Cup play needs a tie-breaker

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Can’t ask for much more than what the Solheim Cup has delivered these past three days. The quality of golf has been high, and the matches cannot get any closer, even midway through the Sunday singles. Great stuff.

There's one thing that drives me bonkers in these matches, though – and pick a cup, any cup (Ryder, Presidents or Solheim): Should today’s play result in a 14-all deadlock, why should the U.S. retain the cup? I mean, the U.S. won the cup two years ago with a vastly different team, in a different place, defeating a different band of European players.

The Presidents Cup had the right idea early on, coming up with a playoff to decide a winner each time around. This was going to be a great point of differentiation from its big brother Ryder Cup. In the 2003 matches in South Africa, watching Tiger Woods and Ernie Els going head-to-head with the Presidents Cup on the line as darkness set in at Fancourt was one of the most exciting scenes in golf I have witnessed in 20 years covering the game. High drama.

It was deemed, however, to be a tad TOO exciting, apparently, as PGA Tour officials later decided that was simply too much to place on the shoulders of two men. So can’t we come up with some system that uses three, or even five players to produce a winner?

For if Europe rallies for a 14-14 result today, the team should not leave empty-handed for its efforts. And the great fans who have packed Rich Harvest Farms for three days deserve as much, too. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.