The History Of The Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup 2018 is the 42nd episode of the titanic battle between golf’s fiercest rivals. The biennial encounter between Europe’s finest golfers and the very best from the USA is now into its eighth decade and is still the greatest event in golf.
The history of the Ryder Cup is filled with epic match play, astonishing climaxes and has made legends out of the great golfers who have written each chapter. In the modern era of sporting riches and technical game play, the competition remains a pure dramatic theatre of individual and team competition.
The Ryder Cup - How It All Began
The Ryder Cup was born in 1927, but competitions between American and British golfers had been taking place for a few years before that. The Walker Cup, played between amateurs from GB and the USA, predates it by five years and various other international match-ups had been held during the 1920s.
In 1921, the first unofficial contest between professionals from the United States and Great Britain took place at Gleneagles. Considered a warm up match ahead of the British Open, the competition pitted two teams from either side of the Atlantic against each other and was followed by a second contest at Wentworth in 1926.
Who Was Samuel Ryder?
Samuel Ryder had made his fortune selling penny packets of seeds to gardeners and was an avid golf fan. The Englishman began sponsoring events to support the game and to promote his company.
Keen to develop a regular Britain versus America golf contest, Ryder donated a gold trophy for the first official match which took place in 1927. The format of match play golf combining foursomes and singles contests has been tweaked over the years but remains largely true to its foundation. The competition being held in alternate years is still followed today.
The first Ryder Cup took place at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts. The gold trophy accompanied the British players aboard the transatlantic liner Aquitania, though Ryder could not travel due to ill health. The travel costs were met in part by donations from readers of Golf Illustrated magazine. The US team triumphed 9.5 to 2.5 points.
Ryder’s youngest daughter Joan inherited her father’s love of golf and was his constant companion at the competitions he attended. Ryder died in 1936 but Joan continued attending the tournament named after her father until her own death in 1985. She once remarked to the Duke of Kent that her father had been amazed at how popular the competition had become.
Europe Takes on the USA in the Ryder Cup
The contest between the US and Great Britain continued throughout the mid-20th century but was suspended during the Second World War. The Ryder Cup resumed in 1947 with the seventh meeting between the two teams. America dominated the Ryder Cup in the post-war years, winning 16 of the next 17 contests.
One of the most famous events took place in 1969. The entire match had come down to the final shot of the tournament. If Brit Tony Jacklin holed his four-foot putt, the contest would be tied. If not, America would win. Up against that insane pressure, Jack Nicklaus walked to the green and picked up his opponent’s ball marker to concede the tie. It was a hugely controversial gesture but is considered one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship ever witnessed.
There were various format and rule alterations during the first 70 years of the Ryder Cup, but the most significant change was to come in 1979. With the US dominating the competition, players from Europe were invited to join their British and Irish counterparts.
The upgrade elevated the Ryder Cup into one of the world’s most compelling sporting contests. Antonio Garrido and Seve Ballesteros became the first continental golfers to play in the competition. The latter would go on to become a legendary figure in Ryder Cup history and is credited with transforming the competition in the modern era. Our golf expert tips for Top Continental this year is Francesco Molinari, boosted from 3/1 to 10/3.
One of the Great Sporting Spectacles
The introduction of continental players added a sharpened competitive edge. In the years since 1979, the Ryder Cup record stands at seven victories for the United States, ten for Europe with one tied. Since the turn of the millennium, the US have won it just twice, but this year the team from the States begin the tournament boasting an American win in each of the last five golf majors.
The event was suspended after the 9/11 attacks but returned in 2002. Ryder Cup golf has truly become one of the greatest shows on earth. It ranks as the third most watched sporting contest in the world, and for those who enjoy golf betting, it provides opportunities for some great potential returns.
Elevating golf with patriotism, emotion, showmanship and camaraderie, the Ryder Cup is man against man and team against team. It retains a purity rarely seen elsewhere in sport, with those participating driven by the pursuit of not money, but glory – and of course Ryder Cup winners get their hands on the 17-inch golden trophy bequeathed by a man who simply loved golf.
Get the latest Ryder Cup betting odds for the 2018 tournament at Bet UK. Our online betting will have updated golf betting odds throughout the tournament, as well as our Bet UK Boosts. We have boosted a number of different markets for the Ryder Cup, including some of our Golf Experts Ryder Cup Tips. Head back to our Ryder Cup News page at Bet UK for the latest news in the build up to the Ryder Cup.
*All odds from Bet UK’s online sportsbook correct at the time of writing.