Why hasn’t the Ryder Cup been played in California since 1959?


Imagine it’s 2107 and the Ryder Cup returns to California for the first time since the US-Europe event was last played in the Golden State in 2033.

Impossible, you say? Would the PGA of America ever spend 74 years between Ryder Cups in one of the nation’s largest, most populous, and wildest golfing states?

Guess again. Because that is exactly what is happening now with the Ryder Cup, one of the major events of the game. When the matches hit Olympic club San Francisco in 2033, it will be 74 years since the matches last. last played in the state. It was 1959 when the El Dorado Country Club in Indian Wells hosted the event.

It is true that the 1991 Ryder Cup was first awarded to the PGA West in La Quinta, but those games escaped overnight at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. California golfers must therefore wait for their next Ryder Cup, in 12 years.

It’s almost impossible to explain the prolonged absence unless you understand that golf and golf courses aren’t necessarily the primary concerns when it comes to the Ryder Cup. Sometimes it’s about the availability of a course, sometimes it’s about time zones and sometimes it’s about who wants to promote their golf course.

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An American flag in the ground at the 18th hole.

Much like a major championship, the PGA of America needs a golf course that is serious about hosting the Ryder Cup. It’s easy to say that a pebble beach or a Riviera is Ryder Cup worthy, but do these courses want to go through years of preparation and potential hardship for members or the public to truly bring the event to life? a course? Sometimes the answer to this is a firm, “No. We’re going to move on.”

Second, a golf course may wish to host the event, but does a facility have what it takes to host it? Large modern events like the Ryder Cup need huge amounts of land for things like hospitality tents, TV complexes, parking lots, and even concessions and grandstands around keyholes. Not all courses have as much land available, and the PGA of America does not go to a course where the chances of maximizing profit are limited by a lack of space.

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As for California, well, there is the issue of the East Coast and European television. The US Open and the PGA Champion have both been played on the West Coast in recent years, with television embracing the prime-time viewing period, which means the game stretches until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. prime time on the east coast for viewers in that time zone. But it doesn’t work as well for the Ryder Cup, where TV in Europe is key. This could explain why the Ryder Cup is played on the East Coast or the Midwest and not the West Coast. It also explains why viewers on the West Coast have to get up at 5 a.m. to watch the game start for the first two days or this year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.

To be fair to the PGA of America, the Ryder Cup returns to the state, but only after its first visit to Bethpage Black in New York in 2025, and then to Hazeltine, Minnesota in 2029. The 2037 Ryder Cup has yet to come. been awarded, so it could be in California, just like the Cup games in 2041 or 2045. The Golden State could capture any of those events.

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And it’s also possible that having back-to-back Ryder Cups in the desert in the 1950s at country clubs in Thunderbird and Eldorado might seem unfair to people in states that may never host them. matches.

But this is California and some of the best courses in the world are found within its borders. It would be a shame if the PGA waited another 74 years to bring games back to the state after the Olympic club in 2033.

Larry Bohannan is The Desert Sun golf writer, he can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 778-4633.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Ryder Cup: Why Hasn’t California Hosted Since 1959?


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