Originally designed as a friendly competition between the United States and only the nations of Great Britain and Ireland ahead of The Open Championship in 1921, the Ryder Cup opened to all players from Europe in 1979. That was at the suggestion of Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, who themselves had one of the most famous moments in the history of the event.
Their decision was a fortuitous one, and helped turn the Ryder Cup one of the best events in all of sports. And since it’s contested only once every two years, it becomes one of the most pressure-packed events you’ll ever see in any form of professional competition.
The Last Winner
The 2018 Ryder Cup was held at Le Golf National outside of Paris, with the Europeans dominated winning by a score of 17.5-10.5, the biggest margin of victory for either side since 2006. Scores in this event are rarely this lopsided, and it shows the depth of the European team despite the Americans generally rating higher in the world rankings.
Francesco Molinari finished with five points from five matches, Tommy Fleetwood with four from five, and Sergio Garcia three from four. For the Americans, Justin Thomas was the lone bright spot with four points from five tee times. Tiger Woods went 0-4.
A Brief History
There have been 42 Ryder Cups since 1921, with some interrupted or due to World War II, September 11th, or Covid-19. The Americans are 26-14-2 all-time, but since all of Europe was added in ‘79, The Continent is 11-8-1.
The story of the Ryder Cup is a long and interesting one, but The Battle at The Belfry in 1989 and The War on The Shore in 1991 started to turn the matches into what they are today. They are filled with patriotism, raucous flag-waving crowds, and perhaps the most pressure for the players of any place in golf. It’s the only time this individual sport becomes a team one, and certain players become as well known for what they do on the Ryder Cup (Seve Ballesteros, Lanny Wadkins, Sergio Garcia) as anything else done as individuals.
The format for the event since 1979 has 28 points on offer between both teams, but the team that currently holds the Cup gets to keep it if the event finishes 14-14. That happened last in 1989, as Europe retained at The Belfry because they were winners in 1987 at Muirfield Village.
Also, this might be the best chance for the Americans to win anytime soon, as the USA hasn’t won the Cup on European soil since 1993. The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside of Rome will host the event in 2023.