The Ryder Cup is a golf tournament that has been held every two years since 1927 between a selection of US players and one of European players. Usually the competition takes place in autumn, in September or October.
The competition, which takes its name from the trophy donated by the Englishman Samuel Ryder (1858–1936) to the American federation in 1924, is co-managed by the European Tour and the PGA of America.
From 1927 to 1971 the tournament was played between the selection of the United States and that of Great Britain, with a clear American dominance (15-3) and only one draw. Ireland was incorporated into Great Britain in 1973 and the rest of continental Europe in 1979. Following the acceptance of the European team as the antagonist of the US one, the tournament was much more balanced: from 1979 to 2018, in fact, there were eleven wins for Europe, eight for the United States and only one draw.
The Ryder Cup matches involve various types of match play between the players chosen from the 2 teams each played over 18 holes. According to the formula now in force, the competition includes eight foursomes challenges, eight fourballs and twelve individual matches. The winner or the winning couple of each match gets one point for their team, in case of a tie both teams get half a point.
A foursome match is a match between two pairs of golfers: players from the same team take turns hitting the ball. Fourball is always a game between two pairs, but each player completes his hole independently, choosing the best result of the pair, and comparing it with that of his opponents.
Finally, an individual challenge is a match between two golfers in which each golfer finishes his hole and compares his result with that of his opponent. In all three cases each hole is won by the team or individual with the least number of strokes, and whoever wins the most holes wins the match.
The challenges take place over three days: from Friday to Sunday (except in 2010 when, due to bad weather, the tournament ended on Monday), for a total of 28 matches.