The Ryder Cup is one of the most watched and exciting sporting events of the season. The United States was hoping to retain the cup won in 2008. Although the U.S. did not prevail, this year’s event was filled with many thrills and much excitement.
Ryder Cup History
In 1927 Samuel Ryder, a successful English entrepreneur and golf enthusiast, came up with the idea of a friendly golf match played for prestige. The competition was to be between the United State and Great Britain. Mr. Ryder, a low handicap golfer himself, sponsored the competition and donated the gold trophy. In 1979 Europe was invited to join the competition and the Ryder Cup as we know it today was established. It is played every two years with the location alternating between a golf course in the U.S. and one in the British Isles. This year’s Ryder Cup was played in Newport, Wales.
The competition takes place over three days. On the first two days the matches are either four ball or foursomes. In a four ball match two teams of two golfers compete, each player playing his own ball. The team of the player with the best score wins the hole. In a foursome match two players on each team play alternating shots. The third day consists of all singles matches.
A total of 28 points is available. After 18 holes the winning players score a point for their team. In the case of a tie each team scores a ½ point. To retain the cup the defending team needs only 14 points to retain the cup. The opposing team needs to win 14 ½ or more points. This year the United States was the defending team.
Some Highlights of the 2010 Ryder Cup
Day 1 was a long one. There was a seven hour weather delay and the matches were not completed by night fall. On day 2 the weather was cold enough to see the players’ breath. The matches from day 1 had to be completed as well as the day 2 matches. It was the first time in Ryder Cup history that all players were on the course at the same time. Once again, not all of the matches of day 2 were completed.
After the matches of day 1 had been completed, the United States was in the lead 6 points to 4. By the suspension of play on day 2, however, Europe had the lead in all six remaining matches. Rain plagued day 3 of the competition causing a five hour delay and pushing the final day to Monday, another first in Ryder Cup history. The U. S. team was also plagued by poor shots and missed putts. Rookie Jeff Overton provided the only bright spot when he made an eagle and shouted, “Boom, baby!” while high-fiving his playing partner Bubba Watson, another rookie. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to inspire the team and the U.S. lost 5 of the 6 matches. They lead in one match but ended up with a tie when European player Francesco Molinari sunk a 3 foot birdie putt.
Final day matches were very exciting. Although the U.S. was down by 3 points, the players gave their all and made a valiant come back effort. It was not to be, however, and came down to the last match between Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell. McDowell won the match on the 17th hole. Europe won with a total of 14 1/2 points to 13 1/2 U.S. points. Some players who had played poorly during the partner events redeemed themselves in their singles match. Both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won their matches following poor performances the previous day. Rickie Fowler, a captain’s pick that was questioned by many, made four birdies in a row to overcome a deficit and tied his match. Despite losing, the players all agreed that it was an honor to play together for the United States.
Sources: 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Ryder
3. “Uncle, Sam” by Dottie Pepper in Sports Illustrated , Oct.4, 2010
4. Democrat and Chronicle newspaper articles by Doug Ferguson, Sunday Oct. 3 and Monday Oct. 4, 2010.