As the Ryder Cup inches closer, more pressure will be put on the Europeans to continue their streak and on the Americans to end their slump.
But Jack Nicklaus says who wins and who loses shouldn’t matter.
“To me, the competition is incidental,” Nicklaus said at the Creighton Farms Invitational on Thursday, according to USA Today. “Who wins bragging rights — and I know everyone wants to win — but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is the game of golf and people having good relations and goodwill.”
If there is anyone who can speak of past experiences to make this point, it’s Nicklaus. His 1969 Ryder Cup match versus Tony Jacklin is known as one of the greatest ever. Nicklaus conceded a short putt on the 18th green, halving the match and ending the competition in a tie.
“The Ryder Cup to me, we make a little bigger deal out of it than I think should be,” Nicklaus said. “I think it’s a goodwill event. It’s a great event to have bragging rights for Europe or bragging rights for America. It’s a great format. It’s a great competition. There’s a lot of nice things about it, but I wish we wouldn’t make such a war out of it.”
He also reiterated that it’s an exhibition.
“I enjoyed playing the Ryder Cup, but I couldn’t tell you who I played or who I lost to, what my record was or anything else, I have no clue,” he said. “I can tell you what it is in the Masters or the U.S. Open. That’s sort of the way I looked at it.”