Throwback Thursday: Team Europe debut at the Ryder Cup

The Scoop

In 1979 the Ryder Cup changed forever...

The Background

The Ryder Cup had always been a competition contested between the United States and Great Britain and Ireland.

However, the American opposition would change from the 1979 installment of the biennial event as the continent of Europe would replace the Great Britain and Ireland team.

The Scene

Only two players represented Europe from outside of Great Britain and Ireland in the first year of the switch.

Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido, both of Spain, played together in all four of the team sessions.

The United States side triumphed 17-11 at The Greenbrier following a dominant final day.

The competition wasn’t without controversy, though, as Mark James and Ken Brown received the highest fines in the history of golf for unprofessional misconduct.

The “offences” were refusing to wear team uniform at times and refusing to respect the flag raising ceremonies.

James was fined £1500 while Brown received a fine £500 less than his teammate. Both were banned for 12 months from international duty.

The Legacy

It took Europe three attempts to win the Ryder Cup following the change. In 1985 Tony Jacklin’s team beat the United States 16.5-11.5 at The Belfry in a historic triumph.

If the changes hadn’t occurred then the likes of Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer would have all been missing from the 2016 Ryder Cup side.

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