Ryder Cup format

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The game’s top players tee it up at Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits, for the 43rd playing of the Ryder Cup. The first Ryder Cup was played in 1927 but since 1979 the competition has consisted of two days of four-ball and foursome matches along with one day of singles matches. The 2021 Ryder Cup begins Friday, September 24, here’s what you need to know on the unique team format.

WHERE: The location of the Ryder Cup alternates between Europe and the United States.

TEAMS: The qualifying criteria for the each team is different. For the U.S a points system has been in place since the 2019 season with players collecting points up until the completion of the 2021 BMW Championship. The top six players on the points list secured spots on the U.S. team with the remaining six players selected by Captain Steve Stricker following the completion of the 2021 PGA TOUR season.

U.S. Roster: Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler.

For Europe the qualification is based on two lists. The top four players from the European Points list were selected with the top five players in the World Points list who had not already qualified earning spots. Europe also selected three captain’s picks to complete the roster.

Europe Roster: Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter.

FOUR-BALL: Each member of a two-man team plays his own ball, so four balls are in play on every hole. Each team counts the lowest of its two scores on each hole, and the team whose player has the lowest score wins the hole. If the low scores are tied, the hole is halved.

FOURSOMES: Each two-man team plays one ball per hole with the players taking turns until each hole is complete. Players alternate hitting tee shots, with one leading off on odd-numbered holes, and the other hitting first on even-numbered holes. The team with the low score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.

SINGLES: each match features one player from each team. The player with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.

Unlike stroke play, players don’t have to complete each hole in match play. If a player concedes a stroke – almost always a putt – to his opponent, the opponent picks up his ball, takes the score he would have made on the next stroke and moves on to the next hole.

POINTS SYSTEM: Each match is worth one point, with matches ending in a draw worth 1/2 point to each side. The first team to reach 14 ½ points (of the 28 points available) wins the Ryder Cup. If the matches end in a 14-14 draw, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it. Europe is the defending champion headed into the 2021 Ryder Cup.

The three days of the matches consist of 28 total matches, each of which is worth one point. There are no extra holes in Ryder Cup matches. Should the two sides be tied after 18 holes, each side earns a halve (1/2 point). 

source: pgatour

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