Format of the Ryder Cup – How does it all work?

Ryder Cup Golf

The 36th Ryder Cup Matches will take place in Ireland between Friday 22nd and Sunday 24th September 2006. Over the course of three days Team Europe will take on Team USA competing for a total of 28 points and of course the Ryder Cup Trophy (not to mention the even more valuable bragging rights for the next two years)! These points are won over the 3-day event with four foursomes and four fourballs on both Days 1 and 2, and 12 singles matches on Day 3. Read on if you’re not sure what this means.

The 28 Ryder Cup matches involve matchplay matches between the two teams of twelve. Days 1 and 2 consist of 8 foursomes and 8 fourballs. A foursomes match has two teams of two golfers compete against each other. Only a single ball is played per team with each team member taking alternate shots throughout the game. Tee-shots are alternated between the players on a team at each hole. With the foursome format the pairing of the team members is crucial to balance each others strengths and weaknesses and even assign compatible personalities.

The fourball format is similar to the foursomes however each player plays his own ball throughout the match and the winner of each hole is the team who’s golfer had the lowest individual score on each hole. Not all players play in the foursome and fourball matches and the Ryder Cup captain can select any eight players for each of the four rounds of play over these two days.

The final day sees all players on the team partaking in 12 single matchplay matches between two golfers.

The winner of the Ryder Cup Trophy is simply that team with the most points at the end of the final day. If it is a tie then the present cup-holders retain the trophy.

4 Responses to “Format of the Ryder Cup – How does it all work?”

  1. Joe says:

    European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam has retained the format used in 2004 for September’s match against the United States at the K Club, Ireland. As the home captain, Woosnam had the option of changing the order of the fourballs and foursomes gameplay. But the Welshman has kept the formula of fourballs (better ball) on Friday and Saturday morning and four foursomes (alternate shot) in the afternoons.

  2. […] The Captain’s prime official duty in the week of The Ryder Cup is to decide the pairings for the two series of fourballs and the two series of foursomes, and the order in which the players go out for the 12 singles matches which conclude the 28-points biennial contest. As the figurehead of the Team he must ensure, with the support of his Vice-Captain and Assistant Captains, that all members of the team receive the best possible support throughout the week of the match so that they remain focused on playing their best golf. In this respect the Captain must create and foster the perfect team spirit and sense of togetherness required to bring the very best out of each team member. […]

  3. […] OK so how does it all work? Well it differs from most golf events in that it is a team event and also the format of the games varies with a combination of Foursomes, Four balls and Singles matches.  Don’t know what these mean don’t worry they are just different ways of getting a ball from one end of a golf course to another! For a more exact description of the formats click here. […]

  4. Jack Boddaert says:

    Question- Are the player versus player and team versus team match ups done by random draw or do the captains determine who plays versus who?

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