The Ryder Cup is a golf competition between teams from the United States and Europe. The three-day competition occurs once every two years. The teams are comprised of the best 12 golfers from each of the respective geographical areas. The Ryder Cup is one of the most anticipated and popular events in professional golf.
Over the years a number of prominent golfers have teed off in the Ryder Cup including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer. Even in this day of huge prize money and multimillion dollar endorsement contracts, golfers on both sides of the Atlantic compete in the Ryder Cup without financial compensation.
Format br> The tournament has changed considerably since its inception. Currently, the three-day event involves teams and singles matches. Over the first two days, there’s a morning session and an afternoon session. Each session involves four “foursomes” and four “fourballs” for a two-day total of 16 head-to-head matches. On day three, there are 12 singles matches. All matches are 18 holes long.
Foursome br> A “foursome” is played between two teams of two golfers. Teammates use the same ball and alternate taking shots. The team with the lowest score wins the hole.
Fourball br> A “fourball” match is also played with two teams of two but each golfer plays their own ball. The hole is won by the team whose golfer posts the lower score.
Singles br> Singles matches are head-to-head competitions between two golfers but instead of keeping track of strokes (like in a PGA event) the golfers vie to win each hole. The hole is awarded to the golfer with the lowest score.
Scoring br> A team or player that wins the most holes during a match (18 holes) earns a point for their team. If the teams or individuals are tied after 18 holes each team is awarded half a point. The team with the most points at the end of the competition wins the Ryder Cup. If the competition ends in a tie (14-14), the team that currently holds the cup gets to keep it.
Teams br> Teams are comprised of 12 players. Over the years, a variety of methods have been used to select players. The current format picks nine golfers who’ve qualified based on their performance throughout the golf season. The remaining three roster slots are selected by the Ryder Cup captain.
History br> The Ryder Cup began in 1927. The cup is named after its donator, Samuel Ryder. When the Ryder Cup began, it was the United States versus players from Great Britain and Ireland. In 1979, the Ryder Cup was expanded to include players from Europe. Before the inclusion of European players, Team USA won the Ryder Cup all but four times (and one of those was a tie). From 1979 to 2010, Team Europe won the cup 10 times.