Commitment given on FedEx finish to avoid repeat of Cup chaos
Published 04/10/2010 | 05:00
Ryder Cup organisers believe they have a "firm commitment" from the US PGA Tour that future matches will be staged no later than the last week of September in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the chaos wrought by the weather in Wales.
Torrential rain has forced the match into its first Monday finish today, and appears to have hardened the resolve of Ryder Cup organisers to secure an earlier slot.
The PGA Tour's $40m FedEx Cup series, which was won by Jim Furyk last weekend, is the primary reason the match has been pushed back but Joe Steranka, chief executive of the PGA of America, said he had got a commitment from PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem that the FedEx will be moved forward to accommodate an earlier Ryder Cup.
Crucially, the schedule change should ensure that the 2014 match at Gleneagles, pencilled in for the second week of October, is brought forward.
"We have started talking to the PGA Tour and Tim Finchem has given us a commitment that the Ryder Cup will not be played later than the last week of September," Steranka said.
The changes will come too late to appease the 45,000 spectators who flocked to Newport yesterday to watch the world's best golfers but found themselves locked out until 11.0 while Celtic Manor dried out.
As they killed time in the flooded car parks on Newport's vast steelworks site there was only one American name on their lips, and it wasn't Tiger Woods'.
Finchem is not the first sports administrator to earn the ire of supporters, but few have shot from anonymity to infamy as rapidly.
In the 72 hours since the rain started falling on this Welsh parade, he has become the lightning rod for the frustration, anger and disappointment felt by those behind the event. From the moment the dates for this match were confirmed, there have been warnings that a Welsh river valley in the first week of October was a high-risk venue. As a local taxi driver put it, arriving at the park-and-ride yesterday morning: "My dog could have told them that it was going to rain at this time of year."
Nobody is blaming the Welsh, but all are asking how the obvious risks came to be ignored. The answer it seems is that no one within the European Tour or the PGA of America, the two organisations that own the Ryder Cup, had the clout to resist Finchem's drive to confect a climax to the PGA Tour season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)