Finchem taking most of the flak
Tim Finchem, commissioner of the US Tour, is the man getting most of the blame for rain-ruined 38th Ryder Cup.
Tim Finchem, commissioner of the US Tour, is he man getting most of the blame for the rain-ruined 38th Ryder Cup – and what might happen again in Chicago in two years’ time if nothing changes.
The match at Celtic Manor is the first to be held in October on this side of the Atlantic since 1965, when it was nothing like the major sporting event it is now.
And the scheduling of the FedEx Cup play-offs, with its £7million first prize, means that the next match at Medinah has also been put back – in this case to September 28-30.
Want to know what the weather was like there this weekend?
Gusts of 40mph with rain showers and temperatures struggling to reach double figures – and some frost at night. brrr.
The staging of the first Ryder Cup in Wales so late in the year on a course in the Usk Valley was always looking for trouble.
Former European captain Tony Jacklin said before it started: “I think it’s just crazy to jeopardise an event as popular as the Ryder Cup by pushing it back that far.
“I think it would have been the ideal year to change the format and play the match over four days.
“If they get perfect weather it is likely to be foggy in the morning, if they get rain delays they won’t finish.”
Fog thankfully has not added to the problems – although there is still Monday morning to be negotiated.
Bernard Gallacher, Jacklin’s successor as captain, said on the BBC Radio today: “Unfortunately we’re being put under pressure by the American tour who are finishing the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup is coming straight after it.
“They certainly value it (the Ryder Cup), but it’s actually run by the American PGA not the American tour.
“The American tour runs the Presidents Cup (held in alternate years). There is a feeling that Tim Finchem, who pulls all the strings over there, gives that precedence over the Ryder Cup in terms of proper dates.
“It’s not going to get better. In 2014 we’ll be playing in Scotland (no exact date has been announced yet), where it could be same type of weather and lack of daylight.
“There is a break in that FedEx Cup, there is a week and so I think we’ll have to try and ask Tim Finchem if we can play the Ryder Cup in that break.”
Those talks have already started, according to Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America.
“We have spoken to the PGA Tour as recently as this morning,” he commented on Friday following the first seven-hour rain delay.
“I spoke to Tim Finchem about a number of things, which include the schedule for Ryder Cup. We are earlier in 2012 when we play at Medinah (by only a few days).
“The 2012 season is the last season in the current television agreement for the PGA Tour and they have pledged to work with us on dates in their new television agreement that can give us the best week that all of the players would be available for Ryder Cup.
“And we know that is preferably earlier than it is this year when we are playing in October.”
George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, stated: “Ideally I think we have to have the best week when the players are available.
“Whereas it’s quite easy for us to move our weeks, this is difficult with the scheduling in the United States.
“It’s a constant discussion with the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and their schedules and where the players are.
“Everything is reviewed, all the time, and is negotiated.
“We all know the weather can change all the time. In fact, some Japanese visitors came to Muirfield for The Open (in July) once – they thought it was a great championship and why didn’t we play it in the summer.
“We do look at it. The last time we played at The Belfry (2002) the weather was perfect for all four days, hardly a cloud in the sky.
“We are becoming unlucky. We went to Spain (1997) and we were told it never rains in Spain in September. We lost the first morning.
“Golf tournaments have lost days of rain before. We play the Wales Open here and we have lost a day’s play as well, which is just unlucky.”
Golf returns to the Olympics in Brazil in August 2016 and the sport’s governing bodies have already said they will juggle their schedules to fit it in on the dates decided by the International Olympic Committee.
If only it was as simple when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
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