This weekend sees the 39th Ryder Cup competition take place at Medinah Country Club, Illinois. The event is held over 3 days and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting sports events in the calander. Laughing Larry, a keen golfer himself, did a lit bit of research to find out more about the history of the competition and it’s format.
Since the inaugural competition in 1927, the United States have won 25 times, lost 11 times and tied twice. The event is held every two years and the golf club venue alternates between Europe and the Unted States. The 2010 event was held at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales.
Up until 1979, the event was contested between the United States and a British and Irish Team. Due to the American’s dominance of the competition post World war II and the emergence of talented new European golfers such as Seve Ballasteros and Bernhard Langher, the British and Irish team became Team Europe.
Since 1979, the Ryder Cup has been much more evenly contested and now brings in millions of dollars in TV and sponshorship revenue due to the high-profile nature of the event.
The Ryder Cup is comprised of a series of match-play competitions between Team USA and Team Europe, with the winner of each competition earning a point for its team with the match win. There are eight foursome matches, eight fourball matches, and 12 singles matches, all of which are played on the entirety of an 18-hole golf course. The team with the most points, out of 28 possible, wins the Ryder Cup. In the event of a 14-point tie at the end of the event, the Ryder Cup remains with the reigning champion, which in the case of the 2012 Ryder Cup would be Team Europe since it won the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Foursome Match Scoring
In this match-play competition, two golfers on the same team – representing either Team USA or Team Europe – alternate shots with the same ball throughout the match.
Each hole is won by the two-man team completing the hole in the fewest shots. Each hole won earns the team a single point while a tie results in the point being “halved,” meaning each team is awarded a 1/2 point.
The winning team of each of the eight foursome matches earns a point toward the overall Ryder Cup point tally, meaning that eight points toward the Ryder Cup are determined in foursome match play.
Fourball Match Scoring
Fourball match-play competitions also feature two competing two-man teams. In this format, however, each golfer plays his own ball throughout the round instead of alternating shots on the same ball as occurs in foursome match play.
Each hole in this match-play competition is won by the team whose individual player has the lowest score. Points per hole and points per match are distributed in the same manner as in the foursome matches.
Singles Match Scoring
The Ryder Cup singles matches are standard match-play tournaments that pit Team USA players against Team Europe players in head-to-head competition.
The competitor with the fewest strokes per hole is named the winner of that hole and awarded a point. In the event that the two competitors finish the hole with the same number of strokes, the point is split between the two golfers.
The player with the most points at the end of the 18-hole course is awarded with a point that counts toward his team’s overall Ryder Cup point tally. Points toward the overall Ryder Cup point tally can also be halved in the event of a tie at the end of a singles match.