It has been 23 years and 11 Ryder Cups since a European captain last captained a Ryder Cup on his own country’s soil and that was legendary Seve Ballesteros in 1997 at Valderrama on the Costa del Sol.
And since Europe came on board in 1979 as the rival to the USA, there have been only three other European captains to have had the honour of walking out on true ‘home’ ground as a captain.
Graeme McDowell, now that Adare Manor is to host the 100th anniversary 2027 Ryder Cup, in an IrishGolfer.ie exclusive interview indicated it would be a ‘wildest dream come true’ if he were to become the fifth and lead out the Europeans in seven years time at the Co. Limerick golfing gem.
McDowell will be 48 years of age by the time Ireland hosts the 46th staging of the Ryder Cup and just ripe age-wise for the captaincy.
Of course, ‘GMac’ can expect stiff competition for the European team leadership from the likes of Ian Poulter, who will be aged 51 along with Luke Donald (51) and Swede Henrik Stenson (51).
Lee Westwood is being earmarked for the 2023 Ryder Cup while the U.S. based pair of Donald and/or Poulter would seem to be ideal candidates for 2025 at Bethpage Park on Long Island, New York.
Also in the captaincy mix is Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose with each to be aged 47 in September, 2027.
However, imagine what a boost it would be for the now 100th anniversary celebration if an Ireland-born captain were to lead a European Team into competition on Irish soil.
“I will be 48 years old at the time of the 2027 Ryder Cup so potentially primed to be a European captain. To be a Ryder Cup captain in Ireland? Well, that’s a dream, an Irish players dream and that’s for sure,” said McDowell after posting a one-over par 73 for a three-under tally heading to the weekend rounds of the Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio.
“What J.P. (McManus) has done over there at Adare Manor and what he’s done for golf in Ireland and golf in Europe, it would be a huge honour for me to be his European Ryder Cup captain in 2027 at Adare Manor.
“Though there is a lot of water still to flow under the bridge between now and September 2027, one thing is certain, it’s going to be an exciting tournament.
“The Ryder Cup has been a huge part of my golfing career having played in four Ryder Cups, three of those on a winning side, so as I said it would be a wildest dream come true to captain the European Team at Adare Manor.”
McDowell revealed he has been speaking with rival 2021 USA captain, Steve Stricker on the decision mid-week to reschedule this year’s hosting of the event to September, 2021.
Once the COVID-19 lockdown of the PGA Tour was announced early March, McDowell was among the first to realise the knock-on effect of looking to host the Ryder Cup in September, and called for the event to be postponed as it now has been to 2021.
Though in speaking privately with Stricker, McDowell revealed a side to the postponement decision that had not before been raised.
“The decision to reschedule the Ryder Cup was the right call for everyone and I spoke to Captain Stricker the other day about the decision and in talking to him I got more of a captain’s view,” said McDowell.
“When you are a ‘home’ captain like Steve will be, you want the most competitive playing field you can get and that includes expecting the crowds to come out and support the event.
“Though he made a great point to me saying it’s also about the players, as well. Imagine a guy making one Ryder Cup team and one Ryder Cup only in his career and this year would have been the one he made.
“Of course, I would hope that would never happen now that it’s rescheduled and that the 24 guys from both teams who will each get to play multiple Ryder Cup’s but it would be certainly anticlimactic if this year was to be the only one he got to play, in a year a decision could have been made to go ahead with no fans.
“That’s why the decision to hold off for a year is the right call. The Ryder Cup as a tournament and as a brand has become one of the most iconic matches in world sport.
“It’s an event really about the passion and the intensity the crowds bring to the tournament, so while we are all disappointed it’s been put back a year it’s the right decision.
“With people around the world worried about surviving this pandemic we still face, we can now focus on looking forward to the Ryder Cup in 2021.”
McDowell’s second round was a mix of three birdies and four bogeys that left him trailing nine shots behind American sensation Collin Morikawa who posted a 66 to muscle his way to a four-shot clubhouse lead at 13-under par.
Shane Lowry dropped four late shots in his second round to return an even par 72 and remain at three-under par.
Full scoring HERE