This year’s Ryder Cup will, without doubt, be the biggest and most anticipated edition of the matches that either team has ever experienced. More than 500m households will tune into to watch the Ryder Cup and around a quarter of million fans will descend on Le Golf National.
However, the matches haven’t always been to this scale.
Exactly 97 years ago today the first unofficial playing of the Ryder Cup took place, at Gleneagles in Scotland. It was The Times newspaper who suggested an international match between USA and Great Britain, after Golf Illustrated had proposed to the Professional Golfers’ Association that a team of 12 Americans should travel to the UK to try and crown the first American winner of The Open.
The match took place on the King’s Course at Gleneagles as ten of Great Britain’s finest golfers took on ten of America’s best professionals. The match consisted of five foursomes matches and ten singles matches, with Great Britain comfortably winning the match with a score of 10.5 to 4.5.
There were many famous names in both sides, with James Braid, Harry Vardon and J H Taylor representing Great Britain, and Walter Hagen the standout golfer for the Americans.
It wouldn’t be until 1927 that the first official Ryder Cup match would take place at Worcester Country Club in America, a year after the second unofficial playing at Wentworth in 1926. It was the event in 1927 that took the name and the first time the famed Samuel Ryder trophy was up for grabs.