Opportunity Missed in Promoting Solheim and Ryder Cup

The Solheim Cup – Preview Day Four

In this week’s edition of Cut Line, we celebrate the PGA Tour’s plan to return to Maui, U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis’ pulpit moment and Phil Mickelson’s honesty.

Made Cut

Return to Maui. Every week on Tour features a charitable component, but next year’s season opener in Maui will hit a little different.

The Tour announced plans to open the 2024 season at Kapalua just weeks after the island was devasted by wildfires. The Sentry is scheduled for Jan. 4-7 and there had been some concern that last month’s wildfires, which destroyed much of the historic town of Lahaina, would force the circuit to relocate.

“There is no other organization in sport which rallies around those in need like the PGA Tour. Given the overwhelming support for playing the tournament, the Tour and The Sentry are currently working on plans to further raise awareness and assist with fundraising and community service to Maui in a thoughtful and respectful manner,” chief competitions officer Tyler Dennis wrote in a memo to players.

Even as search and rescue efforts continue, the Tour’s decision to return to The Plantation Course is a clear sign the island will recover.

Sentry Tournament of Champions - Final Round

Sentry Tournament of Champions – Final Round

PGA Tour will begin ’24 in Maui, following wildfires

The PGA Tour will return to Kapalua on Maui to begin the 2024 season.

X (Tweet) of the Week: @PhilMickelson “Most of you will enjoy this football season with moderation while having lots of fun and entertainment. The fantasy leagues will provide banter amongst friends and money won or lost betting won’t affect you. I won’t be betting this year because I crossed the line of moderation and into addiction which isn’t any fun at all.”

The post goes on to explain Mickelson’s attempts to overcome his addictions with gambling and the appreciation he has for his family for helping him “through being your worst self.” There has not been a more polarizing figuring in golf the last two years and Mickelson has taken some odd victory laps along the way, but none of that has anything to do with empathy or compassion.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Cup half empty. Captains of cup teams normally avoid the kind of headlines that can be distracting to their team, but this week U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis made the most of the opportunity when she was asked about the lack of connection between this week’s matches and next week’s Ryder Cup.

“I thought this could have been marketed together as two weeks in Europe, two cups for play,” Lewis said. “I think it was a missed opportunity for the sport of golf. I wish that, you know, people could get the sponsorship things out of their head and let’s figure out how we can work together, because this may not ever happen again of the two cups being in the same year.”

The PGA of America responded to Lewis’ comments in a statement, “We are enthusiastic supporters of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team and are promoting the Solheim Cup in a number of ways,” including a U.S. Ryder Cup team video for the Solheim Cup squad along with editorial and social media content.

In this case it’s difficult to assign blame given the logistics and timing of the two matches but, as Lewis pointed out, it does feel like a missed opportunity.

The Solheim Cup - Preview Day Four

The Solheim Cup – Preview Day Four

PGA on Lewis’ criticism: We’re ‘enthusiastic supporters’

A day after U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis said the PGA of America missed an opportunity to better promote the event, the PGA has responded

A way back. As officials from the Tour, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour continue to sort through details of a potential “definitive” agreement, one of the central tenets of the framework deal that set the stage for negotiations is still very murky.

According to the framework agreement that was announced in June, the sides are working to “establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour following completion of the 2023 season” that are “consistent with each tour’s disciplinary policies.”

What exactly that path might look like is still a mystery, but one potential example is Andy Ogletree, who was suspended by the Tour following his participation in the first LIV Golf event last year and is on pace to earn a permanent spot on the breakaway circuit via the Asian Tour’s International Series.

“Thankfully the Asian Tour gave me somewhere to build my game and build a schedule and have events to get ready for. It gave me just a lift off my shoulders, so to speak of just having that pressure of not knowing where my next event is going to be kind of lifted off my shoulders,” Ogletree said at this week’s LIV event outside Chicago where he’s an alternate.

Ogletree has no status on either the Tour or Korn Ferry Tour and yet he’s currently suspended by the Tour, a ban that includes Q-School or any other path to the main circuit, and that suspension is expected to be extended one year from his last LIV event.

Bringing the players who joined LIV Golf back into the “ecosystem” is going to be messy and polarizing but if the Tour can’t do better with a player like Ogletree, a non-member who just wants to play golf, it’s difficult to be optimistic.

Missed Cut

Do better. This qualifies as shouting into the void and travel issues are not exclusively a golf problem, but Danielle Kang’s bout with lost golf clubs this week is the most recent example of how airlines must do better.

Kang arrived at this week’s Solheim Cup in Spain, but her clubs did not. She plays Titleist clubs but had a set built by Ping, who is on-site for the matches, for practice.

“Would love some help locating a set of golf clubs … kind of a big tournament going on this week!” Kang posted on social media.

Kang’s clubs finally arrived in Malaga, Spain, but it was an unnecessary distraction during one of the game’s most intense weeks. It’s also become the norm for players travelling to far-flung tournaments and a problem no one seems interested in fixing.

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