Ryder Cup facts

1. The competition itself was the invention of Samuel Ryder, a wealthy English seed merchant. Ryder also commissioned the trophy, which was presented to the English Professional Golfers Association ahead of the first tournament in 1927. Ryder travelled with the team to the U.S., but they were well beaten.

2. The man depicted on the lid of the famous trophy is Abe Mitchell, who taught Ryder how to play golf. Mitchell was due to play in the 1927 contest. However, he was forced to withdraw with appendicitis, although he did go on to play in the next three cups.

3. In the early days of the competition, Europe and the U.S. both enjoyed victories, before America embarked on a remarkable run of success. Between 1935 and 1985, a period of 50 years, Europe only emerged victorious once, in 1957. It was an impressive spell for the Americans, although their run did coincide with World War II, which caused the competition to cease for 10 years.

4. European players such as Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal have become synonymous with this great contest, but until 1979 they were unable to compete. Originally the match was played between Great Britain and the U.S., with the rules being changed to make the competition more equal.

5. In the history of the Ryder Cup, three sets of brothers have teamed up for Europe. Charles, Ernest and Reg Whitcombe were the first, representing the 1935 Great Britain team that was beaten 9-3. In 1963, Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt became the second set of British brothers to taste defeat together, with the U.S. romping to a 23-9 victory. Edoardo and Francesco Molinari will be hoping for better luck, with both of the Italians being included in Colin Montgomerie’s 2010 European team.

6. In the event of an injury to a player on either team, each captain keeps the name of one team member in a sealed envelope. This man will withdraw from the singles competition if either team is unable to field the full compliment of 12 players. Each team will then be awarded half a point.

7. With two continents colliding in the sporting arena, it is hardly surprising interest in the event is huge. Thanks to modern technology, golf enthusiasts in 620 million households will be able to watch their golfing heroes go head-to-head via television and the internet.

8. It is a widely held belief that an army marches on its stomach, and if that is the case, the legions of fans at Celtic Manor will not go hungry. An estimated 20,000 portions of fish and chips, 15,000 quarter-pounder burgers, 7000 organic pies and 132,000 pints of beer will be consumed during the event.

9. Captain’s picks were only introduced for the 1979 Ryder Cup, and since then Europe have benefitted. U.S. team picks have won 46 percent of their matches, while European picks have won 52 percent.

10. Fans gathered at Celtic Manor will be hoping a legend is born over the three days of competition, and the venue already has a rich history of births. On January 1, 1940 it became a maternity hospital, with 60,000 babies being delivered there before it eventually closed in 1975.

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