The Ryder Cup began in 1927 as a way for American and British golfers to compete against each other for glory, and today it’s opened up to teams from all of Europe as well. The biennial men’s golf competition is one of the most coveted in all of golf, and it has a fascinating history of victories, losses and memorable moments.
Although golf is a sport played around the world, few global competitions get as much respect as the prestigious Ryder Cup. What began as a completion between British and American teams turned into a vast global event that included Europe, and today it’s known as one of the most important events on the golfing calendar.
Every two years, the event takes place at a course in either Europe or the United States, with each taking a turn to host. Teams consist of the some of the best players each country has to offer like Luci Li, Lee Trevino, Justin Thomas and sees them battle it out over a three-day competition.
We’re here to look back at the history of this substantial golfing event and take a peek at what the 2018 Ryder Cup has to offer. With a little more insight into just how historic this event is, you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the tournament.
2018 Ryder Cup
The 2018 Ryder Cup is set to begin in September this year from the 28th to 30th and will take place at the Albatros Course of Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The southwest suburb of Paris will host only the second Rider Cup to held in Continental Europe, in addition to the 1997 Ryder Cup which took place in Spain.
During the 2016 event, the United States took home the prize and will be the returning champion. Before this though, the US team lost the previous give matches that took place in Europe, so everyone is excited to see if they can continue their good luck.
Bidding for the 2018 Ryder Cup took place in 2010 when all bids were to be submitted. There were six bids from France, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and Sweden with France announced in 2011 that they would host the event.
Ryder Cup History
Inaugural Ryder Cup took place in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Massachusettes between Great Britain and United States. The US won and first five contests. Competition stopped for some time and then resumed after the second world war. And so from 1979 the game was open up to more players. Particularly the new and emerging talent from Spain like Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido.
In 1969, one of the earliest and most historic events of the competition occurred between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. During the par-5 finishing hole, both players got on the green in two. After Nicklaus sunk his birdie putt, he then picked up Jacklin’s marker and tied the match. Controversy in US team as they would have that Jacklin attempt and miss to give them an outright win. Others applauded Nicklaus for his sportsmanship.
The 1989 Ryder Cup was where one of golf’s most historic rivalries began between Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger. After a series of issues and contentions called whenever either hit the ball. The match ended in a tie and the trophy staying with Britain as the previous winner.
In 1991, this feud progressed further with an ongoing battle, and Seve ending the match saying. “The American team has 11 nice guys. And Paul Azinger.” There was high tension through the entire game and players from both teams shed public tears out on course. This emotion and rivalry that got the Ryder Cup the international interest it has today.
There have been a few cancellations and postponements over the years as well. Including a few years where the competition didn’t occur due to the ongoing war. In 2001. The event canceled in light of recent tragedies on September 11. The American players do not wish to travel for the series.
Ryder Cup – Format of Play
Over the years, the format of the Ryder Cup has changed somewhat. The number of days played and holes changing all the time. Currently, Ryder Cup involves range of match play competitions between two players taken from two of teams of 12.
The event occurs over three days from a Friday to Sunday with four fourball matches. Four foursomes played each day. In total, 28 games take place, and all of them are over 18 holes.
When player wins their match they score point their team and half a point for any games that tied. Finally, the overall winning team decided by adding up all of points scored, and if there is a tie. The previous contest’s winner will retain the Ryder Cup trophy.
The current team size is 12 which changed from 10 in 1969. Since 1979 there has been 4 foursomes and 4 fourballs held on each of the first two days. Players can also only play a maximum of 5 matches throughout the event, whereas previously it was 6 matches.
Ryder Cup – Selecting Teams and Qualifying for Play
The captain is responsible for deciding who will play in that match and what order before on this stage. The teams chosen by qualification based on current performance and well as decisions made by the captain. Traditionally, a selection committee would make the decision. Seemed fairer to choose based on their skills or have team’s captain decide who would be the best fit.
In addition to the captain’s picks, the selection also made on recent qualifying events that deem players suitable. These qualifying events include World Golf Championships. The Players Championship, and other PGA Tour events.
Once in the event, the captain will decide who plays each match as well as the order they’ll play. In earlier contests, the captain would also play for the team. But after 1963 where Arnold Palmer was the last captain, this never occurred again. The captain always a professional golfer and one that has played the Ryder Cup before with only one exception.
Fun Facts About the Ryder Cup
When you’re known as one of golf’s most significant global events. You’re bound to have plenty of fascinating trivia to learn. Some fun facts about the Ryder Cup and amazing records and achievements that have made at the biennial contest.
- The first time anyone saw the Ryder Cup trophy was during the departure party. Where the British team was about to sail over to America to play the first match.
- The founder and namesake of the Ryder Cup, Samuel Ryder, modeled the trophy on Abe Mitchell. Abe went on to play three Ryder Cup tournaments and is regarded as one of the best.
- Captains must keep a name of one team member in a sealed envelope in case a player has an injury and someone is forced to withdraw.
- Before the Ryder Cup became an official event. There were two tournaments played between Great Britain and the US, which Great Britain won both of.
- Sir Nick Faldo holds the honor of winning more Ryder Cup matches than anyone else with 23 victories under his belt. He has also competed in more Ryder Cup tournaments than any other player, with 11 competitions on his resume.
- The oldest player to ever compete in the Ryder Cup was Raymond Floyd in 1993 when he was 51 years old.
- In the history of the Ryder Cup. There have been just six hole-in-ones and only one of them came from an American player.
- Each contest sees an opening ceremony whereby celebrity players take part in a golf tournament. To kick off celebrations, paired up with a previous Ryder Cup captain. Previous players include Michael Phelps, Scottie Pippen, Justin Timberlake, and Bill Murray.
An International Meeting of Golf’s Finest Players
Coming up on 100 years now. Ryder Cup only goes from strength to strength each time we watch the greats collide for the competition. With the friendly but energized rivalry that these opposing teams and countries play with. It’s one event on golf calendar that gets everyone watching.
Many memorable moments in golf history happen at this event and we’ve seen some rising stars make their mark. With Europe now being included in the Ryder Cup. It’s opened door to even more great players and given the US a challenge that’s worthy of competing for.
Featured Image: CC by SA, Vivienne Smith, via Wikimedia Commons.