The Ryder Cup Spectator Guide

The historic tournament, held this year at Hazeltine Golf Club in Chaska, will attract visitors from around the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Ryder Cub

Photo by Kyle Harada/Fotolia

The Ryder Cup, a biennial Europe versus United States golf tournament, is taking place at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska from Sept. 27–Oct. 2. Whether you’re a golf fanatic or a casual putter, here’s what to expect during the six-day event.

1. Ryder Cup Basics

The Ryder Cup takes place over six days, with three days of tournament play. Europe and the United States will each have a 12-person team headed by captains that will not play in the tournament. The tournament officially started in 1927, but World War II put the competition on hold for a few years. Teams are determined by a point system and captains’ picks. It alternates between United States and European soil, last taking place in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2014. Europe is the defending champion.

2. Hazeltine Basics

Hazeltine National Golf Club is no stranger to high-profile golf tournaments. It opened in 1962, and first hosted the 1966 U.S. Women’s Open. Other championships at Hazeltine include the 1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens and the 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships. The course will change for the Ryder Cup, swapping out brown bunker sand for white, and flipping the order of some holes so more spectators can gather on the outer areas of the course.

3. By The Numbers

About 250,000 spectators from all over the world—more than half from outside of Minnesota—will visit Hazeltine during the Ryder Cup. The tournament’s 4,000 volunteers are traveling from more than 40 states and 17 countries. Single-day tickets for tournament days cost about $250, while weeklong passes are at least $800.

4. The Schedule

Tuesday, Sept. 27: Both teams will begin a public practice at 8 a.m. A nine-hole match featuring celebrities from the United States and Europe will take place from 2–5:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Public practice rounds will resume at 8 a.m. and a friendship match between the U.S. and Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup teams will begin at 2 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 29: Teams will begin a public practice at 8 a.m., and at noon, former U.S. and European Ryder Cup captains will play a nine-hole scramble. The opening ceremony begins at 4 p.m., featuring live music, final team introductions, and captains’ speeches.

Friday, Sept. 30 & Saturday, Oct. 1: Competition matches begin at 7:35 a.m. and conclude around 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 2: Singles matches will take place at about 11 a.m. and the trophy will be presented to the winning team at the conclusion of play, around 5:15 p.m.

5. The Captains

United States: Davis Love III
North Carolina native Davis Love III is one of the only players in history that is the son of a PGA Pro and winner of the PGA championship. Love went professional and joined the PGA Tour in 1985. He has 31 worldwide victories, is a six-time Ryder Cup team member, and was the 2012 Ryder cup captain and 2010 vice captain. He currently lives in Sea Island, Georgia, and is married with two children.

Europe: Darren Clarke, OBE
Clarke is one of the world’s most well known golfers. He went professional in 1990 and joined the European Tour in 1991. He has 19 worldwide victories and has participated in seven Ryder Cups, one as vice captain. Clarke was awarded OBE from the Queen in 2012 after his Open Championship win the previous year. He currently lives in Portrush, Northern Ireland, and is married with two children.

6. The First Hole

Don’t expect polite golf claps—it’s going to be “one of the most exciting holes in golf,” informs Kevin Smith, Ryder Cup’s manager of marketing and promotions. Spectators should flock to the loud and boisterous hole and participate in the songs and chants for the full Ryder Cup experience. The hole itself is par 4, downhill, and dogleg left. “It’s one of the most nerve-wracking holes for any professional,” says Smith.

7. The Last Hole

The tournament may not make it to Hazeltine’s 18th hole, but it will be a toe-to-toe challenge for players if it does. The par 4, uphill, dogleg left hole is right next to the clubhouse, so the grandstand will be packed. “It’s a great finishing hole…it will be crazy if they get that far,” says Smith.

8. Spectator Village

The 47,000-square-foot merchandise tent will sell Ryder Cup gear from Nike, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Adidas, and more. Food options include everything from traditional burgers and fries, to shrimp tacos, stir-fry, and banh mi sandwiches. As far as drinks go, you’ll have plenty of cocktails, local craft beers, and wine to choose from.

9. Where to Watch

Hazeltine has set up several grandstands around the course to give spectators the best possible views of each hole. Ten video boards positioned around the course allow spectators to watch from different views, and fans who don’t want to miss a minute of action can buy radios on-site for $15 to listen to the event’s broadcast. Can’t be there in person? Watch on NBC, the Golf Channel, the Ryder Cup’s website, or Watch ESPN, or listen via Sirius XM or BBC Radio.

10. While You’re There…

The southwest suburbs offer more than a premier golf course. Head to Chaska’s Crooked Pint Ale House, which offers 32 tap beers and an extensive food menu, or visit Tommy’s Malt Shop for an old-fashioned malt or deep-fried brownie sundae. If you want a break from golf, Valleyfair, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and Paisley Park are all within a ten-mile drive from Hazeltine.

The Ryder Cup
Sept. 27–Oct. 2
Hazeltine National Golf Club
1900 Hazeltine Blvd., Chaska, MN

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