On this morning’s Morning Drive Annika Sorenstam uncorked this gem:
“There is nothing like the Ryder Cup. Everyone was there.”
What about these international super-stars, each of whom would have been a strong addition to either team?
#6 – Adam Scott, the runner-up at this year’s British Open, wasn’t there
#12 – Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open and 2012 Masters runner-up, wasn’t there.
#22 – Ernie Els, a four time major winner and the current British Open Champion, wasn’t there.
#26 – Jason Day, two time major runner-up in 2011, wasn’t there.
#30 – Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, wasn’t there.
This, in a nutshell, is the problem with the Ryder Cup. It is touted so heavily by those in the American and European golf media that they have brainwashed themselves into thinking that it stands next to the four majors as one of the most prestigious and career making events in golf even though the international players are not eligible to compete in it.
Yes, it is fun to watch. And I, as an American, always root heartily for Team USA. But as far as the Ryder Cup being a major event, it fails the Nicklaus Test. In My Story he outlined the criteria for a major championship: “all of the world’s best players always in the field.” The same thing can be said about any event that has an impact on the elite player’s resume and on their place in golf’s pecking order.
Nicklaus always viewed the Ryder Cup more as an exhibition that gave the sport an opportunity to build goodwill. This is one reason why he gave Tony Jacklin the putt that resulted in a 16-16 tie at the 1969 edition. Too bad it couldn’t have stayed that way.