by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor
“This is a cluster,” said Scott Ranke, who lives in Illinois. “If you don’t have them out a couple of weeks before a tournament, then you suck it up and pay $20 or $30 a piece and FedEx them to everybody. You put out word that you need 100 volunteers in the area, and they will show up within hours. Every one of them there is willing to help the PGA of America, help the Ryder Cup.
“So I don’t understand putting something in an envelope, putting a stamp on it, putting it in the mail, how that’s a problem. It’s very, very odd. I mean, this is the Super Bowl of golf. I don’t know what their problem is. I’m shocked.”
The Beacon contacted the public relations department of the Ryder Cup Thursday to ask why, and later was sent the following statement from the PGA of America:
“While it was anticipated that tickets would be delivered four to five weeks in advance of Ryder Cup week, we have experienced unexpected delays and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.
“Despite the delay, we can reassure all ticket purchasers that the delivery process is well underway and that tickets will be arriving soon. Once an order has shipped, the ticket purchaser will receive a notice at the email address we have on file from firstname.lastname@example.org containing tracking information.
“While a majority of tickets have been sent, some tickets are still being processed, primarily caused by production delays and staffing shortages. The ticket fulfillment team is working around the clock to get all orders completed by Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.”
Perhaps things will improve next week, but until then, here is a look at how several people have been affected.
He actually bought tickets from his hospital bed just hours after an emergency appendectomy and well before COVID-19 wiped out the event last summer.
Long spent “several thousands” on airfare, tickets and a rental car for what he called a “guys trip,” and is meeting friends from California, Texas and Georgia.
“It’s pretty frustrating to me and the other members in my group,” Long said. “This is my first time going. I try to go to a PGA event every year, at least. And I’ve been to the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, The Masters; I’m a huge golf fan. The three guys I’m going with this year, we’ve been planning this event for over two years now.
“It’s something we’ve been really looking forward to. And to have the Ryder Cup say that they’re going to send these tickets and then not do that, and there’s been no tangible response from them. I’ve emailed them and received a canned response from the ticket company just saying ‘we’re in the process of sending them.’ I’ve tried to call; the number is disconnected. It’s very frustrating.”
South Heart, N.D.
He’ll be staying with his cousin in Sheboygan and spent $2,000 for weeklong passes.
On Wednesday, Ewoniuk called three times about his tickets, which included a 45-minute wait to talk to someone, but says they were absolutely no help.
“It’s not like this was sprung on them, like, ‘oh surprise, the Ryder Cup’s in three weeks,’” he said. “They’ve had almost 18 months of knowing – well, a year now since it’s been postponed – to get these tickets out. And they were sending out emails saying we’ll receive tickets four to six weeks before the event.
“Now it’s less than three, and no tickets.”
He volunteered at the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minnesota and has attended three others, including one in Ireland.
But Ranke says he has an odd feeling that the reason they didn’t ship tickets is because of the ongoing pandemic, and their plan is to either not allow any fans or to really scale back the amount that will be allowed in. And they are waiting until the very last minute to avoid a serious backlash and media firestorm.
Ranke added when he was a marshal on the 12th hole in the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Ill., the PGA of America paid Lake Park High School – located directly across the street from the course – $3 million to close for the week.
“I only bring this up because I know the PGA of America has very, very deep pockets and has no problem spending money for the Ryder Cup,” Ranke said. “So if there was a problem with the tickets, there’s no question in my mind that they would step in and fix it within hours, not months or weeks.”
He bought tickets two years ago and says he invested $4,000 for the trip.
Hodges actually received an email Thursday to inform him his tickets were being shipped and a UPS tracking number was provided.
On Friday, he checked out the UPS tracking number and was told: “check back tomorrow for an updated delivery date.” No transit information was shown as well.
“It seems the Ryder Cup has not taken into any consideration the potential of delivery delays or even out-of-country travelers,” Hodges said. “This is a very simple process that Ticketmaster and many other ticketing companies have been successful at for years. To not have the process determined a year in advance and to be this late with ticket delivery is very surprising.
“It makes me question if the event will be this disorganized. It’s a bucket-list item for me and I’m having major second thoughts on going even if the tickets arrive in time.”