Darren Clarke has been chosen European Ryder Cup Captain.
The 2016 Ryder Cup captains have been chosen. The European Tour officially announced on Wednesday that Darren Clarke has been chosen to lead the European Team at Hazeltine Golf Club.
Although the official U.S. announcement has yet to be made, the Golf Channel leaked the story earlier this week that Davis Love III has been chosen for the second time as captain of the U.S Team.
Love captained the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team that lost to the Europeans after leading 10-6 heading into Sunday singles at Medinah. He was second guessed in the press and by golf fans for possibly over-playing Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in those matches, but on the whole did a great job.
The bottom line was that Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter simply out played their opponents on Sunday and the Euros eked out a 1-point win.
The PGA of America after the last defeat at Gleneagles and the meltdown that occurred between the players and Captain Tom Watson, decided something had to change. Their answer was to create a task force to discuss the situation and come up with a plan of action.
Paul Azinger and Fred Couples appeared to be the front-runners in the race for the 2016 captain’s position, but in the end the committee decided Love was a better overall choice.
The players admire and respect Davis Love, but will they compete for him?
Golf Channel reports that Davis Love will lead the U.S. Team in 2016.
The Hazeltine Ryder Cup could truly become a redemption for Love and secure his spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame. It also gives the players a chance to atone for their utter failure under Love at Medinah.
For the PGA of America the Love captaincy becomes a bridge to build a more stable and consistent process in appointing Ryder Cup captains.
What the PGA of Ameica earns from their share of each Ryder Cup is a closely guarded secret, but it has been reported that the European tour made £70 million ($108 million US) in 2014 alone.
Needless to say a huge amount of money is involved. The collective wisdom employed by any true-blue American is to appoint a committee to study, ruminate, discuss and ultimately do nothing, but create a mechanism to spread the blame, if the whole thing falls apart.
Former PGA of America President, Ted Bishop went way off the reservation with his pick of Tom Watson as the captain for the 2014 team. The subsequent defeat and debacle left the current PGA of America hierarchy, Derek Sprague and Pete Bevacqua scrambling for the cover of the committee system to make the types of decisions that get people fried in the media and fired from their lucrative jobs.
On the other side of the coin, the elephant in the room, is the lack of payment to the players for their time and effort in the Ryder Cup. Contributions to their charity are nice, but that don’t put fuel in the G5.
The players all give lip service to the fact that they are just happy to be playing for their country, but let’s not be fooled here. When the European Tour and the PGA of America are making a couple hundred million dollars from their labor, the players and their agents want a piece of that action.
None are about to publicly open up about this particular issue, however. They have all seen what happened to David Duval in 1999, when he suggested players should be paid for Ryder Cup appearances.
Deep down the players have to be resentful of the huge amounts of money being earned, when they are on the front line getting grilled in the press for poor play and losing Samuel Ryder’s cup.
Since 1995, the Europeans have won eight of the last 10 and six of the last seven Ryder Cups. The American team is becoming a mockery and the PGA of America has reached a critical stage.
When does the contest become inconsequential, if one team always wins?
The Europeans are still celebrating their win at Gleneagles last September.
The problems for the PGA of America and the U.S. Ryder Cup team run much deeper than who will captain the 2016 squad or even the next 10 teams.
As with most things, whether it be business, marriage or sports, problems generally boil down to who gets to keep the money.
As Cuba Gooding, so elequently put it in the movie, “Jerry Maguire,” “Sho’ Me the Money, Baby!”
Right now the American players aren’t getting any and that affects their performance. The Europeans are just happy to be there, as their individual endorsement deals increase with every U.S. defeat. Plus the money earned from each Ryder Cup keeps the European Tour afloat for one more year.
The Europeans are loyal to a fault to the tour that helped them all get started as professionals. The Americans see it as their god-given right to be paid and expect as much. The PGA of America made it plain back in the 1960’s that they wanted to keep control of the purse strings.
In 1968, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus led the players’ group that split from the PGA of America to become the PGA Tour and even though the players are much younger today, they are all about the money.
The Ryder Cup has become one of the biggest and most watched sports events in the world. The concept of professionals playing for no pay is nice, but if the American team has any hope of winning in the future, that probably has to change.