Rozner: Presidents Cup coming to Medinah in 2026

  • Justin Thomas and Tony Finau head down the first fairway in the closing round of the 2019 BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club.

    Justin Thomas and Tony Finau head down the first fairway in the closing round of the 2019 BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club. Associated Press

  • The 17th at Medinah Country Club is certainly no gimme.

    The 17th at Medinah Country Club is certainly no gimme. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Tiger Woods lines up his putt on the 18th hole during the opening round of the 2019 BMW Championship at Medinah.

    Tiger Woods lines up his putt on the 18th hole during the opening round of the 2019 BMW Championship at Medinah. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Geoff Ogilvy will have a hand in the redesign of the No. 3 course at Medinah Country Club in time for the 2026 Presidents Cup.

    Geoff Ogilvy will have a hand in the redesign of the No. 3 course at Medinah Country Club in time for the 2026 Presidents Cup. Associated Press

  • The 18th fairway at Medinah Country Club looked like this before the 2019 BMW Championship.

    The 18th fairway at Medinah Country Club looked like this before the 2019 BMW Championship. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/8/2020 5:42 PM

Medinah may not soon get another major championship or FedExCup event, but the 2026 Presidents Cup is on track for the famed course, according to multiple sources.

The spectacular No. 3 track at Medinah will undergo another facelift and this time part of the redesign team will be Australian Geoff Ogilvy, best known for surviving the finish at Winged Foot in 2006 when Phil Mickelson went to pieces and missed his best chance to win a U.S. Open.

 

The 43-year-old Ogilvy was an assistant captain on last year's International Team that lost to the Tiger Woods-led USA squad at Royal Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, and it would be logical if Ogilvy became captain for 2026.

How fitting would it be if Mickelson were to be the U.S. captain at Medinah, opposite Ogilvy?

Chicago is not scheduled for a PGA Tour event in 2021 or 2022, as the next two BMW Championships will be held in Baltimore and Delaware after Olympia Fields hosted this year and Medinah last year.

The Korn Ferry Tour will have the Evans Scholars Invitational at the Glen Club next May.

Medinah has been the site of three U.S. Opens (1949, 1975 and 1990), two PGA Championships (1999 and 2006), three Western Opens (1939, 1962, 1966) and of course the extraordinary Ryder Cup in 2012.

The Presidents Cup, like the early decades of the Ryder Cup, has not been all that competitive with the United States going 11-1-1, but two of the last three have been very close.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In 2015 in South Korea, American Bill Haas -- son of team captain Jay Haas -- clinched the victory with a putt on the 18th hole and the U.S. won by only a point.

Last year in Australia, Team USA won 16-14 for Captain Woods, who also played and went 3-0-0, skipping one day of matches to rest a tired back, but his victory over Abraham Ancer in Sunday singles was one of the best games of the week.

The Internationals have a growing stable of very talented young players that are threatening to make the event more entertaining, with Ancer, Cam Smith, Haotong Li, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Christiann Bezuidenhout, Erik Van Rooyen, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Carlos Ortiz, Sebastian Munoz and Dylan Frittelli, joining the usual suspects like Jason Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen and Hideki Matsuyama.

Little by little, the Internationals are closing the gap, though it certainly helps when they're on a home course like Royal Melbourne that they can set up to benefit their players.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Cups played in the U.S. have not been very sporting, as was the case in 2017 at Liberty National in Jersey City, where the home team won 19-11.

But in 2026, assuming Ogilvy is named captain, the course should be more favorable to the Internationals, given that their captain is helping with the redesign.

Medinah has traditionally been the home of the bomb-and-gouge, perfect for the long-hitting Americans who don't fear the rough if all they have in hand is a wedge, witness the victories by Woods in two PGA Championships and Justin Thomas running away with the rain-softened BMW last year at 25-under par.

There's little doubt Ogilvy would want to make the historic track a shot-makers course rather than simply a bombers paradise, and if Medinah wants to again host big events it needs to find a way to minimize the advantage of players like Bryson DeChambeau, who are threatening to make all the old courses obsolete.

Olympia Fields did a fabulous job with that this year and made the BMW the toughest tournament of 2020, with a mixture of brutal rough, firm greens and difficult pin placements.

It was fair. But it was tough.

The recent Masters is proof that any course can punish players for missing fairways and greens, and DeChambeau was reminded of that a few weeks ago.

In any case, the Presidents Cup is becoming more relevant each time the International Team manages to keep it close, and one would imagine Ogilvy has in mind a way to make that happen.

Medinah is a grand facility with a rich history and it deserves more big tournaments. The 2026 Presidents Cup is an excellent place to start.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.