How does the Ryder Cup work? Foursomes and fourballs explained

The biennial team competition is taking place at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy, from 29 Sept-1 Oct

Ben Fleming
Thursday 28 September 2023 22:08

The Ryder Cup is fast approaching as the biennial competition heads to Italy for the first time with Europe looking to claim back the trophy.

The United States have not won on European soil since 1993, but in the last tournament claimed a commanding 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits to win back the trophy from Team Europe.

Europe go into the event as slight underdogs after their comprehensive defeat two years ago but have a new, revitalised team that will look to upset an American team full of world-class talent.

Ahead of the match, here is everything you need to know about the Ryder Cup.

How does the Ryder Cup work?

The match is split across three days with the first two days consisting of a morning and an afternoon session.

In the morning sessions, the teams will contest four foursomes matches, whereby two golfers from each team pair up and play alternate shots using the same ball. The best score on each hole wins, with a tie if the scores are equal.

In the afternoon sessions, the teams then compete in four fourball matches, with two golfers from each team pairing up but, this time, using their own ball. The lowest score from either player is used for the team’s overall score for that hole with the best score winning the hole.

Rory McIlroy will compete in his seventh Ryder Cup in Rome

Players can play in all four sessions across the first two days, but with only eight slots available for each session some of the 12-man team are rested each time. Each player has to play in at least one session across the first two days.

The third and final day consists of singles matches where one player from Team Europe competes against another player from Team USA. This is standard matchplay, with the best score on each hole winning. All twelve members from each team have to compete in these matches.

There are 28 points at stake in total, with a point being awarded for winning a match, or half a point given to each team if there is a tie after 18 holes. In a similar fashion to the Ashes, if the overall score is tied at 14-14 come the end of Sunday, the holders (Team USA) will retain the trophy.

Team USA are the reigning champions

That means that for Europe to win the Ryder Cup this year they will need at least 14.5 points.

When is the 2023 Ryder Cup?

This tournament takes place between Friday 29 September and Sunday 1 October at Marco Simone Golf Club.

What are the teams?

Europe: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), John Rahm (Spain), Victor Hovland (Norway), Tyrrell Hatton (England), Robert MacIntyre (Scotland), Matt Fitzpatrick (England), Tommy Fleetwood (England), Sepp Straka (Austria), Justin Rose (England), Shane Lowry (Ireland), Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark), Ludvig Åberg (Sweden)

USA: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clarke, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas

How can I watch it?

Viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch the Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports. Subscribers can also stream the event via the Sky Go app.

The full coverage is listed below:

Day One - Morning session (from 6am) and afternoon session (from 12pm) - Sky Sports Golf and Main Event

Day Two - Morning session (from 6am) and afternoon session (from 12pm) - Sky Sports Golf and Main Event

Day Three - Singles (from 9am) - Sky Sports Golf and Main Event

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in