Golf is thought of by many as being a gentle, relaxing pastime. Walking through 18 holes of golf, usually in pleasant weather and delightful surroundings, it seems like the perfect sport. However, the pressure at the top of the professional game is immense and no more so than at the Ryder Cup.
The Ryder Cup is a tournament contested between Europe and the USA. The two teams meet every two years, with the venue alternating between European and American golf courses.
Teams and Matches
The teams each have 12 players and they play a variety of matches across three days of play. The event always begins on a Friday with four fourball matches and four foursomes matches, with the format repeated on Saturday.
Sunday, the final day of the tournament, sees each player contest a singles match against an opponent from other team. One of the most exciting aspects of the Ryder Cup is that no one knows who they are going to be playing in any match until both teams release their line-up for that day. it makes planning difficult for the captains.The Ryder Cup is not for the faint-hearted. It piles on the pressure like no other golf tournament, yet the rewards are truly amazing. Click To Tweet
For a team to win the Ryder Cup outright, they must win 14 ½ points, but the defending champions can retain the trophy with 14 points. A point is awarded for each match one by the players and if the match ends level, each team receives ½ a point.
What makes the Ryder Cup special is the fact players are not only playing for themselves, as they do every week on the PGA and European Tour, but they are playing for their continent/country and their team mates. This brings added pressure, on which some players thrive and others struggle.
Ryder Cup 2018
Take the 2018 Ryder Cup as an example. The event was played in Paris, which gave the European team home advantage, but the American team had arguably their strongest group of players in the history of the tournament.
Despite not having the best individual players on paper, it was the European team which succeeded, winning the event 17 ½ to 10 ½ points. Much was made of the team spirit in the European camp compared to the American team and its elements, like team togetherness, which can count for a lot at the Ryder Cup.
And The Crowd Goes Wild
Then we come to the crowd. The noise and sheer patriotism of the fans is like no other golf tournament on the planet. Every drive, fairway iron, and putt are cheered and the players get caught up in the atmosphere. There have been many occasions when both the players and fans have overstepped the line in their celebrations.
For those who like their golf played the traditional way, with silence for the players on every shot, forget about it at the Ryder Cup. Fist pumping, chest beating, and even jumping in the water are all fair game as far as celebrating shots and points is concerned.
The Ryder Cup is not for the faint-hearted. It piles on the pressure like no other golf tournament, yet the rewards are truly amazing. You must only look at the celebrations of the Europeans, and the dejection on the faces of the Americans in 2018, to know how much this event means to both the players and the fans.
The Ryder Cup is special and is the best golf tournament on the planet.