Recently, the PGA of America, co-organisers of the Ryder Cup bowed to the pressure of the players and decided to pay them for appearing in the most prestigious trophy in golf. Albeit donating money to a charity.
To add more fuel to the fire, they will now allow players not born in America to become eligible to play. It does not mean that Els, Singh, Elkington and Norman et al may be teeing it up at The Belfry, but in years to come, some of the younger stars of today may apply for American citizenship so that they can play in the biennial event.
Are the PGA of America desperate to keep the golden cup forever?
In a new ruling passed by the board of directors, the Ryder Cup selection Committee will have more players to choose from in the coming years by recinding the native-born ruling that states players not born in the USA are ineligible to compete in the Ryder Cup.
PGA Tour professionals who became U.S. citizens prior to their 18th birthday will now be eligible to play for the United States Ryder Cup team, the PGA of America announced last Thursday.
PGA of America officials broadened Ryder Cup eligibility rules that formerly restricted the U.S. team only to American-born players.
"As part of a continuing review of programs, our Board of Directors modified the native-born rule to avoid unfairly penalising American citizens who otherwise would be eligible for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team," said Will Mann, PGA of America president.
The eligibility modification is the first change regarding citizenship for a U.S. Ryder Cup Team since the biennial event's origin in 1927.
The 34th Ryder Cup, where the USA will defend against Europe's best golfers, will be contested in September of 2001 at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.