On Sept. 30, at Hazeltine National in Chaska, golfers from the United States and from Europe will begin play in the 41st Ryder Cup. It’s one of the most prestigious events in the world of golf, but where did it all begin?
By 1920, the British Open had already been played 50 times. But no American golfer had ever hoisted the Claret Jug. That would change in 1921 with a team of 12 Americans who were chosen to play in the open championship. They left early in order to play a warm-up tournament at Gleneagles in Scotland.
An idea then started to circulate in Britain of a 12-per-side international match between the Americans and the Great Britain professionals to be played on Monday, June 6, the day before the tournament. The match was won by Great Britain. Despite losing the International Match, American Jock Hutchison became the first American to win the British Open the following week.
The Gleneagles match did not immediately lead to matches between professionals, although the Walker Cup, played by amateurs began in 1922.
The great Walter Hagan, in 1926, led a team of Americans to Britain again for the British Open, and once more, an international match was set up leading into to the open. This time, an English businessman and golf promoter named Samuel Ryder would present a trophy to the winners. Just like 1921, the British team trounced the Americans.
But a competition was born. They played again in 1927 but it was clear it would be unpractical to hold a contest every year. It was decided that a second contest would be played in 1929 and every two years thereafter.
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