Part two of A-Z of the Ryder Cup as we go through the alphabet with some magic memories. Here are: J to R

A-Z of the Ryder Cup: J – R

Part two of our Ryder Cup A-Z starts with J…

Channel Islands professional Herbert was Jolly by name but perhaps not by nature after travelling all the way to the inaugural 1927 Ryder Cup matches in Massachusetts on his own, arriving four days after the rest of the team, losing both of his matches, and never again making the starting line-up.


A-Z of the Ryder Cup

The 18th green at The K Club

When the Ryder Cup met The K Club for the first time in 2006, there were emotional scenes to accompany another emphatic with for the Europeans. With the Cup contested in Ireland for the first time in its near-80-year history, the stage was already set for high drama. Enter lion-heart Darren Clarke, competing just weeks after his wife passed away, and Europe were truly inspired to another 18½-9½ victory. Swede debutant Henrik Stenson holed the winning putt to ensure The K Club would live fondly in the memories of the Europeans.

This fine Yorkshire golf course is perhaps most famous for serving up Great Britain or Europe’’s solitary Ryder Cup success between 1933 and ‘85. Lying 3-1 down after the first-day foursomes, Dai Rees’ men turned things around in spectacular fashion the following day, taking the singles series 6½-1½ for an ultimately comfortable victory. Ken Bousfield’s 4&3 win over Lionel Hebert sealed Great Britain’s last ever Ryder Cup success, for by the time it next lifted the trophy in ’85 it had evolved into the first GB&I and then into Europe.


Martin Kaymer holed the winning putt in 2012 at Medinah (Getty Images)

Perhaps the greatest Ryder Cup comeback ever, Europe went into the Sunday singles 10-6 down away from home. They were lucky to be only four points down and had it not been for some Ian Poulter heroics in which he birdied the final five holes, then Europe would have most definitely not stood a chance the next day.

But using Seve as inspiration, who had died the year previously, Jose Maria Olazabal inspired his team to pull off an incredible comeback as they won 8 and a half points from 12 matches to win the Cup by 14.5 points to 13.5.

N – NO ‘N’s
No European player whose surname begins with “N” has ever made the team in 40 Ryder Cups although Alex Noren is set to bring that particular statistic to an end.

Conversely, some of America’s greatest Ryder Cuppers have been “N” men, among them the mighty Jack Nicklaus and the legendary Byron Nelson. Another was the little-heralded Andy North. The double Major-winner played his only Ryder Cup in 1985, losing all three of his matches.


A-Z of the Ryder Cup

Christy Junior after his famous 2-iron at the Belfry in 1989

Great player that he was, Christy Senior holds the dubious honour of recording the most Ryder Cup singles match losses of any player on either side – 10 in 10 Ryder Cups. To be fair, he also won two and halved two in the days when there were more than one series of singles, and he did play in an era of unparalleled American dominance. Nephew Christy Junior won his only singles in spectacular fashion at The Belfry in 1989 when his radar final-hole 2-iron to near-gimme distance prompted Freddie Couples to block his short-iron approach so badly that Christy didn’t even have to hole out.

Portland Golf Club in Oregon provided the setting for the closest ever result to a whitewash when the matches resumed after World War II. Ben Hogan’s team demolished Henry Cotton’s 11-1, winning all four foursomes matches and then the first seven singles. Sam King was the Britain’s “hero”, defeating Herman Keiser 4&3 in the final match.

We also could not ignore Ian Poulter who has repeatedly brought his best game to the Ryder Cup. He was one of the key men that inspired the 2012 Miracle of Medinah.

Queen Mary was perhaps partly responsible for the Portland result – not the monarch herself but the eponymous ocean liner which transported the Great Britain team across the Atlantic that year. Once off the boat, the players had to endure a three-and-a-half day train journey to reach Oregon in America’s Pacific Northwest. Jaded might be an appropriate word!

The man who gave his name to the world-famous trophy made his fortune selling penny seed packets. It was a period of ill health due to over-work early last century that led indirectly to the Ryder Cup. Armed with a prescription of fresh air and light exercise, Samuel Ryder became completely hooked on golf, recruiting Abe Mitchell as his exclusive coach for £1,000 a year. An unofficial match between the Americans and the British at Wentworth in 1926 prompted him to do something “official” about it. So he donated a solid gold cup worth £250, dipped in his pocket again to help finance the British team’s trip to America in 1927 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Another ‘R’ is the famous 2016 singles match between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed. Regarded as one of the greatest matches ever played, the American sneaked the victory on the 18th 1up.