Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup 2023: History, Format, and Controversial Moments

The Ryder Cup is one of the most prestigious events organized in men?s golf. It is the highest pursuit of national glory for the American and European golfers, as they compete in teams of 12 against each other.

The Ryder Cup is what golfers look forward to every once in two years and just try to make their way to the team in order to earn respect. Let us learn a bit more about the tournament, such as its history, format, and notable moments.

Ryder Cup history

1. Origins and Inception

In 1926, it became very common for a small number of professional golfers to travel to different countries to compete in national championships. That year, Walter Hagen announced that he would make a team of four golfers, including himself, to compete with the four British golfers before that year's Open championship in Britain.

A businessman named Samuel Ryder came forward to donate a cup for an annual competition. That year, the tournament was informally named the Ryder Cup.

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2. Early Years (1927?1940)

The first proper Ryder Cup with a more professional sense was organized in 1927. A Deed of Trust for the Ryder Cup was formed. The first-ever tournament was won by Great Britain, and for the first few years, no particular country dominated the other. The Inaugural Cup was organized at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was won by Team USA.

The event was perceived as financially impossible to conduct every year, and hence the decision was taken to organize it once every two years. For the first few seasons of the Cup, Great Britain and the USA both won, but Team USA won considerably more times. It was in the years 1927, 1931, 1935, and 1937 that the US won.

3. Post-World War II Era (1940s?1950s)

The Ryder Cup tournaments were canceled for seven years, from 1939 to 1945, because of World War II. The Ryder Cup was resumed in 1947 after the coast was clear and the war was at rest.

After the resumption of the Cup, Team Britain won only once in 1937, and the other 16 victories out of the 17 tournaments belonged to the American team.

4. Dominance of Team USA (1960s?1970s)

The year 1960 was crucial for the Ryder Cup. It was the year when the PGA of America, after suggestions, turned it into a three-day event with an extra day for the four-ball matches. The four-ball competition was introduced in 1963. In 1961, Arnold Palmer, the golf legend, made his Ryder Cup debut and subsequently became the Ryder Cup legend. He won 28 matches out of the 32 matches.

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The American team dominated the tournament from 1963 to 1983. The team won consecutively for almost 20 years and recorded the highest margin of victory in 1967. Great Britain won 8.5 points, whereas Team USA won 23.5 points after the gruesome competition.

5. Rise of the European Team (1980s?1990s)

In 1977, interest in the sport and tournaments started peaking, and Jack Nicklaus suggested to the British PGA that they should widen their talent pool to include players from Continental Europe as well.

In 1979, it was the first official Europe vs. America Ryder Cup. The year indeed marked a monumental change in the course of the Ryder Cup.

After the introduction of the European team, American dominance started to decrease. In 1985, Team Europe scored their first victory and followed it up with a consecutive second win in 1987. In 1989, the match ended in a draw. In 1995, Team Europe struck again and won, followed by another one in 1997.

6. Recent Decades (2000s-2020s)

Since the 2000s, no particular country has dominated the Ryder Cup. It has been a well-maintained balance between the two teams, where they have won considerable games. In 2010, 2012, and 2014, Europe won three consecutive times. In 2016, Patrick Reed led the USA team to victory, and in 2018, Europe struck again.

7. Ryder Cup Records and Statistics

Most appearances
Phil Mickelson12
Most points - 28.5
Sergio Garcia(25?13?7 record)
Most singles points won - 7
Colin Montgomerie(6?0?2 record)
Billy Casper(6?2?2 record)
Lee Trevino(6?2?2 record)
Arnold Palmer(6?3?2 record)
Neil Coles(5?6?4 record)
Most foursomes points won - 13.5
Sergio Garcia(12?4?3 record)
Most fourball points won - 10.5
Ian Woosnum(10?3?1 record)
Jose Maria Olazaba(9?2?3 record)
Sergio Garcia(9?4?3 record)
Most points won by a pairing - 12
Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazaba(11?2?2 record)
Most points in a single contest - 5
Tony Lema(5?1?0) 1965
Peter Alliss(5?1?0) 1965
Garnder Dickinson(5?0?0) 1967
Arnold Palmer(5?0?0) 1967
Tony Jacklin(4?0?2) 1969
Jack Nicklaus(5?1?0) 1971
Larry Nelson(5?0?0) 1979
Francesco Molinari(5?0?0) 2018
Dustin Johnson(5?0?0) 2021
Youngest Player - 19 years, 258 days
Sergio Garcia1999
Oldest Player - 51 years, 20 days
Raymond Floyd1993

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Ryder Cup Format

1. Match Play Format

The format of the Ryder Cup is very distinctive. It is a matchplay-format event that golfers play in. There are three types of matches played that is, Singles, Foursomes, and Fourballs.

In four-ball matches, each member of the two-member team comes forward to play their own ball. In foursome matches, every hole is played by a two-man team. Members play alternative holes by taking turns. In singles, every hole is played by a single member of the team that is selected.

2. Scoring System

For every 28 matches played, there is a system of single points per match. If any hole is tied between the two teams, the point is halved. The first team to reach 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup. In case there is a tie and both teams put 14 on the leaderboard, the cup remains with the defending team.

3. Team Selection Process

The process of selecting the team has varied over the years, and it has not been the same. Some new modifications are kept in the mix.

  • USA Team Selection

There are two ways for golfers to get selected for the American Ryder Cup team. The first is the automatic qualification that they get by being in the top spots; however, this is specified as per the rules in the Ryder Cup standings table. Golfers get points for their competing tournaments and wins, which mark their place in the table. The second way is to fill in the remaining spots with captain?s picks. The team?s skipper chooses the players based on the criteria set by him and other authority figures.

  • European Team Selection

Unlike the USA team, the European team selects its players based on the European points list or the World points list. But there is one similar aspect, and that is the captain?s picks. The remaining team members after the automatic points qualification are handpicked by the team?s skipper.

4. Venue Selection

Since there are two countries that compete in the Ryder Cup, the tournament venues also keep rotating. The courses are chosen alternately between the two countries. For instance, in 2021, the venue was chosen in the USA, and in 2023, it was chosen in Europe.

5. Daily Schedule and Pairings

The opening ceremony takes place on the day prior to the commencement of the tournament. A tradition of a celebrity match before the actual contest began in 2012. In this, celebrities were paired with former Ryder Cup captains, but the format was altered in 2016. Since then, separate matches for celebrities and former captains have been organized.

Ryder Cup Controversial and Memorable Moments

1. 1969: Nicklaus vs. Jacklin

The 1969 Cup was one of the best matches in terms of play. 18 of the 32 matches went to the last hole, and the winner was decided at the very last moment. Both of the teams were tied at 15.5, and Nicklaus led Tony Jacklin by a score of 1 up as they competed on the 17th hole. Jacklin made a 35-foot eagle putt, and when Nicklaus missed his own eagle try from 12 feet, the match was all square.

At the par-5 finishing hole, both Jacklin and Nicklaus got on the green in two. Nicklaus ran his eagle putt five feet past the hole, while Jacklin left it two feet short. Nicklaus then sank his birdie putt and picked up Jacklin's marker, conceding the putt Jacklin needed to tie the match. As the current holders, the rules meant that the United States retained the trophy.

This gesture of sportsmanship by Nicklaus caused controversy on the American side, some of whom would have preferred to force Jacklin to attempt the putt for the small chance that he might miss, which would have given the United States team an outright win.

2. 1989: Azinger and Ballesteros

In the 1989 match, the pressure was severe on the United States team and its captain, Raymond Floyd, as after retaining the trophy for so long, they lost it to the European team in 1985 and 1987. The competition saw the beginnings of a feud between Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger. Early in their singles match, Ballesteros sought to change a scuffed ball for a new one, but Azinger disputed whether the ball was unfit for play.

A referee was called and sided with Azinger in ruling that the ball was fit for play. The match between the two continued with tension and frustration. The emotions of frustration only grew, and the tournament ended in a tie, and the European team retained the cup.

3. 1991: "The War on the Shore"

The feud between the two teams did not end with the 1989 Cup, and it only escalated with time. In 1991, during the ceremonial dinner, the PGA of America played two videos that glorified America?s presence in the Ryder Cup, and it did not sit well with the European team.

During the first day of the tournament, the constant goading between Ballesteros and Azinger intensified their respective desires to win. Ballesteros accused the American pair of Azinger and Chep Beck of violating the rule. After the matches concluded, Ballesteros reportedly said, "The American team has 11 nice guys. And Paul Azinger." The 1991 matches received the sobriquet "The War on the Shore" after some excitable advertising in the American media and intense home-team cheering by the American home crowds. The matches culminated in one of the most dramatic putts in the history of golf. With only one match remaining to be completed, between Hale Irwin of the US and Bernhard Langer of Europe, the American team led by one point. Irwin and Langer came to the last hole tied. To win the cup, the American team needed Irwin to win or tie the match by winning or tying the hole, whereas the Europeans could keep the cup with a win by Langer.

After a lot of struggle, Team USA got the cup back, and the intense competition of the 1991 Ryder Cup widely elevated people?s interest in the event.

4. 1999: Battle of Brookline

The 1999 Ryder Cup was held in Brookline, Massachusetts, and caused great controversy. A remarkable comeback by the American team helped it win by 14 1?2 ? 13 1?2. The USA defeated Europe by 8 1?2 ?3 1?2 in the singles matches to seal the first American victory since 1993.

There was a lot of bad blood after the event, and some of the European players complained about the behavior of the American galleries throughout the match. Sam Torrance called the behavior "disgusting", while a European captain referred to it as a "bear pit" in his book.

Some reports said that a spectator spat on James?s wife. After the tournament, many US team members apologized for their behavior toward the European team members.

4. 2012: The Miracle at Medinah

In 2012, the 39th edition of the tournament was held in Medinah, Illinois. The Europeans were down 10-4 after 14 matches, with two four-ball matches still remaining and 12 singles matches for the final day.

Towards the end of the second day, Ian Poulter scored five birdies on the final five holes and earned the point for his team. The European team entered the final day with a score of 10-6 but ended up winning the Cup by a score of 14.5.

The final day?s 8.5 points went to Europe, and American golfers were only able to win 3.4 points that day. The event is often referred to as the "Meltdown at Medinah" in the United States or the "Miracle at Medinah" in Europe.

Ryder Cup event cancellations and postponements

1. The 1939 Ryder Cup

The 1939 Ryder Cup was planned for November 18?19 in Florida, but it was cancelled shortly after the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September. The contest would have been the first Ryder Cup to be held in Florida. WWII was declared on September 3, and the British P.G.A. immediately canceled the match.

2. 1941, 1943, and 1945 Ryder Cups

The Ryder Cup was not played in these scheduled years due to the war. Many members of the British team were still in the military. The play resumed in 1947 and was organized at the Portland Golf Club in Oregon.

3. 2001 Ryder Cup

The 2001 Ryder Cup was also postponed because of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Originally, the 2001 tournament was scheduled from September 28 to September 30, but the attacks caused a hindrance in the schedule. The cup was then subsequently rescheduled for 2004.

4. 2020 Ryder Cup

In July 2020, the Ryder Cup, scheduled to be held at Whistling Straits, was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. It was then rescheduled for 2021, and hence all the Ryder Cup tournaments would be taking place in odd-numbered years from then on.

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44th Ryder Cup (2023) Overview

1. Location and Dates

The 44th edition of the Ryder Cup is taking place in Rome, Italy. It is being held at Marco Simone Golf Country and Club. The three-day event is scheduled from September 29 to October 1.

2. Defending Champion

In 2021, in Wisconsin, the American team emerged victorious with a score of 19-9. The American team scored 19 points, and the European team was only able to put 9 points on the board.

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3. Host Selection Process

The host selection process is pretty simple. The venues are selected alternately between the USA and Europe. In 2021, the USA was the host, and this year, the contest is being held in Rome, Italy.

In 2001, the PGA European Tour decided to put out the Ryder Cup hosting rights from 2018 to 2030 to a competitive bid process throughout Europe.

4. Match Play Format and Competition Schedule

There will be a total of 28 events played during the course of three days. The first two days will consist of 16 matches, eight each day. Four foursome and fourball matches are organized on the first two days, divided into two slots: morning and evening. It is not important for all the team members to compete during the first two days.

On Sunday, there will be 12 singles matches in which all the team members will play one by one.

5. Points and Scoring System

For each match won, the team gets 1 point. In the event that any hole is tied, the point is halved and divided between the two teams.

6. Cup-Winning Requirements

In order to win the cup, the team needs to put up 14.5 points. In case of a tied point, that is, each team gets 14, the cup will remain with the USA team since they are the defending champions.

44th Ryder Cup (2023) Team Selection Format

1. USA

The American golfers earned points for the 2023 Ryder Cup from the season?s beginning in 2022 until the BMW Championship. The top six players on the list qualified automatically for the US team. The remaining six were selected by the team?s captain, Zach Johnson.

2. Europe

The first six players of the European team would be selected on the basis of the European Points List and the World Points List. The first three will be the top-ranked players on the European list, followed by the next three on the World Points list. Afterward, the team?s skipper, Luke Donald, will pick the remaining six and complete the team.

3. Team Compositions

Team USATeam Europe
Zach JohnsonLuke Donald
Fred CouplesThomas Bj?rn
Steve StrickerNicolas Colsaerts
Jim FurykJose Maria Olazabal
Stewart CinkFrancesco Molinari
Davis Love IIIEdoardo Molinari
Players qualified automatically via the points system
Scottie SchefflerJon Rahm
Wyndham ClarkRory McIlroy
Brian HarmanViktor Hovland
Patrick CantlayTyrrell Hatton
Max HomaMatt Fitzpatrick
Xander SchauffeleRobert Macintyre
Captain?s picks
Justin ThomasTommy Fleetwood
Rickie FowlerSepp Straka
Brooks KoepkaJustin Rose
Jordan SpiethShane Lowry
Collin MorikawaNicolai H?jgaard
Sam BurnsLudvig Aberg

4. Captains and vice captains

  • Team Captains

  1. U.S. Team Captain: Zach Johnson

  2. European Team Captain: Luke Donald

  • Vice Captains

  1. U.S. Team Vice Captains: Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, and Stewart Cink

  2. European Team Vice Captains: Thomas Bjorn, Edoardo Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jose Amria Olazabal, and Francesco Molinari.