Did you know that Alex Noren will become the first European whose surname begins with ‘N’ to play in the Ryder Cup? We also discover in our Ryder Cup A to Z how Chris Riley became the fall guy for the demolition in 2004, who Al Espinosa is, and which European was disappointed he hadn’t hit it in the water…
A is for Alliss
In 1953, Peter Alliss had the chance to help Great Britain & Ireland to their first win in 20 years at Wentworth.
Needing one and a half points from the last two matches Alliss was 1 down to Jim Turnesa on the 36th tee, while Bernard Hunt was 1 up on Dave Douglas.
From 15 feet off the green, and Turnesa in trouble, Alliss fluffed his chip and three-putted for a half.
“I finished 5-6-6. If I’d finished 5-5-5, I would have beaten him.”
Hunt would also go on to halve which meant a 6.5-5.5 defeat.
“I had to smile years later when Bernhard Langer missed that putt at Kiawah Island. Nobody mentions it now, but mine was mentioned for at least the next 15 years.”
B is for Brookline
They might have run on the green and been dressed in horrific shirts but the Americans’ play on that final day was nothing short of sensational. In short they won the first six singles and none of them went even as far as the 18th.
But let’s get back to the negatives seeing as it’s Ryder Cup week. There was some pre-match bleating about not getting paid which resulted in each player getting $200,000 each, half of which went to charity and the other going to golf development in the player’s community.
“It burns the hell out of me to hear some of their viewpoints,” said the skipper Ben Crenshaw.
Tom Lehman added: “I think we should all be ashamed. The last thing the tour needs is a bunch of greedy, wimpy, whiny brats.”
C is for Concession
The greatest gesture in the game or a terrible piece of judgment depending on your point of view. At the time Jack Nicklaus probably thought very little of the two-footer he conceded to Tony Jacklin at Birkdale in 1969.
Then his team-mate Billy Casper chirped up: “We worked so hard to get where we were, and then for that to be the finalisation of the Ryder Cup. It was quite a sensation for everyone concerned there.”
Their skipper Sam Snead added: “When it happened, all the boys thought it was ridiculous to give that putt. We went over there to win, not to be good ol’ boys.”
D is for Darcy
Coming into the singles at Muirfield Village, Eamonn Darcy’s record stood at 0-8-2. Then Ben Crenshaw broke his putter walking to the 7th tee.
By the 17th Darcy had lost a two-hole lead to be one behind. But a birdie squared the match before, having watched Crenshaw hole for a 5 with his 3-iron after driving into a stream, rolling in a horrible, downhill par putt for the match.
“Nothing I have ever done in golf can compare with this,” he said. “I was nervous playing the bunker shot at 18, but my hands were rock steady. I kept telling myself I could get the ball close to the pin. Mind you, that was the toughest putt I ever faced.”
Europe won 15-13 for their first win overseas.
E is for Espinosa
Al Espinosa has two claims to fame. He has probably the best name in Ryder Cup history, and he was also the only American not to feature in the first matches in 1927. Despite making the team he played no part, George Gadd also failed to tee it up for GB&I.
Espinosa was unbeaten at Moortown two years later before a third appearance in 1931.
His other claim to fame was reaching a play-off for the 1929 US Open against Bobby Jones – where he lost by 23 shots.
Ryder Cup A-Z continues on the next page…