Countdown to the Ryder Cup accelerates as team rosters take form

Expect to see the team of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth often during the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. They won five of a possible seven points as partners in 2014 and 2016.

We’re three weeks away from the Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between the United States and Europe. The U.S. leads the all-time series 26-13 and holds the Cup after winning in convincing fashion at Hazeltine in 2016.

We’re counting down the days until the opening tee shot, no doubt.

Recent history, however, favors Europe, which has won the last five matches held on its home soil. The U.S. last won in Europe, in 1993, at The Belfry when Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were less than a year old.

Le Golf National is the host course for the matches, which head to France for the first time.

PerryGolf is thrilled to offer a fully managed Escorted Tour to Southwest France in September, 2019. Guests will enjoy five rounds and four wine tastings during this 11-Night journey through the Bordeaux and Biarritz regions. While France might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a golf trip, the presence of this year’s Ryder Cup proves the country is rapidly growing in appeal and opportunity. Medoc Les Chateaux is a terrific links inspired design offered on this Escorted Tour while Saint Emilion is a recent addition, yet another polished gem from the creative genius of Tom Doak (Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers).

Indulge in the rich gastronomy and exquisite wines of Bordeaux, enjoy the refined sophistication of elegant Biarritz, tour Saint Jean de Luz, a noteworthy tourist destination since the early 19th century.

As it pertains to the upcoming Ryder Cup matches, he 12-man roster for each team is rounding into shape. Both teams are stacked. Anticipation always surges in the days prior to the Ryder Cup, still expert analysts feel these could be some of the best matches ever. Earlier this week, NBC Sports golf analyst Mark Rolfing told Sirius XM PGA Tour radio hosts Brian Katrek and John Maginnes that the 2016 Ryder Cup was the greatest sporting event he’s ever covered or attended, including several Super Bowls and other major spectacles around the globe. No one would be surprised if these evenly matched teams in 2018 surpass that lofty mark.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk made three of his four picks Tuesday afternoon and there were no surprises as he selected Ryder Cup rookie Bryson DeChambeau, winner of consecutive FedEx Cup Playoffs events, and wily veterans Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. The American legends have combined to appear in 18 Ryder Cups, participating in 78 matches.

Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn also added experience with his four selections on Wednesday. He selected Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey – who bring a wealth of winning memories in their combined 19 appearances.

Poulter has played well over the last year and has a phenomenal Ryder Cup record, including victories in 12 of 18 matches and a perfect singles record. Garcia has struggled this season but is on the record calling the Ryder Cup his favorite event. He’s claimed 22 points in eight appearances during which he’s been on the winning side five times.

Furyk has one final selection to make after this week’s BMW Championship at Aronimink, outside Philadelphia. While the soon-to-be 29-year-old bomber Tony Finau appears to be the leading candidate, Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele or Brandt Snedeker could play their way into consideration with a victory this weekend. 

Of course, the Ryder Cup has been contested throughout Europe over the last decade as the European Tour has shown the wisdom and foresight to expose an array of nations to the exciting matches in an effort to enhance interest and grow the game.

PerryGolf can take you and your favorite golfing partners to walk the same fairways and greens where matches have been decided, cups won and champagne-soaked celebrations spilled deep into the night.

Our 2019 British Isles Golf Cruise includes attendance to the final round of The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, and also a round at the K Club Palmer Course, site of Team Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in 2006. The Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course, which played host to Europe’s convincing 16.5 to 11.5 romp in 2014 is a popular selection on any of our Custom Tours to Scotland.

The dramatic finish at Valderrama was the ideal setting for the 1997 Ryder Cup when the late Seve Ballesteros captained Team Europe to victory over an American squad that included a rookie named Tiger Woods. Perhaps no golfer is more synonymous with the Ryder Cup than the fiery Spaniard. His presence, when the team expanded to include all of continental Europe in the late 1970s, helped elevate the matches to the worldwide status they enjoy today. Ballesteros and fellow countryman Jose Maria Olazabal, known as the Spanish Armada, breezed to an 11-2 record in their fourball and foursomes matches. Valderrama is a staple on PerryGolf’s many Cruises to the region, including the 13-Night Spain, Portugal & France Golf Cruise in late May / early June 2020.   

Don’t miss these 5 must-play courses in Spain

European golf observers consider El Saler, designed by Javier Arana and opened in 1968, one of the elite courses in Continental Spain.

For all of Spain’s charm and widespread appeal, perhaps golf has received a short shrift from casual observers in discussions covering the nation’s allure. Like a hidden diamond in a showcase of gems, the golf courses are eclectic, entertaining and enjoyable, offering a variety of styles from an outstanding collection of architects.

Later this month, PerryGolf’s cruise to the Iberian Peninsula departs Barcelona as guests board the elegant 690-seat Azamara Journey on a nine-night voyage that includes six rounds of golf. The Iberian Peninsula Golf Cruise (May 29 – June 7) is one of many options offered by PerryGolf aimed toward travelers seeking to explore the golf available in this intriguing region. The incredible beauty, culture and gastronomy in Spain are a given, and the world class golf shall no longer be overlooked. 

https://www.perrygolf.com/golfcruising/iberian-peninsula-golf-cruise-2019-may3.php

From Ballesteros to Olazabal, Jimenez to Garcia and today’s blossoming star, Jon Rahm, the Spaniards have, for decades, made a significant imprint on professional golf. Without compare, this nation with 46.5 million residents produces fiery champions and colorful characters. Each year it’s also becoming apparent to an international array of guests that the golf courses scattered about the nation are excellent.

The climate, of course, is ideal.

While there are nearly 350 courses sprinkled through Spain, many of the best are concentrated along the Southern coast from Isla Cristina in the west along the Portugal border through Costa del Sol and east to Costa Blanca. Splashed with sun and later sipping sangria, embrace the beauty of the coastline and azure water of the Alboran Sea in pursuit of pars and postcard memories.

Make sure you make a tee time at one of these five Spanish delights.

PGA Catalunya (Stadium)

Located 45 minutes north of the iconic city of Barcelona, the Stadium course at PGA Catalunya is Spain’s answer to the original Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass – known best for its diabolical 17th hole that terrorizes pros each spring during the the PLAYERS.

European PGA Tour veterans Angel Gallardo and Neil Coles collaborated and designed a layout measuring nearly 7,400 yards from the tips but also catered it to golfers across the handicap spectrum by building five sets of tees (the yardage is 5,500 from the forward tees). Large firs and ample water hazards border wide fairways and undulating greens. Expect the trademark semi-island greens surrounded by railroad ties.

PGA Catalyunya golf professional Enric Lopez shares these tips to taming the hearty Stadium course, which can be intimidating from the teeing ground and has been ranked No. 1 in Spain.

Real Club Valderrama 

Tiger Woods made his Ryder Cup debut on this venerable Robert Trent Jones Sr. design in 1997 and the matches produced a unfavorable result for the young professional and his American teammates. Feeding off the passion and purpose of captain Seve Ballesteros and buoyed by phenomenal performance in the foursomes and fourball matches, the Europeans claimed the Cup, 14.5 to 13.5.

The course remains a fixture on the European PGA Tour schedule, serving as host for the Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Oct. 18-21. Sergio Garcia is the defending champion for the event certain to attract yet another strong international field.

The members purchased the club, which includes the par-3 course and clubhouse, last fall for $28 million Euros and there are plans to add another 18-hole championship layout.

El Saler 

With holes reminiscent of a Scottish links and others winding through a Mediterranean forest, variety and beauty are the hallmarks of this short yet challenging design. Located just south of Valencia, overlooking the Balearic Sea, this gem from architect Javier Arana measures nearly 7,000 yards from the championship tees and is guaranteed to test a golfer’s acumen in every area of the game.

Bernhard Langer tamed El Saler in the final round of the 1984 Spanish Open, firing a course-record 10-under 62 to seal the victory. He went on to win the European Tour Order of Merit that year. Langer again won the event on El Saler five years later. Robert Karlsson (2001) and Raphael Jacquelin (2013) also have fond memories of Spanish Open titles at El Saler.

Arana designed 10 courses in his career, starting in 1946 until his passing in 1975. He considered El Saler the masterpiece due to the unspoiled land and intricate green complexes. Learn more about Arana in this excellent profile from 2009.

Not fond of earthmoving, probably due to the associated cost, Arana held that 80 per cent of the course was nature and that man should only be responsible for 20 per cent of the final design … Good routing and usage of available land was one of his main strengths: in flatter seaside property, he excelled at minimizing green-to-tee walks

Finca Cortesin

With a healthy 7,500 yards from the championship tees and more than 100 bunkers, this three-time host of the Volvo World Match Play Championship (2009, 2011, 2012) underwent a significant upgrade and renovation in the summer of 2017. The greens were the centerpiece of this project and the reviews since have been positive for this Cabell B. Robinson design.

Robinson, an American, received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton in the late 1960s and attended graduate school in design at Harvard. He went to work for legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1971 and led his European department until 1987 when he started his own firm. Robinson has courses throughout Europe but none are held in higher regard than Finca Cortesin, slightly inland from the Mediterranean, routed through a valley. There are many unforgettable holes, thanks to the lack of residential development on the property.

Real Golf Club Sotogrande

When a man as esteemed in his field as Robert Trent Jones Sr., claiming 500 courses designed or renovated, proclaims a course as ranking among his five favorites then it’s wise to heed the words – and better yet, procure a tee time, with alacrity.

The course was RTJ’s first in Europe, opening in 1964. It surely opened the doors for him to spread his genius across the continent. Any smart developers or landowners who were anxious to contribute to Europe’s rapid golf course growth at the time hoped to lure Trent Jones to design their layout.

Click here to watch a flyover video of the course.

Better still, the course enjoyed a significant renovation, completed in July 2016 and engineered by the team of Rulewich & Fleury that included the installation of 419 Bermudagrass fairways.

Ballesteros won the Spanish Professional Championship at Sotogrande in 1987, holing a greenside bunker shot on the 16th hole in the final round. The members probably still talk about that one in the 19th Hole.

 

 

Davis Love III named US Ryder Cup Captain

Both captains for the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah have now been announced and I believe that both are very worthy selections.  The ‘not so’ big secret of Davis Love III’s appointment was announced yesterday and he will lead the US team against Jose Maria Olazabal and the Europeans when the two meet again next year.  As a veteran of 6 Ryder Cups, as a player, and as vice captain to Corey Pavin, Davis is highly qualified for the job of trying to wrestle the Ryder Cup back from Europe.  Click here for more details.

By Gary Sheppard.  Gary has been with PerryGolf for over 4 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.

Olly Confirmed as European Ryder Cup Captain

I was delighted to learn today that Jose Maria Olazabal has been confirmed as Colin Montgomerie’s successor to be the European Ryder Cup Captain.  He was always the favorite to take over from Monty – but it was never guaranteed – and there was even speculation that he would prefer to concentrate on his own golf and try to qualify for the matches in 2012.  

Having competed in 7 matches over a 19 year career, Jose Maria is a Ryder Cup legend.  He lies 5th in the European standings for most matches won and most points won respectively.  Click here for more details.

By Gary Sheppard.  Gary has been with PerryGolf for over 4 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.