HAVEN, Wis. (WBAY)- It's quiet and serene at Whistling Straits now. But in two years, that will definitely not be the case. The 2020 Ryder Cup matches are coming. They are rowdy, they are unique, and they are large; much larger than any of the three PGA Championships Straits has hosted in the past.
“The build out on the golf course is substantially larger, and that is in our plans,” said Dirk Willis, GM and Group Director of Golf for Kohler Company, which owns Whistling Straits. “You will see some larger structures than you would normally see for a PGA Championship; you will see some larger bleachers, and you'll see some more creative ways of getting those people through the golf course.”
And those people need to move through the golf course to follow the action in a match play event, which creates the most unique competition in golf. “When I think about the experience of a Ryder Cup, the players and the spectators have such a vested interest in the team, and the country that they are representing,” said Willis. “It's kind of akin to World Cup soccer and a college football atmosphere.”
And according to Lauren Ries, 2020 Ryder Cup Championship Marketing Manager, fans in the state are going to embrace the atmosphere. “Wisconsin fans are going to love the Ryder Cup. I think they are really going to embrace the excitement and the energy, and I hope that really translates into some fun, Wisconsin-esque type cheers.”
Team USA has yet to officially announce its' captain for 2020, but most everyone expects it will be Wisconsin native Steve Stricker, who will bring not just a homestate advantage to this event, but as team captain he will be able to set up Whistling Straits - a course he is very familiar with- to his team's advantage.
According to Willis, “Steve has been here many times, and he is good friends with Mr. Kohler. I know he loves the golf course, and I know that he would love to be able to tweak it just to fit what he needs.”
Stricker certainly has the resume to be captain. He was a vice-captain for the US Team at the Ryder Cup in France last weekend, and served in the same role for the 2014 matches. He also won the President’s Cup in 2017 as team captain, when the US Team beat the International Team in that match play competition. Having Stricker as captain in 2020 would be the icing on the cake for Whistling Straits. “We've done the lobbying we can. Realistically, that is a decision for the Ryder Cup Committee and the PGA of America. But certainly, we would be very happy to have Steve Stricker be our captain,” said Willis. Added Ries, “certainly, if he was the captain, it would be really, really exciting for the state of Wisconsin. And really king of help make this Wisconsin's Ryder Cup.”
An announcement on the team captain is expected late this year or early next year, with the matches set for fall of 2020. For ticket or volunteer information, visit RyderCup.com.