The Ryder Cup was an unqualified success in Minnesota in 2016, blessed by perfect fall weather and spirited competition that drew huge galleries to Hazeltine National.
And that’s why Hazeltine will be the first U.S. venue to host the biennial event between the best American and European golfers two times. It was awarded the 2028 Ryder Cup on Monday by the PGA of America.
Hazeltine President Bob Fafinski called the event’s return a “testament” to the Minnesota golf community, fans who turned out 50,000 strong or more each day in 2016, corporate sponsors and both club member and nonmember volunteers.
“That’s the main reason it’s coming back,” Fafinski said. “We’re so excited here because it’s historic. It was an amazing event in 2016, and we’re looking forward to doing the same thing in 2028.”
Organizers made the announcement in a 29-second video released Monday that blended the Minnesota-heavy men’s 2018 Olympic curling champions with the gleaming gold trophy.
Hazeltine will officially welcome back the Ryder Cup, which was first played for a trophy presented by seed merchant Samuel Ryder in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts, at an April 10 news conference at the club.
Hazeltine proved to be a winning Ryder Cup venue because its sprawling Chaska grounds are spacious enough to hold the ever-growing corporate villages, television compound and operational infrastructure that took nearly four months to erect in 2016.
The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine had sensational weather on its three competition days, huge galleries and a U.S. victory after three consecutive losses dating to its last triumph in 2008.
It also proved very lucrative for the PGA of America, an organization of more than 28,000 teaching golf and club professionals that conducts PGA men’s, women’s and senior major championships as well as the Ryder Cup. It is not affiliated with the PGA Tour that holds a season of weekly events for the game’s greatest players.
Future Ryder Cups have been awarded to Paris this fall, Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2020, Rome in 2022, Bethpage State Park (Black course) on Long Island, N.Y., in 2024, and Olympic Golf Club in San Francisco in 2032. Sites for European sites in 2026 and 2030 haven’t been announced.
As the 2016 competition came to a close, Hazeltine National championship committee chair Jim Dauwalter said he expected the club would be considered for another Ryder Cup, even though no other American course had ever been chosen twice.
“You mean to tell me, as big and as successful as this was, we’ll never be considered again?” asked Dauwalter, a former Entegris CEO who caddied when he was 15 in the 1966 U.S. Women’s Open at Hazeltine and has been a member since 1988. “It may not be in our lifetimes, but there’s only a handful of courses in the world who can put on what we just put on.”
The Belfry in England has held the Ryder Cup four times but not since 2002. Other English venues such as Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham and St. Annes have held it twice.
At the 2016 Ryder Cup’s end, Hazeltine National officials cited the need for a breather — seven years at least — between major championships hosted because of the amount of manpower, volunteers and effort it takes to stage such big events.
The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be played at Hazeltine National, site of the 1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens, the 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships and the U.S. women’s and men’s senior opens as well.
The PGA of America’s decision last summer to move its PGA Championship from its traditional August date to May starting in 2019 lessens Hazeltine National’s chances to hold another PGA because spring course conditions for such a northern course aren’t as favorable as August.
The Ryder Cup is usually played in late September, leaving all summer to primp the course into shape. In 2016, club members played off mats to protect fairways starting in early August, and the course was closed to all play just after Labor Day.
Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this story.