The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

October 4, 2012

Get ready for Ryder Cup in 2016

If you’re a golf fan, you were glued to the TV Sunday, watching the final day of the Ryder Cup. You witnessed the agony of blown leads or the thrill of an amazing comeback, depending on your perspective.

In less than four years, you can get even closer to that raw emotion when the event comes to Hazeltine National Golf Club at Chaska.

But what will that event look like in 2016?

Will the Europeans extend their winning streak to three by then, or will the Americans break that run in two years at Scotland?

More interesting, what will the teams look like?

Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker both looked old and played that way, so to think they’ll still be on the team in 2016, or 2014, isn’t realistic. Zach Johnson? He’s the kind of competitor this team needs, but he’s 36, and because he doesn’t hit it long, he’ll have to stay sharp with the irons to be a factor in four years.

Phil Mickelson? He’ll certainly be a part of this team in two years, but at Hazeltine? He’ll be 46, and who knows how his arthritic condition will be affecting his game.

Tiger Woods, barring other off-course incidents, might have his next swing change perfected and should be a member of the 2016 team.

Young guns Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedecker, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, despite playing poorly in singles matches, will be major factors, while Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar provide the future of the American squad.

It will be interesting to see who the new guys will be. Hunter Mahan and Ricky Fowler nearly were named to this Ryder Cup team, and had they replaced Furyk and Stricker as captain’s picks, it probably would have made the difference in the outcome.

Ryan Moore elevated his status with a strong season and could be considered in two years, and Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus will be in the mix. Bill Haas was on the team in 2010.

Who might be the youngsters that we haven’t yet heard about? Gary Woodland, Ted Potter Jr., Bud Cauley, Harris English, John Peterson and Patrick Cantlay are some of the good young players already on tour. Jordan Speith and Beau Hossler are a couple of amateurs that could make things interesting in the next couple of years.

For the Europeans, Ian Poulter will still be the passionate leader of the team in four years, but Rory McIlroy will be the stud for many more Cups.

Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell are world-class players who will still be near the top of their games in four years, and Lee Westwood will probably be the “veteran” presence in four years..

Who knows the future of Peter Hanson or Francesco Molinari? Paul Lawrie is probably about done.

Watch out for Nicolas Colsaerts, the long hitter who performed very well as a Cup rookie.

The problem that Europe might have is will the next wave of young talent be good enough to replace any of these players, should their games suffer over the next four years?

The Ryder Cup is one of the great sporting events, and local fans will get an opportunity to attend in 2016, even if it’s tough to see how 40,000 patrons per day can follow just four matches per session on Friday and Saturday. Regardless, it seems like an event that rabid golf fans need to attend if given the chance.

Which you’ll have in September 2016.

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, e-mail at, check out his local sports blog at or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Courrier: There are no winners in MSU football saga Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance

    April 17, 2014

  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014

  • Courrier: No. 1 seed has brought no guarantees for MSU Since the Minnesota State men's basketball team started this nearly annual tradition of playing in the NCAA II tournament, the home team has almost been unbeatable in the regional. The Mavericks have played in nine of the last 10 national tournaments

    March 14, 2014

Free Press news updates
Seasonal Content
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later