The Ryder Cup formally began in 1927 with a match between American and British professionals at Worcester (Mass.) Country Club. A year earlier, after an informal match in Britain between the American and British, seed merchant Samuel Ryder had agreed to provide a cup for the competition. Except during World War II, when the event was cancelled, the Ryder Cup was played in odd-numbered years until 2001, when the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York City's Twin Towers forced a postponement. Since 2002, it has been played in even-numbered years.
European Points List
The European Ryder Cup team is chosen from two points lists. Players earn one point in sanctioned European Tour events and one point for each euro (about $1.33 U.S.) earned in events through Aug. 12 of the year in which the Ryder Cup is played. The top five players are selected for the team from the Ryder Cup European Points List and the leading five players not qualified from that list are selected from the Ryder Cup World Points list. The remaining two players on the 12-player team are captain's selections.
U.S. Points List
The U.S. also uses money winnings to select its Ryder Cup squad. Players earn one point for every $1,000 won in the major championships played in the year prior to the Ryder Cup and two points for every $1,000 earned in major championships in the year the competition is played. Prize money from official events in the year of the competition, excluding majors, also counts for one point per each $1,000, while prize money in events opposite major championships and World Championship events in the year of the competition earns one-half point for each $1,000. Eight players qualify for the U.S. team on points and there are four captain's picks
Ryder Cup History
The United States holds a 25-11-2 advantage in the Ryder Cup, but the inclusion of European professionals has had a major impact. Before 1979, the United States had an 18-3-1 advantage over Great Britain and Ireland. Since Europeans joined players from Great Britain in 1979, Europe holds an 8-7-1 advantage, including its 2010 victory at Celtic Manor in Wales. Ties allow the team holding the Cup to retain it for an other two years.
Jack Nicklaus Idea
American dominance of the Ryder Cup may have been ultimately altered by Jack Nicklaus. During the 1977 matches in England, which the U.S. won easily 12 1/2 to 7 1/2, Nicklaus suggested to event organizers that the event had become too one-sided. Officials agreed and in 1979, European players were made eligible for the foreign team.