traffic, even though Valderrama is a wonderful golf course.
Perhaps the PGA Catalunya course near Barcelona just up the coast would be a better fit. Should the Ryder Cup be hosted anywhere around Barcelona, I’d be the first media member to book my arrangements, that’s for sure, though I’d probably miss all my deadlines and wake-up calls while I’m stumbling around Las Ramblas into the wee hours. What a fun town…
Or maybe, like the Twenty Ten course, our 2018 venue hasn’t even been built yet.
France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have all officially bid on the 2018 Ryder Cup, and the winner will be announced next year.
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Even tho' money does play a large part in the venue selection, I can't see it going out of geographical Europe either.