The Ryder Cup matches are the highlight of the professional golfing calendar every two years for European and American golfers. This team competition between professional golfers on both sides of the Atlantic is played with an intensity that is legendary. The Ryder Cup is technically the name of the trophy awarded to the winning team of the Ryder Cup Matches. These days however if someone mentions the Ryder Cup, they are more likely to be referring to the biennial competition itself.
The competition dates back to 1920′s. The first official Ryder Cup was in 1927 when an English merchant named Samuel Ryder donated a gold cup (and his name) to the competition, prior to this there had been several “unofficial” matches in 1921 and again in 1926.
The 1927 Ryder Cup was held in Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts where the USA beat Great Britain in a crushing victory 9-1/2 to 2-1/2. This original match format was comprised of four foursomes (alternate shot) matches on one day and eight singles matches on the other day, each of 36 holes.
There were no Ryder Cup Matches held between 1939 and 1945 due to World War Two and the Ryder cup was postponed in 2001 as a result of the 9-11 disaster.
The competition has naturally evolved over the years and some of the key changes are as follows:
1961 There was a format change to four 18-hole foursomes matches the morning of the first day, four more foursomes that afternoon, eight 18-hole singles the morning of the second day and eight more singles that afternoon. One point was at stake in each match, so the total number of points was doubled to 24.
1963 There was another format change – fourball (better-ball) matches were added for the first time, increasing the total number of points available to 32.
1973 The GB team was officially expanded to include Ireland and became Great Britain and Ireland
1977 The format was tweaked again, this time with five foursomes on opening day, five four-ball matches on the second day, and 10 singles matches on the final day. This reduced the total points to 20.
1979 The GB team was expanded and became Team Europe
1979 The format was revised to provide four fourball and four foursomes matches the first two days and 12 singles matches on the third day. The total points awarded were 28.