The Ryder Cup is a golf competition between the US and Europe, expanded to include other European nations. Samuel Ryder founded the tournament, and the US won the first one in 1926. The format has changed over time, and the tournament is now held every two years. European teammates are chosen based on their performance on the European tour and world rankings, while America has a new team member selection standard. The European team has dominated in the 21st century, but the competition remains friendly.
The Ryder Cup is a trophy awarded to the winning team of a golf competition between the United States and Europe. Originally starting as a tournament between America and Great Britain, the competition has expanded to allow for other European nations to be represented, in hopes of leveling the playing field. Since the Ryder Cup’s inception in the 1920s, the rules and regulations surrounding the tournament have been in constant flux, yet the match remains one of the most highly regarded competitions in the golf world.
After World War I, the idea of a friendly golf competition between the US and the UK was suggested by several people, before being officially started by a British trader named Samuel Ryder. Ryder is something of a golf legend himself, having become an accomplished golfer after taking up the game at the age of 50. According to most historical accounts of the Ryder Cup, Samuel Ryder entered an early version of the competition and offered suggestions, later putting up the money to found the tournament.
Despite having been badly beaten in previous unofficial matches, the United States won the first Ryder Cup tournament in 1926. Rather than being a traditional golf competition, the tournament featured different types of playing styles and a tabulated points system. The games use a play-to-match format, where competitors are awarded points for beating their opponents, rather than based on how many strokes they take to finish a hole.
The two teams, each made up of 12 players, take part in three different types of competitions. In singles matches, contestants battle for match points. Fours use two teams of two players, with each team alternating shots on the same ball until the hole is over. The third type of contest, called fourballs, also uses two teams of two players, but each team uses its own ball, and points are awarded to the player with the lowest individual score.
The format of the games has changed repeatedly over the years; in 1961, 1963, 1977, 1979 and 2008, the basic requirements of Ryder Cup competition changed somewhat. The tournament, which was originally a two-day affair, is now spread over a three-day weekend and is undergoing further changes for the 2008 competition. Originally held annually, the Ryder Cup is now held every two years, since the games were postponed for a year following the terrorist attacks in America on September 11, 2001.
Being chosen to participate in a Ryder Cup team is a huge honor, coveted by the world’s most accomplished golfers. European teammates are chosen based on their performance on the European tour and their current world rankings. America recently implemented a new team member selection standard, calculating participation points earned through prize money won in specific tournaments. The top eight American players from the previous year’s US Open, Masters, Open Championship, and PGA Tournament are automatically assigned berths, with the team captain choosing the remaining four berths.
Tournaments in the 21st century have been dominated by the European team, which has won all three competitions since 2002. Yet the American team has dominated the game since its earliest days, losing just 10 times and drawing twice since 1926. With The new qualifying and game rules, the Americans hope to regain their streak, but the feeling behind the Ryder Cup remains mainly friendly. Citizens of all countries involved can always look forward to an exciting competition, regardless of the outcome.