A Look Back The History of The Ryder Cup

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 10, 2001, 4:00 pm
The first official Ryder Cup took place in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1927, though the idea for a series of matches pitting America against Great Britain has been floating around since 1920. That was the date the PGA of America first officially documented the foundation of the 'Ryder Cup,' as we know it. That group agreed to fund part of the expenses of a transatlantic crossing for the team.
The name 'Ryder' honors Samuel Ryder, a seed merchant from Manchester, England, who agreed to purchase the trophy in '27, along with Golf Illustrated and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
James Hartnett, a circulation manager of Golf Illustrated, first broached the idea in 1920, and in 1921 he selected a team of Americans to play the matches against Great Britain at Gleneagles in Scotland. The American golfers had to make the transatlantic trek anyway to play in the Match Play championships, but got whacked solidly in this first-ever team event, 9-3.
In 1926, another unofficial match was arranged prior to the British Open qualifying. Once again, the hosts walloped the Americans, 11 -1 , this time at Wentworth. A seed was born to turn it into a biennial event, and the Ryder Cup matches were born.
The Americans won easily, 9 - 2 , in those first matches in 1927. Jackets and ties, hats with brims, were the order of the day for all competitors. Britain was without its key player, Abe Mitchell, who had his appendix removed, and the team was playing on weary legs after the oceanic journey. The Brits heartily endorsed a return match, which took place in 1929 at Yorkshire, England.
Walter Hagen was the American captain for the second time, and his team was brimming with confidence, especially after leading, 2 -1 , after the first day. But Great Britain won five of the eight singles matches and halved another to win, 7-5. The competition was truly born.
Both teams had won twice, each at home, after the 1933 matches in England. And in 1937 a visiting team finally won. The United States came away with an 8-4 triumph at Southport, England, and a trend was set. America would lose only once in the years preceding 1985. And - there would be no more Ryder Cup for 10 years. World War II got in the way, the conflict taking out the competition until 1947.
Gone by the time the Ryder Cup resumed was Hagen, who captained the American team throughout the pre-World War II years, and Gene Sarazen, the dominant player. Only Sam Snead and Byron Nelson played for the Americans both in the 1937 finale and in 1947 when the matches were resumed. And the U.S. had a couple of impressive newcomers, Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret. Together, they kept America in the forefront in the post-war era.
Britain's lone win was in 1957 at Lindrick in England. Coming from behind to win six of the eight singles matches and half another, the British would interrupt a series of seven unsuccessful attempts to win the Cup. The chastened Yanks won back the trophy in 1959, 8 -3 , even though such stalwarts as Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Ken Venturi and Gene Littler did not yet satisfy rules for inclusion which the PGA of America had in place at the time.
The format was changed in 1961 to include eight foursomes matches and sixteen singles, but the result remained the same - an American victory. And in 1963, the last playing captain roamed the course - Palmer. A third day was added, but it served only to heighten the American advantage.
The one-sided nature of the matches continued to 1979, when the Great Britain-Ireland team was opened up to include the whole continent of Europe. Parity was just around the corner, with Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido joining the team from Spain. The next time around Bernhard Langer and Manuel Pinero were included. That bunch joined Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam to make a hardened European team, and in 1983 they very nearly was victorious. The Americans won by the narrowest of margins in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 14 -13 . The difference was a brilliant pitch by Lanny Wadkins, which died just 18 inches from the cup in his singles match against Jose Maria Canizares.
'It was the most pressure that I have ever felt in making one shot,' Wadkins would later say.
In 1985, playing for the first time at The Belfry near Birmingham, England, Europe finally broke the long losing skein. Winning for the first time in 28 years, Europe featured five players born in the same year - 1957. The home side won in the seventh singles match, Sam Torrance defeating Andy North, and the Americans were sent home, beaten 16 -11 .
In got worse in 1987, when a youngster named Jose Maria Olazabal joined the Europeans and they won for the first time ever on American soil. Playing at Muirfield Village outside Columbus, Ohio, the home of U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus, the visitors stunned the Yanks with a 15-13 win.
Now the Ryder Cup field was truly level. Since 1985, Europe has won four times and America four times, the finale coming in 1999 with Justin Leonard sinking a monster putt on the 17th green against Olazabal to complete an unbelievable U.S. comeback.
Now the series is set to tee off in a new millennium with the 2001 matches. The Americans, with Curtis Strange at the helm, will battle once again at the Belfry against Europe, with Sam Torrance as captain.
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
Getty Images

DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

Getty Images

Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

Getty Images

Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

“When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

And that was an offseason event.

“They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

“Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

Getty Images

CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)