What was missing from the Ryder Cup on Sunday? Leaderboards on the course
PARIS — The Americans needed to overcome a four-point deficit on the final day of the Ryder Cup and got off to a reasonable start, enough that U.S. captain Jim Furyk had a flicker of hope.
Justin Thomas won on the 18th hole. Brooks Koepka halved his match. They were ahead comfortably in two matches, and two others were tight — Dustin Johnson was 1 up through 11 holes, and Tiger Woods was all square in his match through 12 holes.
The idea was to fill the leaderboard with American red to create momentum for one side, perhaps a little panic in the other.
Except there were no leaderboards at Le Golf National.
So even if the Americans had taken leads in earlier matches, there was no way of seeing the status of the other matches unless the video boards happened to show the leaderboard on the screen.
It was an unusual sight across a magnificent stage for the Ryder Cup — video of matches, but no sense of how the matches were going.
That wasn't the case at Hazeltine in 2016, and it won't be the case at Whistling Straits in 2020.
"We've always had leaderboards. We think it's an integral part of the Ryder Cup," said Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer for the PGA of America. "We have a lot of spectators, players and people watching who want to know the status of players throughout the day for each session. All Ryder Cups I've been involved in have had video boards and leaderboards, and I would anticipate something similar."
On the first day, a leaderboard ran down the side of the broadcast on the video board. But that shrunk the size of the board, and fans across the course were watching from far away. By the weekend, that was gone.
The video boards provided one other oddity of these matches.
While they provided a great service to the fans by showing moments from other matches, the broadcast never ended. It was not unusual to hear a burst of cheering from what was shown on the video board as players on both teams were getting ready to hit.
Players often will look over at the next green before hitting their shot to make sure another shot isn't being played, which could lead to cheering. In this case, players on occasion were having to look at video boards to see what was going on, or what was about to happen.
"We've been very conscious of that," Haigh said. "Our policy has been to switch off a board, wherever that board may be and show a leaderboard or a logo, but something that isn't changing. This time, for the first time, they kept the board going no matter who was on the green. It was interesting."
Cheers could have come from anywhere around Le Golf National even without the video boards because of the nature of the layout, particularly the 15th, 16th and 18th greens being so close to one another.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Pressand was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.