Ryder Cup golf: A brief historyJune, 2013
Want to know how the Ryder Cup started and why it is played?
The Ryder Cup (officially the Ryder Cup Matches) is a biennial men’s golf competition between teams from Europe and the United States.
The competition, which is jointly administered by the PGA of America and the PGA European Tour, is contested every two years with the venue alternating between courses in the USA and Europe.
It began following an exhibition match in 1926 between a team comprising American professionals against a similar one drawn from the British PGA on the East Course at Wentworth Club, in Surrey, England. The Ryder Cup is named after the English entrepreneur Samuel Ryder who originally donated the trophy.
The first official Ryder Cup took place in 1927 at Worcester Country Club, in Massachusetts, US. These early matches between the United States and Great Britain remained fairly even.
It was not until the competition’s resumption after the Second World War that repeated American dominance led to a decision, initiated by Jack Nicklaus, to extend the representation to continental Europe from 1979.
The inclusion of Europe was partly prompted by the success of a new generation of Spanish golfers, led by Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido. The Republic of Ireland was officially included in the British team of 1973. Meanwhile, other Irish players had begun to compete in 1953 and Northern Irish players had competed since 1947.
The inclusion of Europe was partly prompted by the success of a new generation of Spanish golfers, led by Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido. Since 1979, Europe has won nine times outright and retained the Cup once by tying, with seven American wins over this period. Europe has won seven of the last nine matches and has not lost in Europe since 1993.
Team Europe has included players from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. The Ryder Cup, and its counterpart the Presidents Cup, remain exceptions within the world of professional sports because all participants receive no prize money despite them being high-profile events that bring in tens of millions of dollars in television and sponsorship revenue.
The most recent Ryder Cup took place from 28–30 September 2012, at the Medinah Country Club, in Illinois, US. The winner was Europe by a score of 14½ points to 13½ having overturned a four-point deficit going into the final day’s play. The next Ryder Cup will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perth & Kinross, Scotland, in 2014 followed by the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.