The European golf players’ kit and uniform are inspired by the blue background and gold stars of the EU flag. In the past the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, was played to commemorate Team Europe’s victory over the US team. But six of the dozen players in this year’s winning European team are British, while the Thomas Bjorn comes from Denmark.Given the importance of British talent to Team Europe, here is a look at what Britain’s exit from the EU could mean for the Ryder Cup.
What does Brexit mean for the Ryder Cup?
Britain’s decision to leave the EU could challenge the sense of European unity which is championed at the biennial showdown. But after the Brexit vote in June, Clarke insisted that “we’re still one continent” as far as the European Ryder Cup was concerned.
He said: “It makes no difference to us whatsoever because the UK is always going to be part of the European continent.
“So we’re going there as Europe. We will still use the European flag because that is our continental flag, and that is what we’re going to do.”
Nevertheless the continued use of the EU’s flag and anthem will anger some Brexiteers who believe the EU has wrongly assumed the trappings of statehood. Leading Brexit campaigner and keen golf Nigel Farage has previously asked what on earth the Ryder Cup has got to do with the European Union.
“I’ve been to Ryder Cups but I find it very difficult to go along and to see the European Union flag covering the players and covering their golf equipment,” Mr Farage told Channel 4 News.
“That is not what this is about. We don’t want this being hijacked by an increasing unpopular EU.”
But British golfers does not need to be worried about being expelled from the Ryder Cup because team selection is based on geographical, not political borders.
A spokesperson for the European Tour confirmed: “The criteria for being European in Ryder Cup terms is a geographical one (ie from countries who make up the continent of Europe) not a political or economic one (ie countries who make up the EU).
“Therefore the result of the UK referendum has no bearing in Ryder Cup qualification terms.
“In terms of the flag flown to represent the European Ryder Cup team, we consider that the blue and gold flag of Europe represents the continent of Europe and, as a broad symbol of Europe as a whole, we therefore plan to continue to use it.”