2018 Ryder Cup tees off without German participation | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.09.2018
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2018 Ryder Cup tees off without German participation

The 2018 Ryder Cup is underway and for the first time in a decade, Team Europe doesn't feature a German golfer. Martin Kaymer and the German Golf Association are intent on rectifying that moving forward.

From Bernard Langer to Martin Kaymer, German golfers have played their part in shaping the history of the Ryder Cup. It was just six years ago that Kaymer tapped in the deciding two-meter putt before jumping into the arms of Sergio Garcia and running across the golf course with a Germany flag to celebrate the "Miracle at Medinah."

Ryder Cup: Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods among wildcard picks

Experience not enough for Kaymer

In the latest rendition of the golf's biggest event, in which 24 of the world's best golfers battle it out over three days as Team America and Team Europe, there will be no German participant. Since 1981, that has only happened on three previous occasions – 1999, 2006 and 2008.  

"I felt like I had to go with experience. I feel like I had to go with people that are proven in this environment," said Team Europe captain Thomas Björn. Perhaps an apt description of Kaymer, who has featured in the last four Ryder Cups, picking up three wins and a total of 6.5 points. However, a slip down the rankings below the Top 200 led to him too missing out on the wildcard pick.

"I always said that the eight would kind of dictate where you go with the four," said Björn, who opted to select Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson.

"It was not an easy decision because so many guys have played and so many guys have tried hard and they put every effort into it. They deserve that you consider them, but in the end this was the decision that was reached. It was tough to make the phone calls to the ones who missed out."

Martin Kaymer Golf Ryder Cup 2012 (dapd)

Martin Kaymer celebrates his winning putt at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Kaymer's response came in the form of a Facebook post which read: "I'm looking forward to defending the Ryder Cup with you all in 2020. Go Europe!"

Neumann: "Creating a welcoming culture is key"

Even if the former world No.1 is reaches his target though, the German Golf Association (DGV) believes more needs to change.

"Even if Martin Kaymer or a different German tour player were set to feature in Paris, we're still a long way from being satisfied with our situation as an association,” said the director of sport at the DFV, Marcus Neumann. "Right now, the situation is that we've got a lot of German players on tour – a number that is increasing."

According to Neumann, it's becoming increasingly difficult to bring through the next generation of golfers. Children in the UK and Scandinavia "have much easier contact to golf," than those growing up in Germany where "time and financing" are needed to help attract the masses back to a beloved sport.

"Creating a more authentic and welcoming culture in the golf clubs is the key to getting more kids on board and having a good mix of age groups," Neumann continued. "Three factors which we're keen to strengthen in the future: the fun factor, the sporting development and social well-being." 

While there will be no German participation, there will be plenty of other golfing stars on show at the Ryder Cup that could catch the attention of the next generation. As Neumann put it: "You can't plan for when the next world star is born."


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