Ryder and Solheim Cup - What's the format and have you tried it?
With September now upon us and the memories of the last Major fading, at Green Swing we look brightly to this year's long awaited Ryder Cup! Whether a seasoned golfer or new to the game we pieced together a blog post to help dissect what the competition is about, who competes and the format of it all… the countdown is on!
What is the Ryder Cup?
The Ryder Cup is a competition between men from Europe and the United States of America, held every two years. Played in a fair manner, the teams alternate between their home country and their rival countries, gaming in different golfing spots. Beginning in 1927 at Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts, the game started as a competition between Britain and the US only. Europe was later prompted to take part in the Ryder Cup from 1979 after a new generation of golfing success by Spanish players Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido. In addition, the European team includes players from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Within 42 years, Europe has won the Ryder Cup 11 times and one year retained the cup in a tied match. On the other hand, America has had 8 wins over this period. Despite the sport bringing in capital from television and sponsorship revenue, the Ryder Cup is different to most professional sports as the players don’t receive any prize money.
The last Ryder Cup was won by Europe in 2018 at the Albatros golf course in the South West of Paris. The next Ryder cup will be held a year later than usual in response to the covid-19 virus, on the 24th-26th of September 2021.
The format of the Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup begins with two sets of twelve players, in which players selected from each team compete against each other in various match play competitions. The match begins on a Friday and ends on a Sunday, totalling the competition with 18 matches being played altogether. The game is held with different types of matches to show the diversity in the skill sets of the players. During the Friday and Saturday of the game, four fourball matches and four foursomes matches are played. Four matches are played in the morning and four matches are played during the evening. Not all players from the team of 12 are required to play on Friday and Saturday and the captain can select any eight players for each of the games over these two days. During the last day on Sunday, 12 single matches are played where all team members are required to play. The point system works in a way that lets the player win a point for every match they win and the half points are awarded to the players for any match that is tied after the 18 holes. The winning team is decided by the accumulated points each team achieves. If the match results in a tie, the Ryder Cup is retained by the team that won the cup in the previous biennial.
The foursomes match- Two teams containing two golfers compete against each other in a foursomes match. The players within the same team will play using the same ball, taking alternating shots to be placed in one hole. One team member will start off by using a tee playing all the odd-numbered holes, while the other team member will tee off on the even-numbered holes. Each hole is won by the team who completes the hole playing with the fewest number of shots.
Fourball match- A fourball match is similar to foursomes match in some instances. The fourball match is a competition between two teams of two golfers as well, however, each player plays with their own ball instead of alternating shots between players in the same team. Once the game has been played, the best score from the players on the same team is taken to determine the whole team's score on a particular hole and the higher score from the other team player is not counted. The lowest score is the better score, so each hole is won by the team whose individual golfer had the lowest score.
Singles match- A singles match is a standard match play between golfing competitors.
The format of the Ryder Cup has been known to extend over more days and vary in the frequency of matches over the years. For example, the weather disruption in 2010 meant that the contest was forced to extend to an additional day.
The next Ryder Cup will take place from Friday the 24th to Sunday the 26th of September, 2021. It’s been a long time coming, so get yourself ready and let the games begin!
Who are we backing? Team Europe or Team USA? Following the event, be sure to round up two teams of your own and take on the format, it could be the start of a long tradition for you and your friends!