The Ryder Cup is behind schedule in more ways than one | Tuesday Takes

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods looks on during his last Ryder Cup appearance, as a player in 2018.

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Hello, folks. Below you’ll find my Tuesday Takes — a bunch of golfy things I’ve been thinking about and maybe you have, too. Enjoy! 

1. The Ryder Cup is behind schedule (pt. 1).

Tiger Woods is probably going to be the Ryder Cup captain at Bethpage. He’s discussed it with the PGA of America. He acknowledge at the Masters he was going to be discussing it with the PGA again after the Masters. Even Jim Furyk, captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team, was talking about Woods as a shoo-in for the RC role during a press conference last week. 

Even if it feels like a done deal, we’ll hold tight. But the one thing we do know is that we’re wayyyy behind on making that decision. The last decade’s-worth of American Ryder Cup captains have, at the absolute latest, been announced in February of the preceding year. Meaning at least 20 months early. Sometimes they’re announced even earlier than that, because the marketing and promotion and scouting and team building and site-visits — it all takes time. A lot of time. And currently, the Bethpage Ryder Cup is just 17 months away. The captaincy is at least three months behind schedule. Which would never be much of an issue — we probably care too much about this event during its off-years — except the American team has once again been put on notice by what appears to be a European juggernaut. It’s time to get on with it.

2. The Ryder Cup is behind schedule (pt. 2).

We know Bethpage is hosting in 2025, Adare Manor’s hosting in 2027 and Hazeltine’s hosting in 2029, but we’ve got nothing finalized about the next Cup after that. The European host two Cups from now. And while that may not seem to matter, we are once again behind schedule. The event has typically announced host venues at least eight years out, which means we’re six months behind on hearing which European country will follow Ireland as RC host. 

Why? Well, the answer is complicated. In order to host the Cup, generally local governments need to get involved — as was the case with the extremely successful ’23 Cup in Italy — to approve building permits and orchestrate plans for a global sporting event landing on their turf. Spain’s Catalonia region was a front-runner for the honor until local government got in the way. Now, it’s looking like England is in the lead, but which English region will it be? 

There’s a cohort who want to bring the Ryder Cup to Manchester, to a place called Bolton, endorsed by Tommy Fleetwood. There’s a separate group vying to bring it to the London area, to a place called Luton Hoo, the owner of which seems to desperately want to create “the Augusta of Europe.”

My initial reaction: good luck with that. Put me down with the Bolton party and Team Fleetwood. But I don’t call the shots. I just keep track of how long it’s taking for someone else to make ’em. 

3. The Olympics have an unfortunate divide. 

While we’re on the topic of events where golfers play for their country, a troubling trend continues to proliferate in pro golf: the women are hyped for the Olympics and the men are somewhat indifferent. A scanning of press conferences lately will show you that there’s an important race happening in the women’s game for Olympic golf rankings. Players are continually asked about it and they’re all rather eager to play well enough these next two months of qualification. Lydia Ko wants to earn a third Olympic medal — a gold would give her a collection of all three. So Yeon Ryu was desperate to qualify on behalf of Korea, but never made it and is now retired. Atthaya Thitikul (Thailand) thinks it should be “the biggest thing for every athlete.”

But on the men’s side, for the third-straight Olympics, there seems to be a good bit of apathy. Adam Scott remains completely unmoved by the event, and has pulled his name out of consideration. Brooks Koepka and Tyrrell Hatton (both of whom would have struggled to qualify with LIV Golf events not earning world ranking points) both did the same. Matt Fitzpatrick was asked about the Olympics recently and said, while he’s excited and anxious to take part, he already anticipates it maybe being a one-and-done scenario for him. He wouldn’t necessarily need to play in the Olympics in 2028 once he’s done it already this year. (Quick, someone tell him the ’28 Olympics are going to be at Riviera Country Club!)

It all feels a bit disappointing to me. Essentially, the greatest sporting event in the world is offering our sport something cool. If you like it, and want to embrace it, it can only grow in importance. It can only get more cool! But the men’s pro golf world hasn’t taken to it in full force. And I think that’s too bad. Here’s hoping the people who do end up going are as avid as we’d like them to be. Having chatted with Xander Schauffele’s father in Augusta, Team Xander is extremely excited at the chance to defend their gold medal. We like that.

4. PGA Tour players are getting equity — but not all of ’em.

Wednesday is a big day for PGA Tour loyalists. They’ll find out how much equity they are set to earn in the forthcoming entity known as PGA Tour Enterprises. For the biggest names in the game it’ll be $50 million or more. For plenty of others, the equity will be valued more in the $1 million range. Thirty-six players are getting a piece of $750 million in grants, while the next 64 players receive their share of just $75 million in equity. That’s a stark difference! 

So, who’s No. 37, just on the outside looking in? Is Zach Johnson considered a “past legend” or a current premier player for the PGA Tour? He hasn’t advanced to the Tour Championship (this matters, oddly enough) since 2015. A total of 193 current and former players are set to find out what their loyalty was worth. And I think most of them may find it wasn’t quite worth the same monetary value LIV Golf was offering. As ever, it’s complicated. You can read more on it here.

5. Ludvig Åberg is the rising tide.

When I think about Ludvig Åberg, I think about ocean tides. The kind that don’t really seem like they’ll threaten your towel or sand castle but then they creep and creep and creep closer until suddenly they’re on top of you and you realize how strong they really were, flattening the beach as they went.

That’s what Åberg’s rise kinda feels like right now. It has been SO constant. It hasn’t been slow, but it’s been sustained. A little here, a little more there. A win in Europe, the cheat-code teammate at the Ryder Cup, a win on the PGA Tour, zero missed cuts in 2024, an unlucky second-place at Pebble, above average in everything, incredibly above average in driving, approaching the green and putting. He’s No. 3 in the world now, according to DataGolf. That’s higher than Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and all his Ryder Cup cronies.

I believe my accounting is correct here, but he’s played 112 competitive rounds since turning pro, and only 12 of them could be counted as outright bad days. Days in which he scored worse than two strokes outside the field average. Essentially, he’s playing one bad round of pro golf per month. Which is part of the reason he is always there, encroaching upon you. Kinda like an ocean tide, but one that never goes out. I think he wins a major this year. It may come in a few weeks, at a course where a one-time phenom in his mid-20s lit up the world just a decade ago. 

6. At some point it’ll end for Scottie and Nelly. But when…?

Is it wrong to think about the end for golf’s shining stars at the moment? Not the end of their careers but simply the end of the torrid runs they’re on. It can’t go on forever. And recent history would say it can’t really continue for much longer, period. Scottie may seem to have unbreakable game and Nelly may have the most perfect, repeatable swing, but golf is undefeated at humbling everyone. Eventually, the fickle nature of bodies and schedules and minds makes it impossible to beat this game, and everyone else playing it, every single time out.

Profile images of Nelly korda and scottie scheffler
In Nelly Korda and Scottie Scheffler’s dominant runs there are lessons for us all
By: Michael Bamberger

Which is why I’m already thinking about the end of these runs and wondering how we’ll appreciate them. It’s been very difficult to appreciate them in the moment, in part because they’re happening at the same time. To compare Korda to Scheffler is to do her a disservice given her achievement (although nobody is too upset to be in Scheffler’s company, these days). As soon as Korda won her fifth straight, we barely had a few hours before we had to re-react to Scheffler winning his fourth of five starts. Both recent wins were slow burns where we had to consider other potential winners until, well, it’s Sunday afternoon and they’re winning by multiple shots. Again. 

Both players are off this week, off next week, and off the week after that. Which leaves a lot of time for us to ponder: What will we have learned about this level of golfing brilliance? What are we learning right now? 

7. Is tennis learning from golf? Maybe golf should learn from tennis. 

The most avid readers will have seen plenty of comparisons between golf and tennis in recent months. Both sports are opening their doors — to varying degrees — to investment from Saudi Arabia. But how much?

This week, it’s been reported that the four governing bodies of tennis majors are leading a charge for a simplified, elite pro tennis tour. Fewer events, longer offseason, equal pay, all of it amounting to even more importance for their four major tournaments: Wimbledon, the Aussie Open, the French Open and the U.S. Open. This isn’t entirely exclusive from a separate plan led by Saudi investment that will also promote equal pay for the top levels of pro tennis, but that focuses more on creating a big, annual event to kick off the schedule in Saudi Arabia every January.

Essentially, we have tennis leaders thinking, Hmmmm, could we learn from the fracturing that happened in golf, by resisting slightly, banding together and making moves ourselves? And while nothing has been finalized yet, it makes me now wonder, Hmmmm, could golf learn from the moves of tennis? Could golf’s governing bodies come together to promote equal pay, a simplified schedule that traipses the world, and one that promotes the importance of the four majors? Was that happening all along? Would Phil Mickelson consider this tennis news collusion … or competition and innovation? The mind wanders…

I’m here for that discussion if anyone wants to have it. Feel free to send along any thoughts to

Sean Zak Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.