While the Ryder Cup had humble beginnings in the years leading up to it, the first “official” Ryder Cup took place on June 3rd and 4th, 1927 at Worcester Country Club. Britain had easily won other international matches against the Americans. This time, the team had to travel by ship, for 6 days, in order to take on the Americans in Massachusetts. The Cup’s namesake, Samuel Ryder, was unable to make the trip due to poor health.
Led by team captain Walter Hagan, this American team dominated the Brits 9½ to 2½ points.
Unlike today’s matches, and through 1959, the Ryder Cup consisted of 4- Foursome matches on one day, and 8 singles matches on the second day, for a total of 12 points. Therefore, 6½ points was all a team needed to win the cup. It went up to 24 points in 1961, then 32 points for several years. Today, the matches consist of 28 possible points.
Maybe the most significant change in the Ryder Cup has been the inclusion of continental European golfers in 1979. Prior to that, only golfers representing the United States, Great Britain and Ireland could play. In 1979, any players from Continental Europe have been eligible to join what is now known as Team Europe. Since the Americans had been continually winning handily, a suggestion from Jack Nicklaus was adopted and talented young Europeans such as Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer bolstered the Euro team. The enormous popularity of the Ryder Cup, which generates enormous media attention, can be said to date from this change in eligibility.
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