Ryder Cup

“While it is disappointing

that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year, the decision to reschedule is the right thing to do under the circumstances,” said U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker.

Matthew Greenwood was at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club as a tournament marshal. The Chaska resident made his claim to be back at the course in 2028, purchasing a Ryder Cup 2028 sweatshirt at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship last year.

When The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA TOUR jointly announced July 8 that both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have been rescheduled and will now be played one year later than originally planned -- the return to Hazeltine now in 2029 -- Greenwood wondered what that meant for his now collector's item.

It means he's going to have to buy a 2029 shirt now.

The 43rd Ryder Cup, scheduled for Sept. 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, has been rescheduled for Sept. 21-26, 2021.

All subsequent Ryder Cups after Whistling Straits will also shift to odd years: 2023/Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (Rome, Italy); 2025/Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, New York); 2027/Adare Manor (County Limerick, Ireland); 2029/Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minnesota); 2031/Europe (to be determined); 2033/The Olympic Club (San Francisco); 2035/Europe (to be determined); and 2037/Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Maryland).

Eric Rule, general manager at Hazeltine National, said the club had a limited time window to purchase 2028 Ryder Cup gear, so what they had, most was sold already.

The decision to reschedule the Ryder Cup was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County, with the health and well-being of all involved as the top priority.

"Unlike other major sporting events that are played in existing stadiums, we had to make a decision now about building facilities to host the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. "It became clear that as of today, our medical experts and the public authorities in Wisconsin could not give us certainty that conducting an event responsibly with thousands of spectators in September would be possible. Given that uncertainty, we knew rescheduling was the right call. We are grateful to PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners at the TOUR for their flexibility and generosity in the complex task of shifting the global golf calendar.

“As disappointing as this is, our mandate to do all we can to safeguard public health is what matters most. The spectators who support both the U.S. and European sides are what make the Ryder Cup such a unique and compelling event and playing without them was not a realistic option. We stand united with our partners from Ryder Cup Europe, the NBC Sports Group, Sky and our other broadcast partners around the world. We look forward to delivering the Ryder Cup’s renowned pageantry, emotion and competitive drama to a global audience in 2021," he said.

Rule, which took over the general manager role at Hazeltine National in Feb. 2018, understands the amount of preparation that goes into hosting a Ryder Cup. He worked for 27 years at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1995.

"Timing wise they were getting to a point where they had to put up infrastructure. They built roads and such already. You need to have a decision before you put up 50 or 100 hospitality tents and bleachers and stuff. It's good for (Whistling Straits) to know they don't have to keep waiting. They know now they don't have to get everything up," Rule said.

The Ryder Cup, which began in 1927, brings together the finest tour professionals from the United States and Europe. Rule said the ironic twist is now the Ryder Cup will be able to celebrate its 100th anniversary at the 2027 event in Ireland.

"While it is disappointing that the Ryder Cup won't be played this year, the decision to reschedule is the right thing to do under the circumstances," said U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker. "At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have the opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen."

It's been a double whammy for Hazeltine National this summer. The 2020 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, co-hosted with Chaska Town Course, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Amateur Championship is still scheduled for 2024.

"This year everything seems to be changing by the minute. We all kind of figured the Ryder Cup would be moving, but no one really knew for sure what the long term plan would be. This is exactly what happened in 2001 when The Belfry was supposed to happen and 9/11 occurred and they pushed it back a year to even numbers," Rule said.

While the club has not hosted a banquet or wedding since early March, the course itself has seen an uptick in play this summer among its members. Caddies have returned to work in the last three weeks as well.

"Our member play is way up. We held off guest play early in the year so our members could enjoy the golf course until we kind of had a feel for what was going to happen. You know, some people are cautious, but I think we've been handling everything really well. I think this may be the new normal," Rule said.

Single-person carts -- unless two people are from the same family -- are allowed on the course. Rule said the noodles remain in the bottoms of the cup, but like the return of sand trap rakes, he thinks flagstick removal from players is also coming soon.

"We've had great weather. I bet we've had another month of play available than in previous years," the Hazeltine general manager said.

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