In 1926 a group of American professionals arrived in England to play in the Open Golf Championship at Wentworth. They had time on their hands while they waited for the Open to begin. To kill time they competed against a team of British professionals, but lost 13½ points to 1½ points.
Samuel Ryder, a wealthy Englishman, watched the competition, and agreed to provide a trophy to encourage the matches to be played on a regular basis.
The inaugural Ryder Cup matches were played the following year at Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts, and thereafter every two years, with the venue alternating between England and America. In 1973 the Cup was played for in Scotland for the first time, at Muirfield, and in 1979, after a period of American supremacy, it was decided to include European players in the competition. Since then the contest have been close, and the score remains Europe 7 wins, America 7 wins, and one tied match.
The Ryder Cup remains one of the few great sporting competitions that is played for no prize money.
October 2010 will see the Ryder Cup held in Wales, for the first time ever. The Ryder Cup is a three-day competition between teams representing Europe and the USA. It is the third biggest sporting occasion on earth, surpassed only by the Olympic Games and the football World Cup. It is watched by billions of people across the world. In 2010 the matches will be played on the Celtic Manor Resort’s new ‘Twenty Ten’ course in Newport, Wales: the first golf course specifically designed to host the biennial event.
But golf in Wales does not begin and end with the 2010 Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup will obviously be fantastic for Wales, for tourism, for the economy, but for golf itself the hope is that it will bring world recognition that Wales is a great place to play golf. Although there are fewer than 200 Golf Clubs in Wales, compared with over 7,000 in the rest of the UK, the diversity and beauty of the courses is superb. It is hoped that more people will realise that golf in Wales can be a rich and varied experience, every bit as exciting as golf in Scotland or Ireland.