The PGA and America’s Ryder Cup Squad Could End Dallas’ Sports Championship Drought

Turns out beggars can be choosers.

Our professional sports teams haven’t won a championship in a dirty dozen years, since the Dallas Mavericks won their only NBA title in the summer of 2011. It’s closing in on 4,500 sleeps since we awakened to a trophy.

The Mavs haven’t been close since Dirk Nowitzki was in his prime. The Dallas Stars faded late last season. Same for the Texas Rangers this year, probably. And the Dallas Cowboys are about to kick off another season somehow brimming with Super Bowl optimism despite their having not won one in more than a quarter-century.

Why don’t we hitch our hopes to a different sport, a sport that prizes the individual, but from time to time rejoices in the team spirit we admire from our clubs in the four main sports.

That’s right. Forget our once-great America’s Team. We’re gearing up to co-opt a better, more authentic America’s Team, the golf squad that will represent the United States in the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Golf? Might as well, seeing that, in case you haven’t noticed, Dallas-Fort Worth is suddenly the global epicenter of the sport. More than we picked golf, golf picked us.

“Everything of golf and for golf is going to be here,” PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh says of the Dallas area. “We talk about it as being the Silicon Valley of golf.”

The sport may have been born around fabled St. Andrew’s in 15th-century Scotland, but it’s reaching puberty right here in our backyard. Frisco, to be exact.

DFW has an unprecedented, almost 100-year legacy of elite professional golfers, beginning with Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Woodrow Wilson High School’s Ralph Guldahl in the 1930s, up to the current world No. 1-ranked player, Highland Park High School grad Scottie Sheffler. The Byron Nelson (now in McKinney) and Colonial (forever in Fort Worth) tournaments have long been regular spring stops on the PGA Tour. Now there’s an LPGA tournament and even a Champions Tour event in our neck of the woods.

And, oh yeah, a sparkling new 600-acre, $550 million development just sorta popped up in far north Frisco … home headquarters of the PGA of America. (Some of us Dallasites are old enough to remember when our “north” ended at LBJ Freeway, which might as well have been the Red River. These days the golf world has planted its flag just a smidge south of Highway 380, formerly known as Canada.) On Aug. 29 the golf world was fixated on the Omni PGA Frisco Resort as U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson sat in a pristine conference room and revealed his six at-large picks to complete the 12-man team that will compete against Team Europe.

Topping the American roster are two local studs, Sheffler and Jesuit High School alum Jordan Spieth.

“There’s nothing like playing for your country,” Spieth said. “I’m just honored to be a part of one of the most exciting sporting events in the whole world.”

The thing about the Ryder Cup (named after Samuel Ryder, an English businessman who donated the trophy for the quaint little gathering in 1927) is that it’s played not for pennies, but only for pride. That’s saying something in today’s professional sports world, especially on a PGA Tour where Sheffler this year earned $21 million and year-end tournament champ Viktor Hovland pocketed — for four days of work, mind you — a cool $18 million.

This year’s episode of the biennial Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. The Americans boast eight of the top 14 players in the world golf rankings, and they are the defending champions thanks to their convincing victory in 2021 in Wisconsin. Yet, the U.S. will be underdogs in Italy. Why?

Because Team Europe will be led by the likes of Rory McIlroy (ranked No. 2), Jon Rahm (No. 3) and Hovland (No. 4), but more so because the competition will be played on European soil, where the U.S. has lost six consecutive times: in Spain, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France.

The U.S. hasn’t won a Ryder Cup “road game” since 1993. Ring a bell, Cowboys fans?

Said Johnson, “I think my team is built for competing over there. I very much feel like I’m built that way, too.”

One day the Ryder Cup will come to Frisco’s Fields Ranch East Course. Alas, it will be much later rather than sooner.

A year ago the PGA moved its home from Palm Beach, Florida, to northern Collin County with a purpose and a plan. The new facility, which hosted the Senior PGA last May as its first official big event, will be home to 26 championships over the next 12 years including the PGA (one of golf’s four “majors”) in 2027 and 2034. It’s a sprawling “city,” complete with a logo featuring a Texas flag leaning on a hay bale, a “PGA Parkway” exit off the North Dallas Tollway and amenities highlighted by a 100,000-square-foot main building, 500-room hotel, 13 restaurants and a 2-acre putting green open to the public.

It’s the first international sports organization headquartered in Texas, and it’s custom-built for the game’s grandest stage. But … the Ryder Cup is so desirable that its American dates are booked through 2037, meaning the first possible event in Frisco would be 2041.

By then, who knows? Will Frisco be gobbled up by North Dallas? Will golf be devoured by Top Golf, much like Pickleball is nibbling at the heels of tennis? Will one of our own mainstream sports teams have finally won another championship? And will the PGA even still be a thing or merely just a distant appetizer for the sport’s imminent governing monster: Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf?

“The Ryder Cup is absolutely a possibility,” Waugh says. “We’d love to do it here at our home. We’ve got time to test it first.”

For now, let’s be content with our area’s proud lineage. One that boasts a record 15 Texans in the Golf World Hall of Fame (Scotland has only 13). One that remembers Charlie Sifford, who was recently honored with a statue at Dallas’ Cedar Crest Golf Club for being the first Black person to play on the PGA Tour (and was so influential that Tiger Woods named his first son after him). One that provided us with legendary local golfers such as Garland’s Lee Trevino and Royal Oaks Country Club member Justin Leonard, whose 45-foot putt on the 17th hole in 1999 remains one of the most iconic shots in Ryder Cup history.

For now, let’s just borrow a winning America’s Team. And if the U.S. loses in Italy …

Hey, soccer’s World Cup comes to Arlington’s AT&T Stadium in 2026.

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