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Volume 22 No. 11
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Closing Shot: Watch and learn

This year’s Ryder Cup provided some valuable lessons on how to build energy around an event. Now it’s up to the PGA of America to map out the concepts the organization wants to deploy when the event returns to the U.S. in 2020.
Tiger Woods looks on as Jon Rahm of Europe celebrates winning their match at the Ryder Cup.
Photo: Getty Images

We’ll get them next time. Literally.


A raucous crowd of roughly 50,000 per day watched the European team rout the U.S. in the Ryder Cup, held at the Le Golf National course near Paris.


For the top brass in attendance from the PGA of America, the event was an opportunity to observe and take notes. Now they can focus their sights squarely on 2020 when the Ryder Cup returns stateside to Whistling Straits golf course near Kohler, Wis.


The PGA of America contingent was led by Seth Waugh, the organization’s new CEO; Jeff Price, chief commercial officer; Kevin Ring, chief revenue officer; and Jason Mengel, Ryder Cup tournament director. The organization wasted no time in trying to cash in on the swell of fan interest from the Ryder Cup as it looks ahead to 2020.


The day after the U.S. team lost to Europe, the PGA of America put on sale to the general public the remaining hospitality packages for the 2020 Ryder Cup, which for the first time in 29 years will be held at a public course. The offerings range from 30-person suite packages near the first green, available for the first time at a Ryder Cup in the U.S., to chalets near the practice range. Tickets to the general public, though, are not yet available.


Whistling Straits is familiar territory to the PGA of America, with the course hosting the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015.


The familiarity will come in handy as the PGA of America creates a festive environment for fans, which organizers did so successfully at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club near Minneapolis. Expect red bunting to be draped around holes and high-energy first-hole seating at Whistling Straits that was a hallmark of the fan experience in 2016.


This year’s event in Paris drew notice for its massive, stadium-style grandstand seating that put some 7,000 cheering fans at the first tee to greet the golfers.


While it’s not known specifically what the setup will look like when the Ryder Cup returns to the U.S., look for the PGA of America to make the first tee experience unlike any other for fans at Whistling Straits.


See you in 2020.