The Ryder Cup, the biennial team event pitting the United States against a European coalition, has a roller coaster history of results. The Americans dominated the competition for half a century, losing just three matches from 1927 to 1983. The last two decades, however, have been a different tale. The Europeans have won eight of the last 11 matches, with many of those victories coming in blowout fashion. The United States was so embarrassed by the outcome in 2014 that a "task force" was constructed to combat these woes, in hopes of bringing back the cup in 2016. The Americans came through, winning for the first time since 2008 by a 17-11 score.
This year's event is held at Le Golf National outside of Paris. It is just the second time the Ryder Cup has been played in continental Europe, the other coming in 1997 at Valderrama in Spain. The Ryder Cup is a three day event consisting of 28 matches. Each match is worth a point; to retain the cup, the Americans need 14 points, with the Europeans requiring 14.5 points to capture the trophy. The matches are broken down as such:
-- FRIDAY: Four morning four-ball (better-ball) matches followed by four afternoon foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.
-- SATURDAY: Four morning four-ball matches followed by four afternoon foursomes matches.
-- SUNDAY: 12 singles matches.
Each team has 12 players, and is led by a captain and a host of assistants.