Ryder Cup history
Samuel Ryder – entrepreneur and golfing benefactor
Samuel Ryder was born in 1858. The son of a Manchester corn merchant, he joined the family business before moving south to St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he developed the idea of selling penny seed packets to gardeners and distributing them by post.
St Albans was well connected by the new railways that were built in Britain in the 19th century, and proved an ideal hub from which Samuel could distribute the seeds to the growing number of working people who had money to pursue their hobby. ↓ Find out more about the man who gives his name to The Ryder Cup.
He carefully planned the distribution so that his customers would receive the seeds at the weekend, during their time off from work. His business took root and quickly flourished. In time, it would employ 100 people. A devout non-conformist, Samuel went to great lengths to treat his staff well.
Keen to spread his wings further, Samuel helped to establish the Heath & Heather herbal shop business, which later became part of Holland & Barrett, the international health food retailer we know today.
Having developed his idea, understood his customer, invested in his people and intelligently taken his product to market, Samuel had established himself as a successful entrepreneur.
And Samuel combined success on the bottom line with triumph at the ballot box when he was elected Mayor of St Albans in 1905. However, his health began to deteriorate under the heavy workload. Doctors encouraged him to take regular exercise and get lots of fresh air and light.
What better way to follow these orders than to take up golf? Never one to deal in half measures, Samuel paid professional golfer Abe Mitchell to instruct him. He practised hard and soon got his handicap down to six.
Bridging his twin passions, he sponsored a Heath & Heather golf tournament in 1923. Three years later, he attended an informal trans-Atlantic golf tournament at Wentworth. Samuel watched Abe Mitchell win the decisive match before joining players from both teams for a drink.
Together, they conceived the idea of a regular match between British and American professionals, with the successful entrepreneur and keen amateur golfer providing the trophy.
The two teams first contested the trophy at the Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts, in June 1927. The Ryder Cup was born.↑ [... less]
Click on the thumbnail images below to read about four great Ryder Cup moments
- Jacklin ends US domination
At The Belfry in 1985, captain Tony Jacklin led Europe to its first Ryder Cup victory by 16 ½ - 11 ½. The last time a team from the eastern shore of the Atlantic had lifted the trophy was 1957, when it was composed only of players from Great Britain. Scotland’s Sam Torrance sunk the putt that confirmed a victory masterminded by Jacklin. Tears and champagne flowed as Europe celebrated a victory that ended the era of subservience to America’s golfers.
- Seve's joy on home soil
Europe’s team for the 1997 Ryder Cup drew on talent from across the continent. Captain Seve Ballesteros commanded players from Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Germany and the UK. The match was played at Valderamma in Ballesteros’s native Spain. Colin Montgomerie dominated European Tour golf in the 1990s. And the continent’s top player secured the crucial half point in the last singles match left on the course to seal a nail-biting 14 ½ - 13 ½ –victory.
- Langer masterminds record victory:
In 2004, Germany’s Bernhard Langer captained Europe to its record victory on US soil. At the Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan, Langer’s men led from start to finish. The first session of fourballs set the tone, as Europe registered 3 ½ out of a possible 4 points. Leading 11–5 as they headed into Sunday, Europe was pegged back by Tiger Woods’ victory in the first singles match. But the feared American onslaught never materialized and Europe coasted home by nine points, 18 ½ - 9 ½.
- Tearful Clarke inspires Europe
Top-level sport matters to a lot of people. But it is important not to lose a sense of perspective. Darren Clarke took his place in Europe’s team in 2006 just weeks after the death from cancer of his 39-year-old wife, Heather. Supported by his teammates and captain Ian Woosnam, an emotional Clarke teed off on the first morning of the match. It was the start of a round that saw him and playing partner Lee Westwood win a point for Europe. Clarke won all three of his matches at The K Club, Ireland, as Europe repeated the 2004 victory margin of 18 ½ - 9 ½.