Ryder Cup Betting

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Golf is typically an individual sport, which makes the Ryder Cup special. In the early 20th century, the sport was growing rapidly. One notion that caught the imagination of fans was the idea of pitting teams from Britain and the United States against each other in an annual golf tournament.

The proposal was first made to the USPGA in 1920 by Golf Illustrated journalist James Harnett, but not acted on until it was followed up in 1921 by Sylvanus P. Jermain, then president of the Inverness Club in Ohio. Informal matches were played later that same year at Gleneagles, Scotland, with the home team trouncing the visitors 9 to 3. Five years later a second unofficial match was organized at Wentworth, with the British team prevailing in a rout, 13½ to 1½.

Attending that 1926 event was a Hertfordshire entrepreneur named Samuel Ryder, who had made his fortune selling penny packets of seeds. He enjoyed the duel between the two national teams so much that he offered to sponsor the event and award a solid gold trophy worth £250, adding “I will give £5 to each of the winning players, and give a party afterwards, with champagne and chicken sandwiches.” The following year, the Ryder Cup Matches were born.

The very first Ryder Cup was played in June of 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts. Once again the home advantage seemed to make a difference, and this time the U.S. side was victorious, 9½ to 2½. Although his players were defeated, Ryder made good on his promise of payments and partying. It was thereafter decided to hold the tournament once every two years, with the host venue alternating between sides of the Atlantic.

Samuel Ryder went on to become the Mayor of St. Albans, serving two terms and witnessing two Ryder Cup contests on British soil before he passed on in January of 1936. He was buried with a beloved mashie (5-iron) at his side.

Ryder’s legacy lived on, surviving a brief hiatus during World War II and emerging as golf’s most anticipated biennial event from 1947 on. In 1973, tradition was broken when the British Ryder Cup team invited top players from the Republic of Ireland to join them at the historic Muirfield course in Scotland.

Then in 1977, after the United States had won all but one meeting since 1959, America’s famed professional Jack Nicklaus suggested that the level of competition be further improved by expanding eligibility to the best golfers from all over Europe. It turned out that many officials in the British PGA had already had the same thought. It was subsequently decided to open membership on the British team to “professional players on the European Tournament Players Order of Merit (who) could be natives and residents of countries other than the British Isles, as long as they were from continental Europe.” Two Spaniards were the first to join the British side, Severiano Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido, at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West virginia in 1979.

Today, selections of the Ryder Cup players and sites for the matches are administered by the PGA of America and the PGA European Tour. The respective team captains are responsible for determining their team’s order of play. Although the tournament is still held every two years in early October, it now takes place in even-numbered years, following a postponement and rescheduling after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on America.

The Ryder Cup format includes three days of practice rounds, followed by three days of competition. The first two days feature four foursome matches in the mornings and four fourball matches in the afternoons. On the last day of the tournament, a dozen single matches are played, for a total of 28 matches in all with a corresponding number of points awarded—one point for a win and a half point for a draw. Every match covers 18 holes.

Ryder Cup Betting is among the heaviest in international golf. Sportsbooks offer a broad variety of markets on all three match-play formats as well as ante post wagering on the outright winning team. Match play betting is the same as two-ball betting on conventional golf tournaments, while fourball betting resembles regular three-ball betting. For the latter the presence of an additional player on each side presents some special markets, such as each-way bets that pay a quarter of the selection’s price if the player comes in second place.

Foursome betting, picking a team to win a particular morning match, is not unique to the Ryder Cup. It is offered for the President’s Cup, too. But foursome wagers are certainly greater in volume here, as two players from each side compete, alternating shots, as they seek to finish the 18th hole with the lowest score.

Special markets include backing a particular player to score a hole-in-one, wagering on the final scores for a specific round of play, and others. The rivalries are intense, and the competition is top notch, making Ryder Cup betting a must for anyone who enjoys wagering on golf.

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