On September 28, 2012, the Ryder Cup returns to the United States for the 39th contest between the best professional golfers in America and those from Europe. The Ryder Cup has a long and storied history.
Here are 10 things about the history of the Ryder Cup that fans should know:
1. The Cup Itself: The Ryder Cup was donated by British businessman Samuel Ryder. The cup is solid gold and reportedly cost £250 (in 1927). The figure atop the cup bears a resemblance to British golfer Abe Mitchell. Mitchell just happened to be Ryder's personal instructor.
2. A Balanced Beginning: In the pre-World War II era, the competition between the British and Irish golfers and the American golfers was somewhat balanced, with the Americans having a 4-2 record against the British. After splitting the first four matches, the Americans won two consecutive Ryder Cups for the first time prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Europe.
3. American Dominance: After World War II, the Americans established dominance over their counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland by winning 14 of the 16 matches between 1947 and 1977. The only victory for the men from the British Isles came in 1957 at Lindrick.
4: Balance Restored: In 1979, the competition was expanded to include golfers from continental Europe on the side of the British and Irish. This addition restored the competitive balance to the Ryder Cup. Since the addition of the continentals, the team from Europe holds a slight edge over the United States: 8 to 7 with one tie.
5. Sir Nick the Successful: Nick Faldo has the most Ryder Cup appearances (11), the most wins (23), and the most points won (25) in the history of the Ryder Cup.
6. The King: The most successful Ryder Cup competitor on the American side over the years was Arnold Palmer. The King amassed 22 victories and won 23 points for the American side in six Ryder Cup appearances.
7. The Tie: In 1969, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin were paired in the last match. After Jacklin rolled in an eagle putt from 50 feet on 17, which Nicklaus could not match, they went to the 18th all square. Nicklaus stood over what he termed a terrifying putt of 5 feet to halve the match. He made it, and the 1969 Ryder Cup competition ended in a tie.
8. A Tie to be Broken: Currently, there are four players--Lanny Wadkins, Raymond Floyd, Billy Casper, and Phil Mickelson--tied for most appearances on the American side. However, when Phil Mickelson strikes his first shot of the 2012 competition, he will become the first American with as many as nine Ryder Cup appearances.
9. The War by the Shore: Before hosting the 2012 PGA Championship, Kiawah Island's Ocean Course was the site of "The War on the Shore" in 1991. With Hale Irwin all but handing Europe the Ryder Cup, Bernhard Langer could not covert the 6-foot putt to claim the tie.
10. An Incredible Putt: If you were lucky enough to have witnessed the 1999 Ryder Cup matches, you will not forget the putt that Justin Leonard made on the 17th hole to win his match with José Maria Olazabal and claim the title for the American side.
Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.
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