Senior Ryder Cup: The Time is Now

Top 12 players in the Official Senior World Golf Rankings

Oh, happy days.

The United States has recaptured the Ryder Cup. You may attribute the victory to America’s Ryder Cup Task Force, but the name sounds too self-important and militaristic to me.

Thus I credit the outcome to good old hardnosed golf. This impassioned display of USA shotmaking was a thing of wonder.

So what’s next?

Short of anointing Patrick Reed as Secretary of State, I’ll tell you what’s next: the Senior Ryder Cup. Call it whatever you like — there should be plenty of potential sponsors who want to hang their name on this event.

It’s high time for a senior golf showdown between the United States and Europe.

Whether we talk about the PGA Tour Champions, or just recreational golf among older amateurs, a strong and persuasive argument can be made that senior golf overall is about to be recognized as golf’s version of the 800-pound gorilla.

Golf is made for seniors. One prominent barometer: More than 115,000 of them live in central Florida at The Villages, a golf-crazy community with some three dozen executive courses and a dozen regulation courses.

The modern senior golf movement includes women as well as men, and the significance of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, a national championship to be played for the first time in 2018, should not be underestimated.

So we should welcome a senior rendition of the Ryder Cup. It fits the contemporary golf landscape.

Discussions, albeit at an informal stage, have been held. Officials of the European Senior Tour, PGA of America and PGA Tour Champions have explored the concept.

Please don’t tell me the United States is afraid of Europe in senior play.

Okay, I get it: The three best senior golfers in the world all reside in Europe. That would be Bernhard Langer of Germany, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland.

Joe Durant of the United States is listed third in the Official Senior World Golf Ranking, ahead of Montgomerie, although Monty can be brilliant in match play. His Ryder Cup record: 6-0-2 in singles, 8-3-3 in foursomes, 6-6-2 in fourballs.

And then there is Englishman Paul Broadhurst, winner of the Senior Open Championship and the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in 2016. Broadhurst has singlehandedly raised the profile of European seniors.

The Senior Ryder Cup would be a fun event. Make it four days rather than three, utilize all team members in every round of competition (no bench sitters), allow each captain to pick one player at a time as the pairings are determined.

How about the crafty Jimenez against fighting-mad Woody Austin, or Langer against Fred Couples in a rematch of the 2010 U.S. Senior Open?

It would be an appealing format. Let’s do it.

—James Achenbach, Senior Golf Insider