1. THE TROPHY
The Ryder Cup competition is named after English businessman Samuel Ryder who famously donated the gold trophy for the competition in 1927. A lesser-known fact about the trophy, however, is that it is not Ryder who is depicted on top of the trophy, but instead his golf instructor Abe Mitchell.
2. A DECADE WITHOUT MATCHES
If you’ve ever scanned the list of past Ryder Cup results, you’ve probably noticed that there are no matches listed between the years of 1937 and 1947. That’s not a mistake. The matches were put on hold for 10 years due to WWII.
3. NOT ALWAYS ALL OF EUROPE
These days the “friendly” Ryder Cup matches pit the United States against all of Europe, but that was not always the case. From 1927 to 1979 only players from Great Britain were able to make the international Ryder Cup team. It was decided to open the team to all of Europe in 1979 as an effort to make the matches more competitive as the United States won all but one playing of the matches in the 50-year period of 1935-85.
4. CAPTAIN’S PICKS ADDED
Not only was the competition opened to all of Europe in 1979, but the captain’s pick was also added and has been used ever since.
5. THE SEALED ENVELOPE
So what happens if a player gets hurt during the competition and isn’t able to compete in the Sunday singles matches? Before play begins, each captain puts one name into a sealed envelope and in the instance that there is an injury on the opposing team, the player inside that envelope sits out. The envelope has been used three times, with the first instance coming in none other than … you guessed it, 1979. (’79, ’91, ’93)
6. PLAYING CAPTAINS
Once upon a time the captains did a lot more than just pick the pairings and watch the golf – they actually played! This hasn’t happened in quite a while, however, as the last playing captain for the Europeans was Dai Rees in 1961, and the last for the Americans was Arnold Palmer in 1963.
The Ryder Cup has ended in a draw two times, both in 1969 and then 20 years later in 1989. In the case of a tie, the team that previously won retains the cup.
8. BROTHERLY LOVE
Three sets of brothers have teed it up for the European squad: Charles, Ernest and Reg Whitcombe, 1935; Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt, 1963; Eduardo and Francesco Molinari, 2010. The Ryder Cup is a family affair.
9. MR. RYDER CUP
Sir Nick Faldo holds the record for the most Ryder Cup points with an astonishing 25. Faldo competed in 11 Ryder Cups with a record of 23-19-4. Faldo also captained the 2008 European team, but came out on the losing end of those matches.