Find Us

The Ryder Cup: How does it work?

The Ryder Cup Trophy
The Ryder Cup Trophy Copyright ERS/Paul Childs
Copyright ERS/Paul Childs
By Daniel Duffy
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The 42nd edition of the Ryder Cup takes place at Le Golf National near Paris on Friday. Here is Euronews' guide to how the biannual match between the United States and Europe works.


Every two years one of the world's most fascinating and thrilling sporting events takes place — The Ryder Cup.

Twelve of the finest golfers from Europe and the United States go head to head in the hope they can bring the famous trophy home. 

This year is the first time in the competition's history that all top 10 ranked players in the world will be participating in the event (six Americans and four Europeans).

The eyes of the world will descend on Le Golf National, France on Friday when the 42nd edition of the match will begin.

What is the Ryder Cup?

Unlike the majority of golf tournaments on the European Tour and PGA Tour, the Ryder Cup is a matchplay event rather than strokeplay.

Twenty-eight matches will be played over the three days and each match is worth one point.

If one side wins a match they gain one point. Unlike most matchplay events each match is played over 18 holes. If there is a draw after 18 holes the match is halved and each side will receive half a point.

In matchplay golfers from each side go head to head. At the beginning of a game, the match is all square (in other words a draw). If one player wins a hole they go '1 up' and the player that loses the hole is '1 down'.

So how many points are needed to win the Ryder Cup?

To win the Ryder Cup, you need 14.5 points. 

What happens if it is a 14-14 draw?

The holders of the trophy retain the Cup for another two years. In this instance, The United States would retain the trophy as they won the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

Team USA arrive in France ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup

The first two days of the contest are made up of four matches of four-balls and four matches of foursomes. The final day is made up of 12 singles matches.

What is the four-ball format?

The four-ball format consists of two players from each team playing their own golf ball against two players from the opposition team. The best score at the hole will win the hole.

What are foursomes?

Two players from each side team up but only play one golf ball but hit alternative shots. The best score at the hole wins the hole.

Sunday Singles Matches

All players will play in the Sunday singles session. In this format, the captain of each team will pick what order his players play from match 1 to match 12. The order in which the captains pick the players will decide who will play who based on the opposition captains order. It is a one on one situation. The best score at the hole wins the hole.

Who are the Captains?

Thomas Bjorn, 47, is the captain of the European Team. The Danish golfer has won 21 professional events in his career and came runner up in the Open Championship in 2000 and 2003. Bjorn won the Ryder Cup three times as a player and has been an assistant captain on four occasions.

Thomas Bjorn is looking forward to play getting underway

Jim Furyk is the captain of the US team. The 48-year-old has won 26 professional events including the US Open in 2003. Furyk played on the US Ryder Cup team on 9 occasions, and was on the winning side twice in 1999 and 2008. He was Assistant Captain to Davis Love III at Hazeltine in 2016.

The Venue

It is the first time the Ryder Cup has been staged in France. Le Golf National has hosted the French Open on 26 occasions. The course is considered a 'thinking mans' golf course. The course is protected by water and thick rough so players will have to make sure they find the fairway if they are to pick up valuable points.

Spectators will have an exceptional view of proceedings from the grandstand surrounding the first tee. 6500 patrons will be getting behind their team from the off. The atmosphere here on Friday morning will be electric and could have an effect on the players.

The first tee at Le Golf National

Will Europe be able to take back the Ryder Cup or will it be staying in the United States for another two years? May the best team win.

Mutual respect between the two Captains
Share this articleComments

You might also like

WATCH: Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo swims in Seine before Olympics

Paris mayor takes dip in the Seine to showcase its cleanliness as Olympic events loom

France brings in its army to up security ahead of Paris Olympics