And now we all turn our attention to the Ryder Cup, is only a month away. The United States finally has some new talent on the roster. The new guys have tons of incentive to prove themselves worthy of the spot they fill and the old guard are tired of losing.
With Tiger Woods playing like his dominant self there is no reason that the United States won’t bring the Ryder Cup back to the United States. Unless you consider that Colin Montgomery, Sergio Garcia, David Howell, and other dominant Europeans stand in their way.
Sneek a peak with me into the history of the Ryder Cup and get my prediction for this year’s winners.
Held in 1921 as an unofficial event between Britain and the United States, the first Ryder Cup was won by Britain 9-3. Matches were again held in 1926 where Britain again defeated the Americans 13½ and 1½. St. Albans businessman Sam Ryder was apparently so inspired by the British trouncing of the Americans that he proposed making the events official. And so it began.
United States Domination
The first official matches were held in 1927. While Great Britain trounced the United States in the two unofficial Ryder Cups it was not an indication of what was in store in successive years. Between 1972 and 1979 Great Britain won a total of three matches. The most dominating victory in those years came at the Portland Golf Club in Portland, Oregon when the United States won 11 and 1.
Those victorious American years included such notables as Walter Hagan (7-1-1), Sam Snead (10-2-1), Julios Boros (9-3-4), Arnold Palmer (22-8-2), Jack Nicklaus (17-8-3), Lee Trevino (17-7-6). Its no wonder that the Americans dominated so many early Ryder Cups as those years coincided with the best years of golf’s early superstars.
From 1973 to 1977 Ireland joined Great Britain’s team but were unable to overcome the United States. The United States so thoroughly dominated the Ryder Cup that Europe joined Great Britain and Ireland’s team and they were collectively called Europe. Since the addition of the Europeans victory hasn’t been certain for the United States.
Europe has won seven and the United States six Ryder Cups since 1979. There have been fewer completely dominating wins by either side. The Ryder Cup in 2004 being a notable exception as Europe defeated the United States 19½ to 9½. The United States defeated Europe by the same score in 1981.
Modern Ryder Cups
There is no doubt that Europe has been a dominant force in the Ryder Cups in recent years. The United States has provided no answer the last couple of Cups and is roundly considered the under-dog. Current captain Tom Lehman has assured the world that every player on the United States team is motivated to win. Regardless, the United States has seemed unmotivated and even apathetic in recent years toward both the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup. Golf is such an individual sport that the Ryder comes as a welcome change to both the format and atmosphere of the game if only for a few days.
Moments in Ryder Cup History
1969, Royal Birkdale. 18 of 32 matches had gone to the final green, many full of gamesmanship and bitterness on both sides. Jack Nicklaus picked up Tony Jacklin’s ball marker to concede his par putt on their final hole. The Ryder Cup ended tied 14-14 for the first time in Ryder Cup history.
1995, Oak Hills. Nick Faldo had what he called, “The toughest short putt of his career,” to defeat the Curtis Strange. He sunk the putt and the Europeans won 14½ to 13½.
1999, The Country Club. After sinking putts of 25 and 35 feet, Justin Leonard needed to hole a 45-foot birdie to halve his match with José María Olazábal. He sunk the putt and the American team, joined by their wives, stormed the green in celebration. Olazábal hadn’t yet putted for his birdie. While no one walked in his line, the celebration offended the European team. It was the only American victory in the last five Ryder Cups.
If ever there was a year the Americans have incentive to win the Ryder Cup this should be it. Europe has entered the Ryder Cup with more focus and apparent pride in the last couple of Cups than the Americans could muster. It will be incumbent upon Tiger Woods to play as tough against Europe as he was against a certain Stephen Ames (9 and 8) a short time ago.
You can look forward to a tough Ryder Cup for the United States. The infusion of new talent into the Ryder Cup team will be a great help for the United States. Regardless, the Europeans still have the upper hand and could snag another win with their focused match play.
My prediction: USA wins 15½ to 12½.