European Tour opens 2022 Ryder Cup site bidding

Monday, June 23, 2014

It’s checkbook time again. The bidding process for the 2022 Ryder Cup is now open.

The European Tour is inviting countries to bid for the match to be held eight years from now. Any country or person with large wads of cash needs to submit a formal bid by the 31st of August.

The venue and country will be named in fall 2015. Odds are the country or person who contributes the most money to the European Tour will win.

Don’t be surprised if it isn’t even a European country.

Money matters when the European Tour stages the Ryder Cup. The match is the Tour’s bread and butter, the one tournament that contributes most to the bottom line.

The Tour made a slight loss last year. No worries. This year’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles will more than make up for it.

The Tour makes money in Ryder Cup years and loses money in non-Ryder Cup years. The biggest profit comes when it’s the Tour’s turn to stage the contest.

When the 2010 match was held in Wales, the Tour produced a pre-tax profit of £14,033,664. In 2011, a non-Ryder Cup year, the Tour suffered a pre-tax loss of £2,248,419. Profit was back up again in 2012 when the Ryder went to Medinah, with a pre-tax gain of £3,297,521.

That’s why the Tour operates on a four-year financial cycle. It can afford to lose money in non-Ryder Cup years because the money flows in Ryder Cup ones.

In a statement, the Tour opened the bidding process by stressing five key criteria:

  • Governmental support;
  • A world-class golf facility;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Commercial opportunities;
  • A commitment to develop the game.

The fourth factor is most crucial.

Valderrama is a good course, but owner Jaime Ortiz Patino secured the 1997 contest because he invested millions in the Tour by staging tournaments over his South of Spain layout.

Ditto for Dr. Michael Smurfit and Sir Terry Matthews. Smurfit made a huge financial commitment to the Tour to stage 13 straight European Opens at his K Club venue in Ireland to help acquire the 2004 match. Matthews has staged the Wales Open over his Celtic Manor course since 2000. He also practically wrote the Tour a blank check to do whatever was required to get the 2010 match.

Anyone who reads the bidding statement won’t be surprised to find no mention of the match having to be played in Europe. Some sentimentalists think longtime European Tour staging posts such as Germany, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, The Netherlands and other countries should get the match. They might be disappointed to find it goes to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar or Turkey (albeit part of Turkey is in Europe).

There was a time when that might have sounded far-fetched, but that was before the Arab sheiks began throwing money at the European Tour. The Desert Swing is now a huge part of the Tour’s season, and the sheiks have the sort of cash needed to satisfy the tour’s desire for “commercial opportunities.”

Besides, who would’ve thought the football World Cup would end up in Qatar in 2022? If the mega-rich country can lure the game’s best footballers to Qatar in 50-degree-Celsius heat, then getting the Ryder Cup should be an easy task.

Don’t be surprised at where the match ends up eight years from now. Money talks when it comes to the Ryder Cup.