Paul Azinger brought up this question when discussing the 2018 Ryder Cup with the Morning Drive crew, noting that he was the first American captain in the modern era to influence setup. He said it’s been more of a European tradition to meddle and suggested that Captain Thomas Bjorn exploited the U.S. strength. But the most interesting point: Azinger now agrees with Jack Nicklaus’ view that Captain’s shouldn’t have control over the setup.
While a sportsmanship element certainly seems undermined by course setup gamesmanship, and the 2018 Le Golf National presentation was just plain silly, I think the event is more interesting when the home team attempts to shape the course to their strengths. The move can easily backfire. But since the Ryder Cup seems determined to avoid genuinely captivating match play architecture with strong risk-reward holes, course setup ploys add intrigue.