Technique, precision, passion: The Ryder Cup is not only one of the world’s biggest sporting fixtures – the golf tournament also unites tradition with emotion and prestige. After all, only the best of the best can qualify for the US and European teams.
The decision as to who would make the final three qualifying places for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup was eagerly awaited by the golf fans at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, London, and remained completely open until far into the final round. At the third Rolex Series event of the year and his second major BMW title following the BMW Championship in Denver (USA), victory went to Billy Horschel with his exceptional 65 in the final round (7 under par) and a birdie at the 18th hole. The 34-year-old is only the second American after Arnold Palmer (1975) to win the flagship event of the European Tour. In an enthralling final round, Horschel showed his nerve against the other 15 players who hoped for victory. Only on the final fairway was he able to outstrip the field with a brilliant approach shot and a tap-in for the birdie.
The BMW PGA Championship was the last tournament where the Europeans were still able to collect points for the Ryder Cup. Four of the nine qualifying places were technically still up for grabs. It was only really a theoretical possibility that Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton would miss out on qualifying, resulting in an exciting showdown for the remaining three places between Bernd Wiesberger, Lee Westwood, and Shane Lowry. Wiesberger played the best over four rounds and qualified for the Ryder Cup as the first Austrian in history to do so. The decision between Westwood and Lowry, however, flipped and flopped, ending with a heart-stopping final on Sunday that eventually decided in favor of Westwood. Lowry’s dream of participating in the Ryder Cup for the first time still came to fruition, however, because captain Padraig Harrington nominated the Irishman as the Captain’s Pick on Sunday at the Wentworth Club, along with Ryder Cup legends Sergio García and Ian Poulter. Jon Rahm (ESP), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Viktor Hovland (NOR), and Paul Casey (ENG) had already qualified for the defending champions prior to the BMW PGA Championship.
The Americans will be entering the legendary and intense team competition from September 24 to 26 with Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Daniel Berger, and Scottie Scheffler.
The presentation of the trophies will be the high point of this year’s Ryder Cup in the truest sense of the word. Austrian Peter Salzmann entered uncharted territory for the “The Electrified Wingsuit” project (➜ Read more: Electrified Wingsuit Flight: The Making-Of) last year in partnership with BMW i and Designworks, the BMW Group’s in-house agency for the mobile concepts of the future – and got everyone looking skyward in excitement with an ascent in an electric-powered wingsuit. BMW Group Designworks have now designed a tailored casing for the Ryder Cup in which Salzmann was able to affix the traditional trophy to his chest during the wingsuit jump in order to transport it to the location of the award ceremony – in a suit also tailored to reflect the tournament’s style. After the landing, he accompanied the cup in the BMW iX to the clubhouse in order to hand it over for the official opening ceremony.
The success story of BMW and the Ryder Cup started back in 2006 when BMW sponsored the legendary duel between the USA and Europe for the first time at the Irish K-Club as the “Official Car Partner”. Since then, BMW has been represented at every tournament and played a key role as an Official Partner at the Ryder Cup Events in Celtic Manor (Wales, 2010), Gleneagles (Scotland, 2014) and Paris (France, 2018), a partnership which was expanded on both sides of the Atlantic in November 2018: BMW will be the “Worldwide Partner” at the Ryder Cup 2021 in Whistling Straits, as well as at the 2023 event in Rome.
The team competition that takes place every two years is an electrifying event that cannot be compared with any other golf tournament. Creating such an unforgettable experience is also the aim of the partnership, whether it’s acting as a partner to the European team in the USA or as part of event experiences. As such, the BMW Shuttle Service ensures that players, organizers and VIPs get where they need to go on time and arrive feeling relaxed. Guests can experience the joy of driving and the unique atmosphere at the venue with the BMW Experience. At the last Ryder Cup in 2018 at “Le Golf National” in Paris, 500 guests were able to enjoy an exclusive program with VIP hospitality tickets, overnight stays in the Hilton Paris Opera, and the BMW Gala Night. José Maria Olazábal, the captain of the legendary comeback victory made by the European Champions at the Ryder Cup in 2012, gave guests a fascinating look behind the scenes and into the mind of a Ryder Cup captain. The BMW X2, BMW X4, BMW i8 Roadster, BMW 7 Series and BMW 8 Series were all on show at the tournament venue.
Author: Markus Löblein; Photos: BMW; Video: BMW