Ryder Cup is a storm that happens once in every two years, where the European and US golf legends collide. They convert a solitary sport into a team game where European and American teams compete for the Ryder Cup. Each side has 12 players. Europe and US have both seen their winning streaks since the Ryder Cup started in 1927. The Ryder Cup, 2016 was played between the American side headed by Davis Love III and European counterparts lead by Darren Clarke. This 41st Ryder Cup was the first time US side has had such a thorough win in the last 35 years. They dedicated the sweeping victory to Arnold Palmer, golfing maestro, who sadly, passed away earlier in the week.
1. History of Ryder Cup
The idea of an intercontinental cup was first floated by Golf Illustrated in 1921. The PGA of America even gave it a try that year. But it did not become an official tournament until 1927. During this time, the contest was between Great Britain and US. In 1977, following repeated victories of the US-side, the tournament was changed to make it between the European continent and US. European side added talented rising stars from Spain and evened out the winning edge of US. Since then, both sides have been able to bag victories equally.
Ryder Cup has been quite a ride. From notable shows of sportsmanship to pitted rivalry between Ballesteros and Azinger, there have been moments where the public could not take their eyes off the tournament.
The 1991 Ryder Cup, christened ‘The War by the Shore’ generated huge public sentiment. The key players put up the most genius moves and the competition ended in a putt fraught with drama and anxiety. With time, it became difficult for the respective captains to manage the teams and keep up the energy to play. So in 1963, Arnold Palmer became the last playing captain from US side.
2. What is the course like?
The Ryder Cup, 2016 took place at the Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minnesota in Minneapolis. Although it is a relatively pristine place, the Hazeltine Club has made big name for itself. They started staging golf tournaments from 1966 onwards starting with US Women’s Open Championship. Hazeltine has hosted Women’s Open, US Open, PGA Championship, US Amateur and now the Ryder Cup. They boast of a 7628-yard track.
The Hazeltine Golf course has a lot of elevated ground and narrow fairways. The par 4 sixteenth hole is considered the signature hole. They have seen major overhauls in anticipation of key events like PGA Championship, 2009.
3. The teams of Ryder Cup 2016
Each team consists of 12 members. US and European teams have different selection criteria.
The US team is selected based on
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- 8 players who lead the Ryders cup points list. The points are gained in major championships of the current and the previous years including the PGA tour events.
- 4 players are Captain’s pick.
- The US team for Ryder Cup, 2016 was steered by Davis Love III. He has done the same service in the 2012 Ryder Cup as well. Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods flanked as Vice Captains. Love announced Rickie Fowler, JB Holmes, Matt Kuchar and Ryan Moore as his picks.
- The other players who scored high on the Ryder board and joined the team were Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker.
The European team is picked based on
- The four highest ranking players in Ryders Cup European Points list
- The Five highest ranking players on Ryder Cup Word Points list, and not covered in the first four.
- 3 captain’s pick.
- The Ryder Cup, 2016 European team was led by Darren Clarke. Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter and Sam Torrance supported him in Vice Captain roles. Rafa Cabrera Bello, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters were hand-picked by Clarke.
- The Top Ryders included Matt Fitzpatrick, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Andy Sullivan, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
4. The Format:
Over three days, each team indulges in 28 matches, each being a match play over 18 holes. If it’s a tie, the last winning team retains the trophy. There are three important components of the Ryder Cup format:
A foursome is played between teams of two. The members of a team take alternate shots on a hole with the same ball. The team that completes the hole in the fewest shots wins the hole. A chance to tee-off is also divided alternately between the team members. One tees off all the odd holes and other tees off on even.
This game involves four balls. Each golfer plays their own ball. The best score out of two members of a team is chosen to compare with the other team. The team which has the lowest scorer wins the hole.
This is a regular match play between two individual golfers.
Ryder Cup, 2016 had 8 foursome, 8 fourballs and 12 singles.
5. Match scoring
In the Ryder Cup, each match win earns you one point and one tie after 18 holes earns you half a point. They take a total of the points at the end to determine the winner.
6. Results of Ryder Cup 2016
US team won the Ryder Cup, 2016 by 17-11. Even with 3 Singles matches remaining on the last day, they had established a comfortable lead. Patrick Reed bested Europe’s finest, Rory McIlroy in the singles match. Americans played their game with everyone pitching in to stack the winning points. Their confidence was boosted the opening morning, where they scooped all the winning points. Four of the European players went without contributing even half a point.
Ryder Cup is a hard-to-predict golf tournament. In spite of the best analyses, it can surprise you in the end with quick turn-around. World rankings and the players’ winning spree can affect how the results are formed. Most of the time, it’s hard to see a lopsided result as we saw in 2016. The pepped up energy, the competitive spirit, the unpredictability of each players form, all make Ryder Cup an exhilarating experience.
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