The Ryder Cup: Everything you need to know
With the 2014 Ryder Cup fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to write an article regarding the rich heritage of this prestigious tournament.
The major influence of Samuel Ryder
Born on the 24th of March 1958, Samuel Ryder was a larger than life character and a very well respected English entrepreneur. Ryder made his fortune as a penny seed merchant, but was later appointed as the Mayor of St Albans in 1905, a role that he held until 1916. After visiting the doctors due to stress and ill health, the doctor ordered Ryder to partake in light exercises.
Ryder took action and took up golf, hiring Ryder Cup legend Henry Abraham “Abe” Mitch as his tutor. Ryder soon become infatuated by the beautiful game and in 1926 he watched a team made up of Britain’s finest golf professionals defeat a strong team of American golfers.
He was so amazed and enthused by the match that he suggested the two teams play against each other again. After a lengthy discussion with golf pros from both teams, he said that he would donate a gold cup if the competition went ahead.
However, this was on one condition – the figure atop of the Ryder Cup would have to resemble his golf tutor Abe Mitchell. His wish was their command and to this very day the Ryder Cup trophy is still a long-standing memorial to one of the game’s greatest ever players, Abe Mitchell.
The beginning of a special competition
The first ever Ryder Cup took place in Massachusetts at the famous Worcester Country Club. The British team was captained by Edward R.G “Ted” Ray, while the Americans were led by Walter Hagen. It was team USA who laid down the gauntlet with a comprehensive victory over the British (9.5 matches to 2.5 matches).
Even though the Americans won, Ryder still remained a committed supporter of the Cup. In 1936, Samuel Ryder sadly passed away. Little did he know that the tournament he co-founded would become one of the most celebrated sporting events in the world. America went through a 70 year period of dominance apart from a few exceptions. One of the most memorable Ryder Cups was played in 1969 at Royal Birkdale – the final result was a 16–16 tie.
A significant change and the introduction of team Europe
1979 saw a change that would change the infrastructure of the Ryder Cup forever! 1979 was the year that the British team was changed to European team. This was a huge change for the Ryder Cup as it allowed the British to bring in some of golf’s most talented up and coming players.
The change meant that golfers such as Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido could take part in the prestigious tournament. Although the Americans beat the newly formed team Europe in 1979, 1981 and 1983, the gap in playing standards was getting significantly smaller.
It was in 1985 when Europe would finally get their reward, winning at Belfry and then winning again at Muirfield Village two years later. Team Europe had become a force, this was the first ever back to back win for Europe and their first win on American turf.
That Europe had become more competitive made the Ryder Cup a much more interesting spectacle, and in 1989 matches were televised back to America for the first time ever. Since then it’s team Europe that has dominated the Ryder Cup, winning it seven times compared to America’s four.
Ryder Cup Facts
• With 11 appearances, Nick Faldo has appeared in the Ryder Cup more times than any other golfer. He also holds the record for the most career points, with a grand total of 25.
• The record for the youngest player to feature in the Ryder Cup is held by Sergio Garcia, who was just 19 years and 258 days old when he made his debut in 1999.
• The record for the oldest player to feature in the Ryder Cup is held by Ray Floyd, who made his debut in 1993 at the age of 51 years and 20 days.
• Tiger Woods has played in the Ryder Cup six times, but only on one occasion has he been part of a Ryder Cup winning team.
• In 1977, Englishman Peter Dawson became the first left handed golfer in the history of the Ryder Cup.
• In the entire history of the Ryder Cup, there have been just six holes in ones, just one of these was by an American.
• The official Ryder Cup trophy is 17 inches high, 9 inches wide and weighs 4 pounds.
This article was written by David at Venatour Ryder Cup Tickets