Doughtie Sr. on Golf (October 2012)

RYDER CUP

When English seed merchant Samuel Ryder decided to donate a trophy for a bi-ennial golf match between the PGA's on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean,in 1926,he could never,in his wildest dreams,imagined that it would develop into the mega-affair it has become today.Some proclaim it to be the World's 3rd Major sporting event,attracting a TV audience of over 1 billion.

However,the history of the international event goes back further.......In 1921,the 1st professional match between the 2 sides was hosted at Gleneagles in Scotland,about 2 weeks after the 1st Amateur competition at Royal Liverpool,Hoylake had taken place.This was to become known as the Walker Cup in 1922,when George Herbert Walker,President of the USGA donated a trophy.Incidentally ,Mr Walker was the maternal grandfather of George H W Bush who with his son George W. Bush, both became Presidents of the United States.Even with 3 Americans of Scottish origin in their team Britain won 9-3.

The 1st Ryder Cup took place at Wentworth,England in June 1926 with Great Britain winning 13-1 with 1 match halved.However since there was no trophy available to be presented to winning Captain,Ted Ray,it is perhaps ,the main reason why the contest of 1927 is considered to be the actual, official, initial, Ryder Cup.

This match took place at Worcester C.C. Massachusetts,with the US side securing 9 points to the 2 accumulated by GB.Most of the Americans were touring pros on the fast developing US circuit,while the British team comprised of club professionals,whose job it was to satisfy their members requirements.....7 days-a-week......somethings never change.....

And so the bi-ennial battle was up and running,with players having to make the TransAtlantic crossing by liner ship before the advent of air travel. As a consequence matches were arranged around other tournaments. In these early days players based "abroad" were not considered.The great Henry Cotton,while resident at Waterloo ,Brussels and Percy Alliss,father of BBC's Peter,who was employed in Berlin, were not selected.

Those matches were dominated by the US and very one-sided .As a result interest declined.The US golfing public were also not so accustomed to the matchplay format,particulary foursomes and fourballs and it looked gloomy.TV coverage of the 1969 event at Royal Birkdale,improved public awareness,helped by the 18th hole halved match between Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus.

Irish golfers were included from 1973 ,however it was not until 1979 that the growing number of succesful Europeans were granted inclusion.This was desiged to make the match more competitve.It was ,until the Sunday singles,which the US won comfortably.

With 5 matches halved at PGA National,West Palm Beach in 1983,Europe(as it was now called)got close,but failed by a point.....it was game on now.....

Under the guidance of Captain Jacklin,at the Belfry,England in 1985,Sam Torrance sunk the final putt,to clinch the contest 15-10,and the modern Ryder Cup was born.Europe have had the upper hand since then,greatly inspired by the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

The 39th edition was held at Medinah,Chicago last month and produced,probably the most dramatic and exciting fightback in the Cup's history,especially by a team on foreign soil,with Europe coming from 10-6 down to seal their fate during the singles.

Congratulations......and roll on Gleneagles 2014.

Most of the World's top -ranked players competed and most of them relished the opportunity to play matchplay,the oldest format,which unfortunately is not used so often today.......however it is only 6 months before the NGF Competitie and the chance that an enormous number of us get to participate in 6 very competitive and enjoyable weeks,after we have spent the previous months,training,discussing,planning trips etc etc .....LONG MAY IT CONTINUE....

 
   
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