Classic Golf moments: The ’53 Ryder Cup

America land in London ahead of their Ryder Cup defence

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26th September 1953

The Place
London Airport, England

The Scene
By today’s standards, this scene looks rather sedate and low key; when teams arrive for Ryder Cups they do so to enormous fanfare, hype and attention.


In contrast, the American side landing at London Airport ahead of the 1953 Ryder Cup look understated, relaxed and unflustered. We rather like the neat simplicity of it all.

The line up is as follows, from left to right: Lloyd Mangrum

(holding the cup), Dr Cary Middlecoff, Ed Oliver, Sam Snead, Jim Turnesa, Jack Burke, Walter Burkemo, Ted Kroll, Fred Haas, Dave Douglas, Roy O’Brien (a supporter) and manager Fred Corcoran.

Snead is clearly the best known of the team, followed by Burke and Middlecoff but by American standards this was not a classic side, falling between their star-studded eras.

Indeed, we are all more familiar with the names in the Great Britain & Ireland side of the day – which is a rarity in this era of American dominance.

The captain was Henry Cotton and he led a side containing several luminaries of the British and Irish game: Max Faulkner, Fred Daly, Peter Alliss, Harry Bradshaw, Dai Rees, Harry Weetman, Eric Brown, Jimmy Adams, John Panton and Bernard Hunt.

The Action
The match took place at Wentworth and proved to be GB&I’s best chance of victory since the win at Southport & Ainsdale 20 years previous. By way of background, GB&I entered these matches in Surrey on the back of a 9.5 2.5 thrashing at Pinehurst in 1951.

But after losing Friday’s foursomes matches 3-1 – including an 8&7 defeat for Brown and Panton at the hands of Mangrum and Snead, Cotton’s side fought back in the singles.

Burke edged out Rees but then Daly, Brown and Weetman all won their matches – the latter with a one-hole victory over Snead – to level the tie at 4-4. But Faulkner lost to Middlecoff 3&1 and Turnesa saw off Alliss at the 18th.

Hunt halved and Bradshaw beat Haas 3&2 to make the final score a respectable 6.5-5.5.

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