Ryder Cup

Ryder cup breakfastballs.golf


We are so excited for the 2021 (actually 2020) Ryder Cup! After waiting another year, the Ryder Cup is finally here! It’s even more exciting for us because it is at Whistling Straights in Kohler, WI. We have the distinct privilege to have Whistling Straights just minutes away from our Global Headquarters!  


Everything you need to know in regards to the Ryder Cup you will find here.  The history, the team composition, and the event format.  Enjoy! 


Ryder cup breakfastballs.golf




The hype around this years Ryder Cup is explosive, which is par for course, for EVERY Ryder Cup.  We are going to bring you everything you need to know about this great competition.  

History of the Ryder Cup – Founding of the Cup

Has anyone ever heard of Golf Illustrated?  Yes Golf Illustrated?  Well, if you answered “NO” you would not be alone.  Golf Illustrated was one of the original golfing magazines to hit the shelves.  Although it is no longer in publication Golf Illustrated was very influential to the golfing world.  

In 1920 James D. Harnett, who was a writer at the magazine, had the idea of a competition between America and British featuring 12 man teams.  He sent a letter to the PGA of America and they liked the idea.  His thought, was to have this tournament a few weeks prior to the British Open, as a warm up tournament to the British Open.  On May 24th, 1921 a team of 11 (James Douglas Edgar was the 12th who was already in the UK) sailed on the ocean liner RMS Aquitania en route to the United Kingdom.

The first Ryder Cup match was played at Gleneages on June 6th.  The inaugural match consisted of 5 foursomes in the morning and 10 singles in the afternoon.  The match was won by Great Britain by 9 matches to 3, 3 matches being halved.

Original team members:

American Team – Emmet French (captain), Clarence Hackney, Walter Hagen, Charles Hoffner, Jock Hutchison, Tom Kerrigan, George McLean, Fred McLeod, Bill Mehlhorn and Wilfrid Reid

British Team –  George Duncan (captain), James Braid, Arthur Havers, Abe Mitchell, James Ockenden, Ted Ray, James Sherlock, J.H. Taylor, Josh Taylor, and Harry Vardon


Team Composition – How they are picked


United States Team

The United States Ryder Cup team is picked primarily from the Ryder Cup points list is a fancy way of saying – the leaders on the money list for key tournaments of the current season.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • Previous years’ major championships
  • World Golf Championship events and The Players Championship of the previous year
  • Current year major championships
  • PGA Tour events from the current year

Captain’s Pick’s – The United States captain will pick 4 additional players to join the team, which is announced after Tour Championship of the current year.

European Team

The European team is selected a bit different than the United States Team.  Here is a breakdown of team selection for Europe:

  • The Leading four players on the Race to Dubai Points List
  • The leading five players, not qualified above, on the World Points List
  • Three captain’s picks


Event Format – How it works and How to win


When is the Ryder Cup and how long does it last?

The Ryder Cup is played in even-numbered years and in the odd years “President’s Cup” is played.  It is played at the end September and starts on Friday and ends on Sunday.   

Ryder cup is a “Match Play” event

  • What is Match Play? – Match Play is a scoring system in golf where a player or team earns points for each hole rather than strokes.  Each hole can be won, halved (tied), or lost.  The most  that can be gained or lost is one point.  Each team plays as normal, counting their strokes.  The team with the lowest score on a given hole receives one point, if the score is tied then each golfer receives half a point.  This continues for 18 holes and once a team is winning by more points then the remaining holes, the match is over. 

When a team is leading by the same number of points as holes remaining it is called “dormie” which means the only need to win or half one more hole and the worse they could do would tie.  For example – if a team is up by 3 points with 3 holes remaining the team is “dormie.”


Ryder Cup Picture of USA vs European

What is the Ryder Cup format?

The Ryder Cup consists of consists of 3 different events – Four-Ball, Foursomes, and Singles.  The first two days include one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of  foursomes.  The final day is for 12 single matches. 


  • Four-BallEach member of a two-man team plays his own ball on every hole.  The man who has the lower score on the team records their score for that hole.  The team who has the lowest score on each hole wins the hole and one point.  If the low score is tied then the hole is “halved”.
  • FoursomesThe two-man team plays one ball per hole with the players taking turns until each hole is complete.  This is referred to as “alternating shot” (I personally think is the hardest format in any golf event).  One player leads off the odd number of holes and the other player leads off the even number of holes.  The team with the lowest score on each hole wins the hole and one point. If the low score is tied then the hole is “halved”.
  • Singles – Singles match features one player from each team and the lowest score wins the hole. If the low score is tied then the hole is “halved”.  

How does a team win?

Each match is worth one point, with the matches ending in a draw are worth 1/2 point for each team.  The first team to reach 14 1/2 points is crowned the RYDER CUP CHAMPION!  Interesting enough if the matches end in a 14-14 draw, the team who is the current Ryder Cup champion retains the cup.  Technically the match is considered a draw and no one is termed the “winner” which makes sense as to why the Ryder Cup stays with the previous team.

This has happened twice over the Ryder Cup history:

  1. 1969 – United States retained the cup
  2. 1989 – Europe retain the cup


If you have ever wondered why you see many players not finishing their putts on some of the holes it’s because the other team “concerned” the hole or the stroke.  Basically the other team has a “gimme” and is pretty much guaranteed to make the next shot, which is almost always a putt.  The opponent picks up his ball, takes the score he would have made on the next stroke and moves to the next hole.


image of the Ryder Cup Trophy on grass



If you are anything like us at here at BreakfastBalls.Golf you LOVE the Ryder Cup and everything it represents.  Team work, unity, competition, and FUN.  We count down the days leading up to this event and we watch EVERY stroke until the new Ryder Cup Champion is crowned! 


Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis Ryder Cup Stars and Stripes

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