Who has won the most singles points for Europe at The Ryder Cup?
Sunday singles at The Ryder Cup has always delivered individual moments of brilliance as the stars of world golf from Europe and the United States go head-to-head over 18 holes. But who has led the way for their team and won the most singles points for Europe at The Ryder Cup?
Neil Coles and Colin Montgomerie share the mantle at the top of Europe’s singles tally, with both men honing their crafts across different decades of competition, so let’s take a look back at some of their best individual feats.
Colin Montgomerie - seven points from eight singles matches (6-0-2)
Often described as one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time, Colin Montgomerie was a member of the European team on eight occasions and in that time, never lost a singles match.
Six wins, two halves, zero defeats - a sterling record that includes the half-point he squeezed out against Mark Calcavecchia as a Ryder Cup rookie in 1991, when he was four down with four holes to play.
The Scot has played a pivotal role in several matches for Europe over his distinguished career, including victories over Lee Janzen, Ben Crenshaw, Payne Stewart, Scott Hoch and David Toms (twice), yet a handful of moments in history will continue to define his Ryder Cup career.
In 1997, he halved the last hole with Scott Hoch to obtain the half-point that won Europe the Ryder Cup at Valderrama, and then he sank the winning putt, in what is considered to be his finest hour in golf’s greatest team event, during the 2004 staging of the event at Oakland Hills. Montgomerie holed a five-foot putt to seal a one-hole victory over his opponent David Toms and confirm Europe’s crushing victory.
“I’ve always said that one of the 24 guys in The Ryder Cup is going to hole the winning putt and on this occasion Lady Fortune played her part and it was me who was given the opportunity and I took it,” he recalled when speaking to the Guardian Newspaper. “That singles win over David Toms, in fact that whole week, rejuvenated me and my career.”
Neil Coles - seven points from 15 singles matches (5-6-4)
When Neil Coles made his Ryder Cup debut aged 27 in 1961, it heralded the first change in format since the inaugural event in 1927.
Instead of 12 matches of 36 holes, there were 24 matches of 18 holes, which included eight foursomes and 16 singles matches, eight each in the morning and afternoon sessions.
Coles went on to represent Great Britain and Ireland on eight occasions between 1961 and 1977 with the talented Englishman famously accumulating a 5-6-4 record in difficult times as his team struggled to overcome a dominant American outfit, with two of those losses coming against Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
He played in three Ryder Cups in the States – sailing to all of them due to a fear of flying – and counts Billy Casper as a notable name on his hitlist of singles victories, along with former Masters champion Tommy Aaron.
In 1967, he also went on to beat Doug Sanders twice in the same day on the Texan’s “home” ground at Champions Golf Club in Houston.