Ryder Cup explained
Here's everything you need to know about golf's premier team event, which takes place at Le Golf National in Paris, France, on September 28.
What is the Ryder Cup?
The Ryder Cup is a men’s team golf event between Europe and the United States. It was first held in 1927 as a competition between Great Britain and the US, before the former was extended to Europe in 1979 due to the dominance of the Americans.
When does the Ryder Cup take place?
The Ryder Cup is held once every two years and played over three days, in either late September or early October.
The host venue alternates between courses in Europe and the United States. The 2018 Ryder Cup takes place between Friday 28 September and Sunday 30 September at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
Who plays in the Ryder Cup?
Each team is made up of 12 players from each continent/country.
The first eight players for each side qualify automatically via a points system that is based on their performances at European Tour/PGA Tour events in the 12 months leading up to the event. The remaining four players for each side are wildcard picks who are selected by the captain.
What is the format of the Ryder Cup?
The Ryder Cup is comprised of 28 matches.
There are eight foursomes/fourball* matches over the first two days, followed by 12 singles matches on the last day. The scoring system for each match is matchplay, rather than strokeplay.
*In foursomes, both pairings play one ball per hole, alternating shots until the hole is complete. In fourball matches, each player in both pairings plays their own ball, with each team counting the lowest score on each hole.
How does a team win?
There are 28 points to play for. One point is awarded per match victory, with half a point awarded to each side in the event of a draw.
How does the scoring system work?
The first team to reach 14½ points wins the Ryder Cup. If the contest ends 14-14, the defending champions retain the trophy.
Who manages each team?
Each team is managed by a non-playing captain, who is typically a veteran golfer who has appeared in the Ryder Cup as a player.
The captain, who is assisted by three or four vice-captains, picks the pairings for the foursomes/fourball matches, as well as the order in which the players go out in singles on the final day.
Which team has won the most Ryder Cups?
America leads Europe 26-13, most recently winning the 2016 Ryder Cup 17-11 at Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minnesota.
Ryder Cup trivia
- Europe’s Nick Faldo has won the most points in Ryder Cup history, with 25 points from 11 appearances.
- The USA’s Phil Mickelson has made the most appearances in Ryder Cup history with 12.
- Europe’s Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal have won the most points by a pairing. The Spanish duo claimed 12 points from a possible 15 across four different Ryder Cups.
- Europe’s Sergio Garcia is the Ryder Cup’s youngest ever player. The Spaniard was 19 years and 258 days old when he made his debut in 1999.
- The USA’s Raymond Floyd is the Ryder Cup’s oldest ever player. He was 51 years and 20 days old when he played in 1993.
- The Ryder Cup was played in odd-numbered years between 1927 and 1999, but changed to even-numbered years in 2002 after the 2001 Ryder Cup was postponed because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.
- The only other time the Ryder Cup was cancelled was in 1939, which was due to the outbreak of World War II. The 1941, 1943 and 1945 events did not take place for the same reason, with the competition not resuming until 1947.
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