Who is Europe’s most successful partnership at The Ryder Cup?
The Ryder Cup has never failed to provide thrilling drama, with the world’s best players from Europe and the United States going head to head for one of golf’s most prestigious trophies but who is Europe’s most successful partnership at The Ryder Cup?
Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal – 12 points from 15 matches
Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal are Europe's most successful partnership at The Ryder Cup and set the bar for Ryder Cup pairings, having played together a record 15 times – the most by any pair in Ryder Cup history – winning 12 points, which is six more than any other pairing.
First playing together at Muirfield Village in 1987, they won 11 of their 15 matches together, six times in eight foursomes matches and five times in their seven fourball matches.
In 1987, they won their first three matches together, losing their fourth 2&1 against Hal Sutton and Larry Mize. It would be six years before they tasted defeated again, winning three and halving one match in 1989 at The Belfry and repeating that feat at Kiawah Island in 1991.
They contributed two points to the European cause in 1993, winning their final match together 2&1 against Davis Love III and Tom Kite.
Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood – six points from eight matches
The pair of Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are the joint second-highest points scorers in Ryder Cup history with six, sharing that mantle with Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam – but winning six points in two fewer matches.
They first played together at Brookline in 1999, winning two of their four matches, but didn’t pair up again until Oakland Hills in 2004. Back together again they won all four of their matches together in the next two Ryder Cups.
In 2004, they won both their matches in some style, first defeating David Toms and Jim Furyk 4&3 and then Jay Haas and Chris DiMarco 5&4.
Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam – six points from ten matches
Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam join Clarke and Westwood on six points, having played together from 1987 to 1991.
Like Ballesteros and Olazábal, they first played together in 1987, and went on to win six points from their ten matches as a pair with a record of five wins, two halves and three losses.
They jointly-spearheaded the European charge at Muirfield Village with the Spanish pair, as the two teams contributed four points to Europe’s 6-2 lead after the first day. On Saturday, they won by the largest margin at that Ryder Cup, defeating Curtis Strange and Tom Kite 5&4.
Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie – five and a half points from seven matches
With a 78 per cent win rate, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie earned an impressive five and a half points from seven matches together.
Montgomerie made his Ryder Cup debut at Kiawah Island in 1991 but lost his first foursomes match with David Gilford. Captain Bernhard Gallacher made the decision to pair the young Scotsman with veteran Langer, playing in his sixth Ryder Cup, on Saturday. They defeated Corey Pavin and Jerry Pate 2&1.
They didn’t play together again until Valderrama in 1997, where they won two of their three matches, and they had to wait until The Belfry in 2002 before they played together again.
Langer and Montgomerie contributed two and a half points as Europe regained The Ryder Cup.
Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari – four points from four matches
The stars of Le Golf National as Europe won back The Ryder Cup in stunning fashion, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari made history as the only European pair to win all four of their matches together in a single Ryder Cup.
Their side trailing 3-0 after the first three matches of Friday’s fourballs, ‘Moliwood’ secured a vital point to ensure the United States didn’t achieve a clean sweep in the first session. Their 3&1 victory over Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods was their smallest margin of victory over the four sessions.
On Friday afternoon they defeated Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 5&4, beat Reed and Woods again on Saturday morning, this time 4&3 and then defeated Bryson DeChambeau and Woods 5&4, helping Europe to a four-point lead heading into Sunday’s singles.