PGA director Seth Waugh says the world needs the Ryder Cup

Seth Waugh, the managing director of the PGA of America since 2018, is ready to host the biennial Ryder cup , one year after its postpon...

Seth Waugh, the managing director of the PGA of America since 2018, is ready to host the biennial Ryder cup, one year after its postponement due to the pandemic.

The Ryder cup, with 12 golfers from the United States versus 12 from Europe over three days starting Friday at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, has become more than a golf tournament; it became a boisterous event that Waugh described as a combination of the Super Bowl and a Rolling Stones concert. No other golf tournament has regular players and fans who taunt each other.

This year, after Covid-19 appeared to ebb in the spring, the Delta variant has taken a leap forward, presenting a challenge for an event that typically hosts around 40,000 more, all following just a few players.

Add to that the tension over the critical comments made between two of the USA’s best players – Bryson De Chambeau and Brooks Koepka – which led fans to taunt DeChambeau. Waugh said he, like PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, would not tolerate bullying. “We’ll be vigilant to make sure he doesn’t cross the line,” Waugh said. “We will apply it if it does.”

This year, the PGA of America created an award to recognize sportsmanship in the competition. The Nicklaus-Jacklin Prize commemorates Jack Nicklaus’ putt to Tony Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup. As a result, the match ended in a tie.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.

How will the Ryder Cup be different this year?

There will be different protocols, with masks inside and masks in some of the more crowded seating areas. Players are likely to be in a bubble. We can’t make sure everyone is vaccinated, but to make sure we can have a last putt on Sunday we’re going to put them in a bubble. We considered checking fans’ vaccinations, but we couldn’t guarantee that all players were going to be vaccinated, so how could we check all fans?

Will European fans be able to come?

We said we would offer refunds to people who couldn’t or didn’t want to come now. It was only a small number of Europeans who requested reimbursements. We hope there will be good participation from both sides.

How has the schedule changed with the Covid?

Part of that is because we’ve learned more about the virus. There was not so much knowledge last year. We had no idea how difficult it was to catch him outside. We believe there are natural benefits to being outdoors that keep people there safely. Inside we will have masks. People live better with this thing. It’s very different from a year ago. We came to the conclusion that the number of fans doesn’t make a difference. It’s the protocols.

How do you preserve the spirit of the event?

The first Ryder Cup I went to was at the Belfry in 1993. It was the year Davis Love III putt to win. I can tell you that I was on the 18th green when he put the putt, but I didn’t see him. I just saw him lift his putter. Experience is excitement. It’s to be there, it’s the fans. If you’re at a Stones concert and you’re not in the front row, you don’t see Mick Jagger, but you’re still there hearing “Jumping Jack Flash”.

What do you hope this year’s competition will bring?

The Ryder Cup aims to foster relationships between each team. We’re trying to recapture some of that purity with the Nicklaus-Jacklin Prize. We want to make the stress and tension of the Ryder Cup the best part of a player’s life. I hope he gets his mind back to what these things should be.

Everyone is just tired and exhausted from this pandemic. Normally you come back from the summer and you are good to go. But we are injured animals. People haven’t been together for a long time. The schools were not the schools, the work was not the work, the games were not the games. The world needs a Ryder Cup to remind us of the good of the world.

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Newsrust - US Top News: PGA director Seth Waugh says the world needs the Ryder Cup
PGA director Seth Waugh says the world needs the Ryder Cup
Newsrust - US Top News
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