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Peter Pugh,Henry Lord

The Ryder Cup

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For those old enough to remember, the Ryder Cups before the 1980s were often dispiriting affairs, especially if you were British. The Americans were simply too good and the British won only very occasionally.

At the end of the 1970s, the great American golfer, Jack Nicklaus, suggested that the British invite golfers from Europe to join their team. Seve Ballesteros from Spain and Bernhard Langer from Germany were just coming to the peak of their careers and it was an inspired suggestion that fortunately the British accepted. The contest became more even and the Europeans began to win as often as the Americans. Indeed, since 1981 Europe has won ten of the sixteen contests.

There have been many close and exciting contests with huge dramas developing on the last day. Standing out are the matches at Brookline in 1999 when the Americans overturned a deficit of 10–6 going into the final day; Celtic Manor in 2010, when the Americans nearly, but not quite, overturned a substantial European lead; and finally at Medinah in 2012 when the Americans were cruising comfortably to victory on Saturday afternoon with a 10–4 lead, only for the Europeans to fight back: first by winning the last two fourballs on the Saturday and then winning 8½ points out of 12 in the singles on Sunday.

The Ryder Cup captures all the glory of golf’s greatest match.
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