Ryder Cup

Room To Improve

Engaging spectacle that it is, the Ryder Cup might benefit from some fresh ideas -- and here are five for starters

September 2012
US Ryder Cup Selections illustration

The Ryder Cup is one of the most savory items on the golf calendar, a country versus continent competition that rarely disappoints. Given the drama and lasting memories produced by the biennial matches, it is tempting to leave them alone and not mess with success.

Yet the event, which will be played for the 39th time later this month at Medinah CC outside Chicago, has continually evolved from the first one in 1927 -- changes big and small that have shaped how the teams are chosen and the contest is conducted. Here are five possible ways to tweak the Ryder Cup to improve and enliven one of sports' most compelling
spectacles and ensure it thrives in the 21st century.

Jose Maria Olazabel and Davis Love III

Let The Captains Select Their Entire Team

Skippers on both sides are glorified in victory and vilified in defeat. Sure, they matter -- sometimes a great deal -- but their impact is often overstated. There is a simple but profound way, though, to alter the captain's role and make him a much more critical factor.

If you think there is a lot of chatter about the respective four and two wild-card picks currently available to the captains of the United States and Europe, imagine if each leader selected all 12 of his players. Such a system would be a huge responsibility for the captains, rewarding their instincts for team chemistry, and a fascinating prelude to the matches for fans. Well before a flag is raised or a national anthem played, captains would truly matter.

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