Ryder Cup Costs Michigan Taxpayers $250K for Security

Pass-along of security costs for events comes under scrutiny from citizens, watchdog groups


Security for the Ryder Cup matches at Oakland Hills Country Club cost Michigan taxpayers $250,000.

Dave Payne, supervisor of Oakland County's Bloomfield Township, said Friday that the total security bill for the event was about $600,000. He said the PGA would pay the remainder.

The $250,000 is coming from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit corporation that allocates federal and state tax money to promote local development and tourism.

State officials defended the expenditure, saying the Ryder Cup helped promote Michigan tourism and boosted economic development. They also argued that security is a basic function of government.

But Michael LaFaive, director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, criticized the expenditure as ``unnecessary and unfair.'' He said the entire security bill should be covered by the PGA or Oakland Hills. If public funds must be used, then they should come from Oakland County, and not the state.

``People who have no interest in golf are now on the hook for the security costs of those who do,'' LaFaive told the Detroit Free Press. ``Should people who live in Escanaba pay for the chance that a large golf tournament can come to southeast Michigan? Could anything be more fundamentally unfair?''

About 150 local, state and federal law enforcement officers were present during the Sept. 14-19 Ryder Cup.

Payne said the township and the PGA had a gentleman's agreement that the township would not be left with any bills for the Ryder Cup matches. But Payne said the state stepped in and offered to share some of the security costs.

The PGA did not comment on the agreement.