It’s September 20, 1969, and the match is all tied-up—wait a second, what is Nicklaus doing? Tying his shoe? No, it appears that Nicklaus has just picked up Jacklin’s marker, conceding the putt that would have finalized the tie, allowing the American team to keep the Ryder cup!
The crowd of several thousand was silent when Jack Nicklaus, an American, chose to concede and secure the tie instead of letting Tony Jacklin, a Brit, take the putt on the off-chance he would miss it. America, already in possession of the cup, was allowed to keep it.
Over the years, the Ryder Cup has become a source of controversy, enthusiasm, and worldwide attention. Jointly administered by the PGA of America and the PGA European Tour, it’s a biennial competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The 2014 Ryder Cup starts on September 26 and goes until the 28th. We invite you to come along for the ride.
The first official Ryder Cup was in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts and has been played every other year since with the exception of two interruptions. The tourney was suspended in 1939 through 1945 due to World War II and in 2011 due to the September 11th attacks.
The format of the competition has changed throughout its history. In the beginning, the Ryder Cup was held over two days, each day consisting of 36 holes. A few more changes were made in 1961, 1963, and 1977. The last format changes were made in 1979 when the Great Britain and Ireland team expanded to include players from the rest of Europe. Today, it is a three-day competition that includes foursomes, four ball, and single match play.
The Ryder Cup Results 1927-2012 (Click to Enlarge)
Since there was no cup in 1939 through 1945, the U.S. held on to the trophy from its 1937 triumph. Once play resumed, the United States won ten of the next eleven matches held from 1947 to 1967. The 1967 victory was one of the most lopsided in history; the U.S won 23 ½ to 8 ½ at Champions Golf Course in Houston, Texas— the same city as LostGolfBalls!
The venues always alternates between courses in Europe and the United States. The Ryder Cup has been played in 17 different states since 1927. Massachusetts, Ohio, and California have each held the cup more than once. This year, the event will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. Gleneagles last held the Ryder Cup in 1921, when the European team won. In 2016, the Ryder Cup will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota from September 30 to October 2nd.
The father of the Ryder Cup is Samuel Ryder, an English businessman who donated the trophy. Unlike many professional sports competitions, the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup do not award prize money. The winner instead “only” receives a four-pound gold trophy with a figure of a golfer on top. (We are told that bragging rights are also included).
The European team currently has the cup in its cupboard with a 2012 victory at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Going into the final day of the competition down by four points, the Europeans made an improbable comeback to win 14 ½ to 13 ½. This year, the captain of the American team is Tom Watson, and the captain of the European team is Paul McGinley. We’re anticipating an exciting tournament this time around, too.
Whether you’re rooting for Europe or the U.S., LostGolfBalls has a ball for you. When the matches are all tied-up and your shot will either make it or break it, you can count on a lost golf ball.