How the Ryder Cup works

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The Independent Online
The two teams - the United States and Europe each consist of 12 players. The Ryder Cup is a matchplay event: scoring is based on individual holes won rather than on the total number of strokes taken in the whole round (strokeplay).

The contest comprises 28 matches, played over three days. Matches are contested by individuals (singles) or by pairs (foursomes and fourballs). One point is at stake in each match; half a point is awarded to each team for a drawn (halved) match. The first team to 141/2 pts wins the cup. The Americans, as holders, will retain the cup in the event of a 14-14 tie.

An individual or pair wins a match by winning more holes than the opposition. The match finishes when it is no longer possible for the trailing pair or individual to win the same number of holes as the opposition. For example, when a match is won 3 and 2, it will have ended after the 16th hole, the winner(s) having won three more holes than the opposition with only two holes left to play.

The two captains name their pairings and their playing order unaware of their opponents' line-up. Every member of the team plays in the singles, but the foursomes and fourballs pairings are entirely the choice of the captains. Therefore some players might play in two foursomes matches, two fourball matches and one singles match, while others might play in only one singles match.


Foursomes: Teams of two (pairs) play against each other. Each pair plays just one ball and the players take alternate shots. One of the pair drives off on the even numbered holes, the other on the odd ones.

Fourballs: Teams of two play against each other in hole by hole matchplay. Each player plays his own ball. The best individual score of the pair on each hole counts.

Singles: Head to head, hole by hole matchplay.



Morning: Four foursomes matches.

Afternoon: Four fourball matches.


Morning: Four foursomes matches.

Afternoon: Four fourball matches.


12 singles matches.