If you don’t have tickets to the Ryder Cup that starts Tuesday, you can still take home a souvenir.
The Ryder Cup Shop celebrates its grand opening Friday through Monday, an event open to the public at no charge. After Monday, a ticket is required to get into any Ryder Cup events at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska.
With 250,000 people expected to attend the competition from Tuesday to Oct. 2, everything about the souvenir space is outsized. More than 1,500 items are on display in the space nearly as large as a football field. At 49,000 square feet, the space is larger than the average Best Buy store, which is around 39,000 square feet.
The variety of items is designed to make visiting the store worthwhile. Less than 5 percent of what is offered in the store will be sold online at pga.com.
Shoppers will find a number of items and features that are new to Minnesota’s first hosting of the Ryder Cup. “There is a lot more outerwear sold for this tournament than in other locations,” said Mike Quirk, senior director of merchandising and licensing at PGA of America.
Acknowledging that Minnesota might have more hockey fans than golf fans, the PGA has stocked adult and kid-sized jerseys, commemorative hockey sticks and pucks, all with the Ryder Cup 2016 emblem on them. Minnesota-based Faribault Woolen Mills created branded scarves and blankets for the event, items that weren’t sold when the Ryder Cup was played in Palm Springs and Houston.
The most popular seller, hats, are expected to sell at a rate of about 25 per minute for a total of about 100,000 units about $25 to $30 a pop.
One change in the shop this year is taking a nod from department stores and adding exclusive departments or sections featuring brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Cutter & Buck, Greg Norman, Nike, Adidas, Tervis and Sunice.
Another change is to allow fans to buy official USA team merchandise worn or used by the pro golfers each day of the tournament, from their golf bags ($795) to their polos ($40 to $100). Most of the official Ryder Cup merchandise will not be available at local golf stores. Some will be offered at local pro shops, Golf Galaxy locations and the PGA Tour Superstore in Minnetonka.
Quirk believes that the Ryder shop will see a 20 percent increase in sales compared to 2012, the last time the event was played in the U.S. That’s consistent with Minnesota bucking national trends. Although golf outings increased only 1 percent nationwide last year, Minnesota saw an increase of 15 percent, according to the PGA.
The space allotted for checking out at the shop, nearly one-quarter of the store, is intimidating. But with 60 registers teeing up sales, organizers said the lines will move quickly. And fans won’t miss a shot during play with TV monitors spread throughout the checkout area.
Whatever is left for fans with tickets on the last day, Oct. 2, will not be discounted, Quirk said. “Our goal is to have nothing left, but the PGA donates leftover items to various charities,” he said.