The 39th Ryder Cup is scheduled for September 28-30, 2012, at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. You may be wondering what the Ryder Cup is and why it is so important.
He are 10 things you should know, so you can enjoy the event:
Samuel Ryder: Born in 1858, Samuel Ryder took up golf after his 50th birthday to improve his health, and he thoroughly enjoyed the game. After watching an unofficial match between the Americans and British in 1926, he threw a party for the winners. According to rydercup.com, Mr. Ryder was a chief donor and organizer for the first official competition to be held the following year.
The Trophy: The small golfing figure, atop a gold cup, was donated by Samuel Ryder. According to europeantour.com, even today this trophy "epitomizes all that is good in sporting competition."
First Competition: The first Ryder Cup was held at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1927, between professional golfers from the United States and Great Britain. The Americans, captained by Walter Hagen, won by a score of 9.5 to 2.5 points.
Biennial: Since 1927, the Ryder Cup has alternated at golf courses on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, held every two years with two exceptions. During World War II, the contest was suspended from 1939-45, resuming once again in 1947 at Portland Golf Club, in Portland, Oregon. The competition was also postponed in September of 2001 because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rescheduled for 2002 at The Belfry, in Sutton Coldfield, England.
European Expansion: After the 1977 Ryder Cup competition, with the United States having won or tied each contest since 1959, Jack Nicklaus approached the PGA of Great Britain with an idea to improve the level of the competition. Beginning in 1979, players from continental Europe have joined with the British in what is now a contest between Team USA and Team Europe.
Format: From the beginning to 1959, the competition was comprised of four foursomes (alternat shot) matches one day, with eight singles matches the next day, each of 36 holes. The current format began in 1979, which includes four fourball and four foursomes matches on each of the first two days, followed by 12 singles matches on the third day. There are a total of 28 points available, one for each match, and a tie means the Cup is successfully defended.
European Dominance: Coming to Medinah, Team Europe has won the Ryder Cup in four of the last five contests, most recently by a score of 14.5 to 13.5 at Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales, in 2010.
Team USA: Captained by Davis Love III, the 12-member U.S. team includes seven major champions and four making their Ryder Cup debuts. Phil Mickelson is the most experienced, having appeared in every competition since 1995, followed by Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods. The first-timers include Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Brandt Snedeker.
Team Europe: Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal is the captain. Team Europe includes four major champions (Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie, and Martin Kaymer) and only one player (Nicolas Colsaerts from Belgium) making his Ryder Cup debut. The most experienced Europeans are Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.
Most Anticipated Matchup: During singles play, the match many people are looking forward to is between the two players currently ranked #1 and #2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is ranked #1; Tiger Woods is #2 for Team USA.
Harold Andrews has played golf for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest of all time.
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