When it comes to ties, the Golf Power Poll family is a house divided.

The first 14-14 tie in the 33-year history of the Solheim Cup last week prompted a lot of debate in the golf world on the eve of the 44th Ryder Cup over whether or not the wildly popular international team events in golf should be decided each time by an outright winner. While historically rare occurrences in the Ryder (twice) and Solheim (once) Cups, ties have gone to the previous outright winner, with the reigning champions retaining the trophy.

Our Power Poll voters narrowly lean towards preferring team events finish with a clear winner and loser, with 52 percent (68 votes) choosing a tiebreaker with 38 percent (50 votes) fine with the previous winner retaining the trophy. Only 10 percent (13 votes) think a tie and sharing the prize would be satisfactory.

How any proposed tiebreaker would be implemented, however, is another issue. Our pollsters are widely divided over sudden death decided by a singles (37 votes, 28 percent) or four-ball showdown (40 votes, 31 percent) or by having all tied singles matches continue in extra holes until a team reaches at least 14½ points needed to win outright (44 votes, 34 percent).

Like the Ryder Cup itself, it’s a topic that inspires a lot of opinion.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And it ain’t broke,” said Joe Logan, the co-founder of MyPhillyGolf.com.

“This is much ado about nothing to me,” said Sean Fairholm, senior writer at Global Golf Post.

“I kind of like the current system where one team has the cup and their opponent has to come take it from them, almost like a validation system. That’s unique to golf. The competition isn’t an entirely clean slate; the previous event can potentially be a deciding factor.”

But many disagree.

“Seeing the Europeans celebrate a Solheim Cup tie as a win is an eye-opening indicator that the format needs to be modernized,” said GolfLink editor Nicholas Heidelberger. “Things have changed in the 100 years since this system was created for the Ryder Cup. It’s time to take a look through a modern lens.”

“There needs to be some sort of sudden death playoff,” said George Willis, contributing sports writer for the Miami Times. “‘You play to win the game,’ someone once said. There is too much financial and emotional investment to settle for a tie.”

“Ties are silly. No one plays for a tie. A winner and a loser should always be determined,” said Rob Goulet, CEO of Entertainment Sports Partners, Inc.

Hank Gola, retired New York Daily News golf writer, believes change is in order and could have been resolved from the start.

“Ties are a vestige of bygone days, particularly in Europe’s soccer-centric culture,” Gola said. “A playoff between two designated players seems like an easy solution. Interestingly enough, at the first Ryder Cup in 1927, Walter Hagen proposed that a ninth singles match be played (not everyone on the squad played a singles match) to avoid the possibility of a tie and that tied matches go to sudden death. The Brits refused.”

For Matt Lawell, managing editor of Golf Course Industry Magazine, the concept is more philosophical.

“Guessing my opinion aligns with the minority, but American culture in general and American sports in particular place far too heavy an emphasis on winners and losers,” he said. “There is not always a winner and a loser, nor should there be, nor does there need to be. The journey is far more important than the destination.”

Question 1: How should international team-match outcomes be decided in the event of a tie? https://www.golfdigest.com/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2023/1/TIECHART1.jpeg

Previous winner retains the cup – 38% (50 votes) Tiebreaker to determine a winner – 52% (68 votes) Teams share the cup – 10% (13 votes)

While a small majority would prefer a tiebreaker, defenders of the status quo feel strongly about maintaining tradition.

“Having the Cup holder retain the Cup in the event of a tie is fine with me,” said Rick Woelfel, a golf course industry contributor. “It’s worked in the Ryder Cup and it works in professional boxing; if a championship fight ends in a draw the champion retains his title. Tradition matters. A playoff with a compressed format after something like the Solheim Cup or Ryder Cup is unfair to the players. They’ve focused their physical energy for three full days. To ask them to refocus after that would be anticlimactic as would deciding an event via one bad shot.”

“There have only been two ties in the (Ryder Cup’s) history. This past week was the only Solheim to end in a tie. It’s not really a problem,” said GGP’s Fairholm. “Also, none of the tie-breaking ideas are appealing to me. … And any additional playoff seems unnecessary after three full days of golf with 24 guys involved.”

But others believe, as Len Shapiro said, that “ties are terrible” and it’s high time international team events get with the times and be more decisive.

“The previous winner retaining the cup is a quaint relic of the past,” said Herb Gould, co-founder of TMGcollegesports.com.

“The players, the fans, the networks have too much time and money invested for the matches to end in a tie. ‘Retaining’ the cup is a dud of a way to finish,” said Bill Hobson, host of Michigan Golf Live.

“I know that the original Ryder Cup was a ‘hail fellow, well met’ hands-across-the-sea type of event, but that approach is in the past,” said freelance writer Gary K. McCormick. “Time to settle things up at the end of the event and be able to declare a real winner.”

Sports Illustrated writer Gary Van Sickle thinks the solution is to simply make the implied half-point advantage the reigning winner has, be made official on the starting scoreboard: “No playoffs for Solheim or Ryder Cups. Defending champion gets a half-point lead at the start so teams can’t end up tied.”

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com