16 Sep 2018

The Ryder Cup lowdown – Everything you need to know about golf’s most iconic event

We take a look at the format of the greatest event in golf – The Ryder Cup. Who will come out on top at Le Golf National?

The Ryder Cup Trophy

In 1927, English seed merchant Samuel A. Ryder presented The Ryder Cup to The Professional Golfers’ Association(of Great Britain & Ireland) to place as a prize for an international competition between American and British professional golfers. The Ryder Cup was commissioned for £250. The trophy stands 17 inches high, is nine inches from handle to handle and weighs four pounds.


Each match is worth one point, with matches ending in a draw worth ½ point to each side. The first team to reach 14 ½ points wins the Ryder Cup. If the matches end in a 14-14 draw, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it.


Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of fourball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day is reserved for 12 singles matches.

The early years

PGA President George Sargent (1921-26), a native of Scotland, credited Sylvanus P. Jermain, President of Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, for first presenting the concept of an international match, in 1921. The first unofficial matches took place at Gleneagles, Scotland on June 6, 1921, when the British side eased to a 10.5 to 4.5 victory. Another unofficial match occurred in 1926 when the R&A initiated qualifying for its Open Championship, giving American players more time in England. Englishman Samuel Ryder and Walter Hagen deserve the credit for this match, contested June 4-5, at Wentworth. The first Ryder Cup took place the following year in 1927 in Massachusetts, which the British team travelled to by boat.

Notable past Captains 

Some of the greatest names ever involved in the game have had the honour of being Ryder Cup Captain. Walter Hagen was the United States Captain for the first six editions, and he was followed by Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. Arnold Palmer (pictured), Byron Nelson had their turn, as did Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange. Before the event included golfers from continental Europe, Henry Cotton and Dai Rees both had multiple Captaincies before Tony Jacklin had three winning leaderships. From 1997 Europe have rotated the role so that no one does it more than once. Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Sir Nick Faldo, Jose Maria
Olazábal and the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance and Mark James have all had the honour. This year Furyk and Bjørn both their get shot at glory.

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