Ryder Cup 101September 20, 2018

2018 Ryder Cup Frequently Asked Questions

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FRANCK FIFEThe Ryder Cup logo is seen on September 19, 2018, at the Golf National in Guyancourt, near Paris where the biennial men's golf competition, the Ryder Cup will take place in September with Thomas Bjørn set to lead Europe against Jim Furyk's United States. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

As the PGA Tour season reaches its end, there's still one more order of business before the 2018-'19 campaign gets underway: the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in France. This year's event has as much hype as ever following the American team's dominant victory in 2016 at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. Europe looks to seek revenge as the underdog this year on home soil, where it hasn't lost in more than two decades. Here are all the answers to some frequently asked questions about the 2018 Ryder Cup.

What is the Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup is a biennial competition between two 12-man teams, one made up of American players and the other made up of European players. Each team has a captain who gets four captain's picks and creates the pairings for the competition.

Has the Ryder Cup always been between Europe and America?

The first Ryder Cup, which was played in 1927, was between the United States and Great Britain. That's the way the matches were contested until 1973, when players from Ireland were added to the Great Britain team. In 1979, all players from continental Europe began to be included on the team. Since then, it has been America versus Europe.

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__Why is the Ryder Cup called the Ryder Cup?__

Along with American professional star Walter Hagen, much of the credit for launching the competition in the 1920s belongs to Samuel Ryder, an English seed merchant and avid golfer who convinced the top professionals on both sides of the Atlantic to start the event. Ryder presented the PGA of America with an actual trophy (17 inches high weighing four pounds) to hand to the winning side that he had commissioned for £250.

What is the format of the Ryder Cup?

Over three days the teams play in a variety of different match-play formats with each match being worth one point. There are 28 total points up for grabs, and the first team to reach 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup.

On the first day of the Ryder Cup, each team sends out four two-man pairings in the morning and afternoon to face off against each other. In the morning, the teams play foursomes, with teammates playing alternate shot until they hole out. One team member tees off on the odd-numbered holes and the other on even-numbered holes. In the afternoon, the teams play four-ball, with each player playing his own ball and the team counting the best score on each hole. The team that wins each match receives one point, and in the event a match is tied after 18 holes, each team receives a half a point. There are eight total points up for grabs on Day 1 (Friday), and the format repeats on Day 2 (Saturday).

On the final day, Day 3 (Sunday), all 12 players from each team play each other in singles matches.

Has this always been the Ryder Cup format?

The current format has been in place since 1979. Prior to that, it had changed often over the years. From 1927 to 1959, the Ryder Cup was two days, with four 36-hole foursomes matches on Day 1 and eight 36-hole singles matches on Day 2, leaving a total of 12 points up for grabs. In 1961, there were eight foursomes matches on Day 1 and 16 singles matches on Day 2 for 24 points. From 1963 to 1975, there were 32 points contested, with foursomes and four-ball matches on Day 1 and 2 and 16 singles matches on Day 3. The competition was reduced to 20 points in 1977, with five foursomes matches on Day 1, five four-ball matches on Day 2 and 10 singles matches on Day 3.

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When is the 2018 Ryder Cup and where is it being played?

The 2018 Ryder Cup will be played at the Albatros Course at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France, just southwest of Paris, on Sept. 28-30.

Thomas Samson

Which team won the 2016 Ryder Cup?

The American team won the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, beating Europe 17-11. It was the United States' first win in the event since 2008 at Valhalla.

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

How are the Ryder Cup teams selected?

This year, there are eight automatic qualifying spots on each team that were earned based on a player's performance. Each team uses a different points system for these spots. For the American team, players earn points from their performances in the 2017 major championships, WGC events and the Players Championship. They also earn points based on their performance in regular PGA Tour events and the majors during the current 2017-'18 season. This points system concludes following the the PGA Championship at Bellerive in August.

For the European team, players first must be a member of the European Tour to be eligible. Players earn points based on their performance in the Race to Dubai events as well as their World Ranking points.

Once each team fills out its eight automatic qualifying spots, each side gets to add four more players as captain's picks, all selected at the discretion of the team's captain.

Who are the 2018 Ryder Cup captains?

The 2018 American team captain is Jim Furyk. The European team captain is Thomas Bjorn. It's the first time as captain for both players. Between them, Furyk and Bjorn have 12 years of Ryder Cup experience, nine of those from Furyk.

Who are the players on the 2018 Ryder Cup teams?

The 2018 American team is as follows:

Automatic qualifiers, in order of qualifying: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson

Captain's picks: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau

The 2018 European Team is as follows:

Automatic qualifiers, in order of qualifying: Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen

Captain's picks: Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia

Who are the vice captains for each team in the 2018 Ryder Cup?

The American vice captains are Davis Love III, David Duval, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar. The European vice captains are Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood.

Which team has won the most Ryder Cups?

Of the 41 total matches in Ryder Cup history, the United States holds a 25-12-2 advantage. But since 1979, when players from continental Europe were included, Europe has had the edge, winning 11 out of 19 years, and eight of the last 11.

What is the largest margin of victory in Ryder Cup history?

The largest margin of victory came in 1967, when the U.S. defeated Great Britain by 15 points (23.5-8.5), but that was before all of Europe was included and it was still a 32-point competition. Since 1979, both teams can boast a share of the biggest margin victory of nine points, but Europe has done it twice and they did it in back-to-back events in 2004 and 2006.

What if the Ryder Cup ends in a 14-14 tie?

In the event of a tie, there is no playoff format at the Ryder Cup. The team that won the previous Ryder Cup "retains" the cup.

How many times have the teams tied in Ryder Cup history?

There have been just two ties in Ryder Cup history, one in 1969 when the U.S. and Great Britain tied 16-16 at Royal Birkdale, and the other in 1989 when the U.S. and Europe tied 14-14 at the Belfry.

What is the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history?

Both the American team and the European team has put together a remarkable comeback on the final day when trailing 10-6. America's came in 1999 at Brookline, when they won 8.5 points in the 12 singles matches to claim a 14.5-13.5 victory. Europe produced a similar comeback in 2012 at Medinah, but they had trailed 10-4 the prior day and won the final two matches on the course to gain momentum heading into Sunday. Both comebacks included memorable snapshots from a key player on each team. In 1999, it was Justin Leonard who holed a 45-foot putt that would eventually win the Americans the cup, and it led to a controversial celebration on the 17th green that's still talked about to this day. In 2012, England's Ian Poulter kickstarted Europe's comeback on Saturday, when he birdied the final five holes when partnering with Rory McIlroy in a match against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson to earn a point that made the Sunday comeback possible.

Andy Lyons

Who has appeared in the most Ryder Cups?

With the captain's selection to this year's team, Phil Mickelson will be playing in his 12th Ryder Cup, the most of any player in the event's history. England's Nick Faldo has the second-most appearances with 11.

Who has won the most points in the Ryder Cup? Who has won the most points in singles matches?

Nick Faldo was won the most points in Ryder Cup history with 25. In singles matches, five players are tied for the most points with seven. They are: Colin Montgomerie, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Neil Coles.

What pairing has won the most points in the Ryder Cup?

The Spanish duo of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal have won the most points as a pairing with 12.

PA Images

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Are there other events in golf similar to the Ryder Cup?

There are many other golf events similar to the Ryder Cup, most notably the Presidents Cup, which occurs every other year during non-Ryder Cup years and is between the United States and a team made up of players from the rest of the world outside of Europe. There's also the Solheim Cup, which is the women's professional equivalent of the Ryder Cup; the Walker Cup, which is between amateurs from the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland; and the Curtis Cup, which is the women's equivalent to the Walker Cup. There are also junior versions of both the Ryder, Presidents and Solheim Cups.

What are the future host sites of the Ryder Cup?

The future host sites of the Ryder Cup in both the United States and Europe have been announced through 2024. In addition, the 2028, 2032 and 2036 U.S. host sites have also been announced. They are as follows:

2020: Whistling Straits (Haven, Wis.)

2022: Marco Simone Golf & Country Club (Guidonia Montecelio, Rome, Italy)

2024: Bethpage State Park, Black Course (Farmingdale, N.Y.)

2028: Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minn.)

2032: The Olympic Club, Lake Course (San Francisco)

2036: Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Md.)

Who broadcasts the Ryder Cup?

NBC broadcasts the Ryder Cup on Saturday and Sunday, while Friday coverage will be on the Golf Channel.


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