AmericaAt the 2021 Ryder Cup, the captains of the US and Europe, in addition to submitting the document to seal the personnel incident room according to the practice of more than 40 years, must also add a Covid envelope.

The first envelope contains the name of a player who must retire if someone on your team retires due to injury. The other bag lists three people in order of priority to leave if the other party has the corresponding number of members infected with Covid-19.

In case the number of infections exceeds the estimate, the final decision belongs to the Organizing Committee – Professional Golf Association of America (PGAA) and Ryder Cup Europe. The owner of the European team, including the European Tour, holds 60% of the shares, the British and Irish PGAs contribute 20%, the rest from professional golf associations in the region.

Both envelopes are confidential, only the captain knows the contents. If it must be opened, the match in which the player in question is expected to be in trouble shall be settled.

The context of the pandemic caused captains Padraig Harrington (left) and Steve Stricker (right) to make two backup lists in case European or American players had to leave the game because of Covid-19. Photo: Reuters

From 1979 – the 23rd match, the Ryder Cup program consisted of 16 doubles matches divided equally between foursome and fourball formats in the first two days and 12 singles matches on the last day. In the same year, the Organizing Committee applied a sealed envelope to ensure fair competition, if Europe or the US lacked people due to physical problems.

This problem was easy to solve in the first two days because each team had four substitutes left after sending eight representatives to the foursome and fourball matches. And so, the ability to open the envelope was only on the last day, when both sides mobilized their entire armies for 12 duels.

In the past 41 years, the Ryder Cup captain has opened his “health envelope” on three occasions, most recently in 1993, when US international Lanny Wadkins volunteered to enter the envelope before closing because opponent Sam Torrance suffered a foot injury. In the end, the European host lost 13-15.

But its use was controversial one time ago, in 1991. This year, Steve Pate had an accident before the tournament. Pate struggled to fight, lost on the penultimate day and asked to quit the last match due to the injury. According to the regulations, the US team still got 0.5 points even though Pate gave up. It was this effortless draw that helped them reach 14.5 points of victory.

At the 2021 Ryder Cup, the US host led Europe 6-2 after the first eight matches on September 24, including four foursomes, the remaining fourball. The two sides continue to compete under this program from 7:00 pm on September 25 (Hanoi time) at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Quoc Huy

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