We take a look at the Ryder Cup format, where Europe go up against America at Le Golf National in the most exciting contest on the golfing calendar


What Is The Ryder Cup Format?

The Ryder Cup takes place at Le Golf National from Friday 28th September for three days. This year marks the 42nd edition of the biennial contest between team USA and team Europe, who each take turns to host the tournament.

While the actual golf will begin on the Friday morning, the opening ceremony takes place on the Thursday evening, during which the two captains, Jim Furyk for the USA and Thomas Bjorn for Europe, will announce their pairings for the first set of fourball matches to take place the next day.

In total, 28 matches are contested at the Ryder Cup with each worth one point. 14.5 points are enough for an outright win, but if you’re the defending champions, a tie at 14 points means you retain the Ryder Cup. There are 12 players on each team and only eight players can play in each foursomes or fourball session.

The format of the matches

Friday’s play consists of four fourball matches in the morning followed by four foursomes matches in the afternoon. This is repeated on Saturday and then on Sunday, there are 12 singles matches during which everyone in each team plays an opponent drawn at random based on the order each captain puts their team out.

Foursomes is an alternate shot format where teams in pairs take turns to hit the shot on each hole. So if player 1 hits the tee shot, player 2 will play the next shot from where the ball finishes and so on. This continues until the ball is holed out. It is a matchplay competition against the other team, so whoever holes out with the lowest score wins the hole. Players on each team will take turns to tee off, so one player will tee off from the even-numbered holes, the other player from the odd-numbered holes.

In Fourballs, both players from each team play their own ball, so there are four balls in play on each hole. The best score from each team go against eachother in a matchplay competition.

The Ryder Cup schedule of play:


Fourball (4 points to be won) AM

Foursomes (4 points to be won) PM


Fourball (4 points to be won) AM

Foursomes (4 points to be won) PM


Singles (12 points in total to be won)

All of the play will be shown live on Sky Sports – check out our guide to watching the Ryder Cup action without having to sign up to Sky Sports

Keep up to date with everything at the Ryder Cup with the Golf Monthly website and social media channels