The 41st Ryder Cup tees of next month at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. The biennial brawl between the greats from US and Europe is contemplated as conceivably the biggest event in the golfing calendar. The Ryder Cup is one of those last sporting events founded on prestige rather than prize money. The Ryder Cup marks the end of the golfing season of that particular year. So where does it come from, how does it work and what makes it so special? The outset of the RYDER CUP. [caption id="attachment_956" align="alignnone" width="480"] George Duncan (right), captain of the British Ryder Cup team, is presented with the Ryder Cup by British businessman Samuel Ryder at the 1929 Matches. (Getty Images)[/caption] Prior to the Open championship 1921, a tournament was played among the United States and Great Britain which was won by the Great Britain. Five years later in 1926 a similar event played in Wentworth, was again won by the Great Britain. This was the time when Samuel Ryder, a golf-mad businessman, noticed the golfers from the two countries resulting in the birth of the Ryder cup. The 1st official Ryder cup was held in 1927 at the Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts and thereafter it is held every two years, alternating the venue between Europe and the United States. The American Dominance and the inclusion of the Continental Europe: [caption id="attachment_958" align="alignnone" width="680"] June 1937: From left to right, Densmore Shute, Byron Nelson, Horton Smith and Edward Dudley, members of the American golf team at the 1937 Ryder Cup. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)[/caption] The Great Britain won the Ryder cup only three times out of the 22, played between 1927 and 1977. Thus, the golfers from America dominated the Ryder cup in between these five decades. Such American dominance brought the idea of including the golfers from the other parts of Europe to up the level of competition. The great Jack Nicklaus initiated the process of inclusion of golfers from continental Europe. This was the time when young and talented golfers like Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer improved the level of competition, but Europe still had to wait until 1985 to beat the US for the first time since 1957. Team Selection and Format of the Ryder Cup: There are 12 players in each team. Nine qualify automatically through their ranking, and three are 'wildcards' chosen by the Captain of the respective team. A total of 28 matches are played, each carries one point to the winners. The first two days see fourball and foursome matches and the final day sees 12 singles matches as Europe and the US go head to head. Fourball matches involve four players, two from each side, and the player with the lowest score wins the hole for his team. Foursomes are more like doubles, with two players from each team taking it in turns to take a shot. The final day sees 12 singles matches as Europe and the US go head to head. Samuel Ryder and the trophy: [caption id="attachment_959" align="alignnone" width="650"] American business man and founder of The Ryder Cup Samuel Ryder (centre) with American team captain Walter Hagen (left) and British team captain George Duncan at a dinner function to launch The 1929 Ryder Cup at Moortown, Yorksh.[/caption] Samuel Ryder, a Brit, an avid golfer, and a successful businessman, commissioned a trophy in 1926 to serve as the prize in a proposed goodwill competition pitting British professional golfers against their American counterparts. Ryder spent £250 to have the trophy created. It was designed by the Mappin & Webb Company in the form of a golden chalice, with the small figure of a golfer on top of the lid. [caption id="attachment_960" align="alignnone" width="640"] The Ryder cup trophy.[/caption] The Ryder Cup trophy is:
- 17 inches in height;
- Nine inches in width (handle to handle);
- Four pounds in weight;
- The cup sits atop a wooden base, around which is a gold band. On the band are engraved the scores of each Ryder Cup played.