European Ryder Cup Numbers Explained

You'll notice that European players have been assigned numbers this week. Here's why...

Ryder Cup numbers seen on the Europeans' bags
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You'll notice that European players have been assigned numbers this week. Here's why...

European Ryder Cup Numbers Explained

Team Europe is at Whistling Straits this week attempting to retain the Ryder Cup after victory at Le Golf National last time.

Fans will notice that Harrington's Europeans have numbers on their bags this week, as every single European Ryder Cupper in history has now been given a number.

For example, Lee Westwood has the lowest number of the European side competing this year, because he was the first of this year's team to represent his continent.

Westwood was the 118th player to compete for Europe, whilst 2021 rookies Lowry, Wiesberger and Hovland now have the highest numbers.

It is inspired from other sports, including Rugby's British and Irish Lions, as well as the England cricket team.

"This has been done before in Europe. I think certainly the Lions were famous for starting it out, and it was obviously, when you're looking for these teams, this is a theme that the European Tour came up with, and I was very comfortable and happy to buy into it and believe in it, and it's really worked out very nicely," Padraig Harrington said.

"As you would have seen in the video, but just looking at -- like we have a wall with the role of fame of who have played, and being able to look at those names and go through it, 164 is just startlingly small amount of players.

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"Obviously you can blame Lee Westwood for that for playing 11 times, and Sergio, as well, but it's a small group of people.

"When you think 580 people have gone to space and 5,870 people have climbed Mount Everest, it's incredible that there's so few who have played in the Ryder Cup.

"It makes it very special for the players to know that they have a place in history that can never be taken away from them.

"They will always have a name on that wall.

Catriona Matthew also used numbers for the 2019 Solheim Cup:

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"For me, myself, I'm up there 131, so it's nice for me to look back and remember -- kind of remember the person I was as a Ryder Cup player, and for these current players, obviously they're experiencing it.

"The three rookies, it was extra special for them to be added in, and they had their moment to stand up and kind of receive the applause of everybody that they're new to this. It was a lovely way to start the week. We have more."

Related: Do Ryder Cup players get paid?

"We have this thing this week where we've all been given a player number, so there's been 164 players that have played for the European Ryder Cup team, or GB&I way back in the day," McIlroy said.

"So that's a pretty small group of players.

"I'm No. 144; I think Lee is No. 118. But then you just look at all the players before you, and you look at Bernd Wiesberger who's making his debut this year who's No. 164.

"It's a small collection of people that have played for Europe in the Ryder Cup.

"I think that's what brings us very close together, and that's been one of our sort of big focus points this week is just being here is very special and being part of a European team.

"Very few people can call themselves a European Ryder Cup player."

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"The video was about representing Europe, obviously, and there's 164 players that's represented Europe," Lee Westwood said.

"You have a far greater chance of going into space or climbing Mount Everest than you have representing Europe in the Ryder Cup.

"We've all got numbers. Mine is the smallest number, obviously, 118. But yeah, it's something to be very proud of, being able to pull on the clothing with the European team crest on it.

"It was very powerful. I didn't know my number. I didn't know -- I knew that -- I've always known that being a part of the Ryder Cup team is very difficult, but I didn't know that only that little amount of players have made it," Sergio Garcia said.

"So that showed you how difficult it really is.

"That's why every time I'm a part of a team or the rest of our teammates, that's why we give it the respect that it deserves, because it's so difficult to be a part of it.

"It's an honor, and we treat it like that."

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x