Ryder Cup - Did you know?

  • Last Updated: September 25 2012, 18:39 BST

A collection of interesting facts about the history of the Ryder Cup and this year's venue - the Medinah Country Club.

  • Costantino Rocca: Celebrates his hole-in-one back in 1995
  • Medinah Country Club: Hosting the Ryder Cup 
  • Samuel Ryder and the British team depart on a train to the first Ryder Cup in 1927 
  • A bout of appendicitis prevented Abe Mitchell from competing in the inaugural Ryder Cup, but he took part in the next three 
  • At 62, Byron Nelson (far right) was the oldest ever American Ryder Cup captain back in 1965 
  • Ballesteros and Olazabal were a formidable Ryder Cup pairing 
  • Nick Faldo: 11 Ryder Cup appearances 
  • Manuel Pinero: The unlikely hero of 1985 

Medinah Country Club, previously 650 acres of farmland and forest, was designed by Scottish architect Tom Bendelow and opened in 1925.

The Number Three course is the one being used for the Ryder Cup. Play on that started in 1928 and it was originally meant for the wives and girlfriends of club members.


Medinah's distinctive clubhouse measures 60,000 square feet and was constructed in the late 1920s at a cost of 600,000. Building it today would cost more than 20million, it is reckoned.

The country retreat was for a local group of Shriners - "the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine", to give them their full title, often associated with freemasons and best known now for their children's hospitals and the red fezzes members wear.

From a membership of around 1,500 the onset of the Great Depression created great financial hardship and as numbers dwindled the requirement that only Shriners could join was removed.


Host venue for three US Opens between 1949 and 1990 and the USPGA Championships of 1999 and 2006 - both won by Tiger Woods - Medinah No 3 has been re-designed by Rees Jones and will measure 7,668 yards for the 39th Ryder Cup.


In 1927 English penny seed merchant Samuel Ryder presented the Ryder Cup to the Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland as a prize for an international competition.

Commissioned for £250, the trophy stands 17 inches high, is nine inches from handle to handle and weighs four pounds.

The golfing figure depicted on top of the trophy reflects the image of Abe Mitchell, a former gardener himself and a friend and instructor of Samuel Ryder.

A bout of appendicitis prevented Mitchell from competing in the inaugural match in 1927, but he took part in the next three.


The oldest Ryder Cup captains were 62-year-old JH Taylor for Britain and Ireland in 1933 and 53-year-old Byron Nelson for America in 1965.

Davis Love is 48 and Jose Maria Olazabal 46, six years older than Seve Ballesteros was at Valderrama in 1997.

Arnold Palmer was the last playing-captain in 1963 while the last European to undertake both roles was Dai Rees in 1961.


There have been six holes-in-one at Ryder Cups, only one of them by an American.

Peter Butler aced the 16th at Muirfield in 1973, Nick Faldo the 14th at The Belfry in 1993, Costantino Rocca the sixth at Oak Hill in 1995, Howard Clark the 11th at Oak Hill the following day, Paul Casey the 14th at The K Club in 2006 (it won the match) and Scott Verplank the same hole the following day.


Dai Rees captained the Great Britain team the most times, leading them on five occasions in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1967. His only victory as skipper came at Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire in 1957, as USA suffered what would be only their second defeat between 1933 and 1985.

Tony Jacklin has captained Europe the most with four appearances as skipper in a row from 1983 to 1989, losing the first, winning the next two and drawing the last.


The biggest margin of Ryder Cup victory ever was the United States' 23.5 - 8.5 triumph over Great Britain in Houston back in 1967. Since Team Europe was formed in 1979, the biggest win has been 18.5 - 9.5, which has been achieved three times in total. Europe have managed it twice in 2004 and 2006 while the USA's victory in 1981 was also by the same scoreline.


Nick Faldo currently holds the record for the most appearances with 11 while he's also played in more matches and earned up more points than any other player in the history of the event. The Englishman featured in every Ryder Cup from 1977 to 1997, scoring a total of 25 points from his 46 matches which leaves him one ahead of Germany's Bernhard Langer (24 from 42) in the all-time rankings. The top US points scorer is Billy Casper with 23.5 while the 37 matches he chalked up is also an American record.


Several players can boast 100% records but usually those who haven't played that many matches. America's Jimmy Demaret, who was part of the 1947, 1949, and 1951 teams, has the best of the 100% records having won all six of his matches.

By contrast there are a number of players who failed to score even half a point in their Ryder Cup careers but statistically the worst of those is Britain's Alf Padgham, who lost all seven of his matches from 1933-1937.


Although Team Europe was formed in 1979 to make the Ryder Cup more competitive, they had to wait until their fourth attempt before they could celebrate victory over the Americans. On that occasion at the Belfry in 1985, Spain's Manuel Pinero proved to be the unlikely hero with four points from his five matches as the Europeans claimed a 16.5-11.5 victory.


As previously mentioned, Howard Clark is one of only six players to have managed a Ryder Cup hole-in-one - but the Englishman also has his name etched in the competition's history for the wrong reasons. His 8&7 loss to Tom Kite in 1987 was the heaviest ever singles defeat since the format of Ryder Cup matches were changed to a maximum of 18 holes rather than 36 - although eight years later this record was equalled when Fred Couples thrashed Ian Woosnam.


Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal are easily the most successful Ryder Cup pairing ever and it could take many years before their record is even rivalled, let alone eclipsed. The Spaniards teamed up for 15 matches in total and picked up 12 points, which included 11 wins, two halves and just two defeats. The pairing of Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam are next with six points from 10 matches while Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke have managed the same haul from eight matches.

The USA have also forged a few 'dream teams' of their own, including Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson, who managed five wins out of five together, and Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, who also enjoyed a 100% record from four matches as a team.