F is for Faldo
History hasn’t been too kind to Sir Nick in the Ryder Cup; that captaincy, the letter in the bin in 1999, and the David Gilford episode at Kiawah.
But try not to forget he played on 11 teams, in 46 matches and had a positive record of 0.54. And never forget the greatest par of all time when he pitched and putted to help get us over the line at Oak Hill.
G is for Grooves
In 1947 Henry Cotton demanded on the last afternoon of practice to check that the grooves of the Americans were legal. They were, and the hosts won 11-1.
Two years later at Ganton, Ben Hogan, again the US playing captain, returned the favour. The chair of the R&A rules committee Bernard Darwin had to get out of a pre-dinner bath to check the home players’ clubs and some grooves were deemed non-conforming. The club pro Jock Ballentine then had to spend the night filling in the grooves.
H is for Heatwave
Maybe the highest temperatures seen at a Ryder Cup came in 1931 at Scioto in Ohio. This is the club where Jack Nicklaus learnt to play growing up.
Temperatures reached three figures – almost 40-degrees Celsius – as the Americans thrashed their opponents which led to the British PGA calling for the matches to not be played in mid-summer when played in the States.
I is for Irwin
Hale Irwin has a remarkable record in the competition having played on five teams and won all five matches.
But it was his very final involvement, in his singles clash with Bernhard Langer, which will live longest in the memory.
We all forget the German holed putts at 15, 16 and 17, we all remember he missed one at the last after Irwin had made bogey.
J is for Jacklin
No modern-day captain will lead Europe as much as Tony Jacklin, who did it four times. Dai Rees actually did it on five occasions while Charles Whitcombe also skippered GB&I four times in the 1930s.
Jacklin oversaw the first victory for 28 years at The Belfry but his finest hour came at Muirfield Village two years later.
“The outcome and the winning there was the most significant thing to happen in any Ryder Cup before or since and I still think that. Everybody gelled and we had that private team room and that was so essential, it was just the players and the wives and everybody else was outside. It was as much won there behind the scenes with the confidence and the environment that we created amongst ourselves.”
Ryder Cup A-Z continues on the next page…