Lorne Rubenstein said "the golf world itself came alive during the Ryder Cup. There’s nothing in golf like a Ryder Cup. Nothing."
Mark Lamport Stokes notes that the Ryder Cup "has never been more vibrant or in better health." And quotes Rory McIlory saying, "This is the most special and unique golf tournament we have, period."
In case anyone did not know it, last week reminded us that match play with a team and nationality component supersedes stroke play. Looking ahead to the 2016 Rio Olympics, longtime readers here know that golf returns with two 72-hole individual stroke play events. One for men, one for women.
And longtime readers know that from day one, I've viewed this as a highly unfortunate decision by the International Golf Federation that looked to players for input. Players who are good at playing golf, not so good in the vision department.
We also know there are also other issues that stuck us with a format that will not excite "the base" nor will it do much to bring in new fans of our great sport. In no particular order:
- There is the IOC's concern about beds in the Olympic Village, which resulted in just 60 players making the Olympic fields. I'm guessing Luke and Diane Donald, for instance, will not be bunking up in a glorified dorm room with the family come 2016.
- There is the dreadful scheduling mess that 2016 brings with the four championships, the ResetCup and the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, making anything over four days of competition a concern to the IGF. (It would have been an ideal year for the PGA to be played in the spring, but the PGA of America locked into Baltusrol for PGA anniversary reasons well before Rio was even selected.)
- A field of 60 instead of 64 makes a match play bracket that much more difficult. A small field with limits on the number of players from each country also limits the number of two-player team possibilities.
- There is the time-honored and depressing excuse that match play could leave television with an undesirable final. And that may be true, but as we've seen with the WGC Match Play, television also gets far more compelling action each day of the event instead of only on the final day as you get in stroke play.
- And of course, the relentless, withering, exhausting but consistent resistance to outside-the-box thinking or imagination coming from within the golf establishment's leaders who make up the IGF.
Olympic golf will not move any needle with its current 72-hole stroke play format and the Ryder Cup only reminded us of this. Even before the Medinah Miracle, Nick Faldo reiterated the need to re-think things last week, proposing that a reboot be considered and even mentioned the possibility of a mixed doubles element like Olympic tennis.
This year's Ryder Cup proved that match play, and preferably one with a team element, is more exciting and emotional than any sudden death playoff for the bronze medal will ever be.
So how, intelligent readers, do we begin the process of asking the IGF and the IOC to revisit this dead-on-arrival format so that golf can put its best foot forward in 2016?