Ryder Cup live updates: Herbert Kohler, who used to play ‘100 rounds a year,’ sees vision fulfilled

·3 min read

After three years of waiting and speculation, it’s time to put the tees in the ground and balls in the air. The 43rd Ryder Cup is here.

The biennial event between 12 of the best golfers from the United States and all of Europe began on Friday morning at Whistling Straits’ Straits Course in Haven, Wisconsin, and it was all America on Day 1. Europe may have won seven of the last nine events, but they’ll need to come from behind, 6-2, if they’re to win or even retain the cup.

From impressive shots to funny fans and everything in between, stay up to date with all the latest news and analysis from Saturday at the 43rd Ryder Cup.

Ryder Cup: Live scores | Format, scoring explained

Kohler’s vision shines through at Whistling Straits

Herbert Kohler Jr.. who used to golf 100 rounds a year, doesn’t play much anymore. Kohler’s courses have hosted major tournaments like PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015. But the Ryder Cup is another breed. It is the most lucrative tournament in golf and draws the largest media presence.

The Ryder Cup is “the granddaddy of all golf tournaments,” Kohler likes to say, comparing it to the World Series in baseball.

He said hosting the Ryder Cup would rank in the top dozen of his professional accomplishments along with the company’s growth record and other achievements.

Kohler was the CEO of the company that bears his family name from 1972 until he stepped down in 2015. The company, based in Kohler, grew dramatically under his leadership. It has around 6,000 full-time workers in Wisconsin, the majority of whom work in Sheboygan County.

It was Kohler’s idea to take the business best known for bathroom and plumbing fixtures into hospitality and golf. The Kohler hospitality arm runs four resorts and hotels in Wisconsin and a golf resort in Scotland.

This Ryder Cup is the last tournament in a three-event deal Kohler inked with the PGA of America years ago.

Kohler’s Wisconsin courses are not selected for any upcoming tournaments at this time.

“You can’t take much more on than the biggest tournament of all, until you do it successfully,” Kohler said.

Kohler has been credited with changing the landscape for golf in Wisconsin with his courses and focus on only hosting major tournaments.

Before the Ryder Cup American Captain Steve Stricker thanked Kohler for his contributions.

“(Whistling Straits is) just one of those iconic places here in our state thanks to Herb (Kohler) and his family,” Stricker said. “It started right here for Wisconsin golf to be quite honest. I mean, when Herb built these courses along with Blackwolf Run, it kind of put Wisconsin golf on the map.

“Other people and other courses have followed behind but we owe a lot to Herb and his family for being able to have a Ryder Cup here in Wisconsin. Really a dream thing for Wisconsinites and people that are involved here. So thanks, Herb, and to your family.”

— Sarah Heuer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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