Where Should The 2031 Ryder Cup in Europe Be Held?
We look at the runners and riders for the 2031 Ryder Cup and why the governing bodies are missing a huge trick
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For some bizarre reason we know that the 2051 US Open will be taking place at Oakland Hills. The PGA of America aren’t quite as forward thinking as the USGA but we have all got the 2037 Ryder Cup date in our diary, with Congressional marked next to it.
In Europe things are kept a little closer to the chest with the R&A still to inform us where the 2026 Open will head to. In terms of the Ryder Cup, which is run by the PGA and DP World Tour, we are yet to find out where the 2031 competition will be staged.
Since Europe joined the party in 1979 the following countries have held a home Ryder Cup – England (5), Spain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France and Italy. The Belfry, home to the PGA, has staged four of these but the Midlands resort has already pulled out of the running for 2031 though they may well be interested in the next one in 2035.
Hulton Park in Bolton was a leftfield possibility though the local councillors rejected the proposals with one protester claiming that the plans were a ‘housing project in golf clothing’. A possible U-turn might arise with a need for more major events to be staged outside of London but the current English frontrunner is The London Club in Kent.
This ticks plenty of boxes; given its proximity to the capital, it has held tour events over the years, there is endless space given there are 36 holes on the property and it sits next to the M25.
Another frontrunner is PGA Catalunya in Spain, which has held just one Ryder Cup previously when Seve Ballesteros led the hosts to victory at Valderrama. Catalunya was keen to host the 2023 competition and, under the impetus and money of Irish millionaire Denis O’Brien, it has received plenty of backing from the local federations and government.
Who knows what golf and the Ryder Cup will look like in nine years’ time but the onus is on the host venue to play host to the DP World Tour for a number of years as all its predecessors have done. Take the K Club as a good example who staged the European Open from 1995-2007 before dropping off the radar.
Aside from all the financial backing involved the handing out of the host venue there is also at least a nod to exploits of its home stars though probably less than we like to imagine. For all the talk of Seve and the Ryder Cup there has been just one lone trip to his homeland which seems a paltry return while Germany and the might of Bernhard Langer is yet to be recognised.
Portugal is an absolute hotbed of European golfers though lacks in any Ryder Cup representatives while Sweden, who have contributed 11 players, is another country which is yet to host a single competition. Their brightest star, Henrik Stenson, was of course due to skipper the European effort in Italy next year before LIV Golf came calling which has left Luke Donald to carry out those duties – this week he has been in Rome to push the one year to go campaign alongside Zach Johnson.
If we are to believe that the Ryder Cup is the third biggest sporting event on the planet, behind the Olympics and World Cup, then surely golf is missing a trick in terms of its venue? Yes, ideally we’d have an on-course hotel and grand venues like Versailles for gala dinners but, for one week of the year away from any opening ceremonies, every golf fan can agree on how special the British and Irish links are.
And yet we’re relatively short changed by the quality of venues where the Ryder Cup travels to.
Close to 240,000 punters came through the gates at Royal Portrush at the 2019 Open and that included some of the grimmest final-day weather that the Championship had ever witnessed. Northern Ireland is another country who have never hosted a Ryder Cup – could you imagine a Ryder Cup on the Dunluce Links?
Royal Lytham & St Annes has hosted two Ryder Cups in the day when the great links courses staged the competition. Lytham hasn’t staged an Open since 2012 but where are the downsides of putting on three days of matchplay golf?
If you were to line up the recent Walker Cup venues – yes, we know the Walker Cup is run by the R&A and USGA but Joe Public has so little interest in that aspect of it – against the Ryder Cup this century then it’s fairly eye-watering in terms of the quality of the courses.
2023 Old Course
2019 Royal Liverpool
2015 Royal Lytham & St Annes
2011 Royal Aberdeen
2007 Royal County Down
2023 Marco Simone
2018 Le Golf National
2010 Celtic Manor
2006 K Club
2002 The Belfry
The 2023 Walker Cup should scream out at you as Tiger Woods’ favourite course on the planet plays host to a matchplay competition between GB&I and the United States a few weeks ahead of their professional counterparts heading to a rebuilt stadium course in Rome.
If the past few months have taught us anything then the governing bodies need to come a lot closer together to make the top end of the professional game work. If ever there was a case to trot out the ever-nauseating 'grow the game' mantra it would be for a Ryder Cup at the most decorated course, or one of its peers, in the world.
And while we’re rewriting the rules of the Ryder Cup why on earth – aside from the obvious schedule compartments – can’t we find a week earlier in the year to host it? The qualifying period can run from any period and, in Europe, there always seems to be a race against time weather wise to squeeze in 36 holes of fourballs and foursomes in a day before we can all breathe sigh of relief with the singles?
In Paris we had to wait for the FedEx Cup to play out, witnessing Woods’ spectacular victory at East Lake, only to then see the game’s biggest superstar with nothing left in the tank to give at the Ryder Cup.
We’ve moved a Major from August to May and everyone’s got on with it so why can’t common sense prevail and shove the Ryder Cup up the calendar into a spot where weather and daylight hours don’t run the risk of spoiling it.
Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.
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