During his four-match tenure as captain from 1983-89, Mr. Jacklin led Europe to two victories, including the first ever win in the U.S., and he remains the most successful Ryder Cup captain in history. His approach has since provided a blueprint for every subsequent captain in the biennial tear-up, which begins on Friday in Newport, Wales.
By making the captain the central character of golf’s most watchable soap opera, he also transformed the role from glorified administrator into arguably the most lucrative unpaid job in all of sports.
As the Ryder Cup has grown in stature during the past three decades, it has also become a lucrative event for both the European Tour and the PGA of America, which owns commercial rights when the match is staged in the U.S. Roughly 60% of the money generated by the event is distributed to the European Tour, with the PGA of Europe and the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland sharing the remainder.