With the Ryder Cup opening ceremony taking place this evening and with the golf properly beginning tomorrow afternoon, we felt it was appropriate to help the non golfing fan not feel left out of what is one of the most enjoyable sporting weekends that only comes about every two years.
Here is the balls.ie guide to The 39th Ryder Cup.
Q: What is The Ryder Cup?
A: It is a bi-annual golfing contest that takes place between two teams of twelve players, one representing Europe and the other representing America.
Q: Why is it called the Ryder Cup?
A: Its named after Samuel Ryder, an English seed merchant who donated a trophy to the event, after seeing a team from Britain and America play each other in an unofficial match in 1926. It officially began a year later.
Q: Where is it held this year?
A: As the venue alternates between Europe and America, its being held just outside Chicago this year at the Medinah Country Club
Q: How does the tournament work?
A: Over the course of 3 days there will be 28 different matches played under match play rules. 8 in Foursomes, 8 in Fourballs and 12 in Singles. Each match is worth a point and the first team that gets to 14.5 points wins. If it finishes 14-14, Europe retain the trophy after they won at Celtic Manor in Wales two years ago.
Q: What is match play golf?
A: Match play golf is where the object for the team/individual better their opponent(s) score on each individual hole, trying to win as many holes as possible.
Q: What is foursomes?
A: Foursomes is where teams of two play alternate shot against each other. Four of these matches will take place on both Friday and Saturday
(Example: McIlroy and McDowell are paired together. McIlroy tees off on the odd holes. McDowell tees off on the even holes)
Q: What is fourballs?
A: Fourballs is where teams of two play against each other with their own ball, with the lowest score counting as their teams score. Four of these matches will take place on both Friday and Saturday.
(Example: McIlroy and McDowell both tee off on each hole individually. Whoever gets the lowest score counts)
Q: What is singles?
A: The singles will happen on Sunday with all 24 players playing in 12 matches on Sunday. We wont know these pairings until late on Saturday.
Q: Who are the managers?
A: In the Ryder Cup they are called captains even though they have the the same functions as a manager. America is captained by 1997 USPGA Champion Davis Love III. Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal captains the European side. He won the Masters in 1994 and 1999.
Q: Is there any Irish involvement this year?
A: There are plenty. Both Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will be playing for Europe. Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley and both in the backroom team as vice captains.
Q: Are any of the American big stars playing?
A: They all are. Tiger, Phil, Bubba and co will all be at Medinah. Its the strongest Ryder Cup event in recent memory with all 24 players currently in the top 35 of the World Rankings. All the way from Rory McIlroy at Number 1 to Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts at Number 35.
Q: Where can we watch it?
A: Sky Sports have live coverage of the three days. If you dont have Sky Sports, BBC will show late night highlights of the events from Illinois.
Three Phrases That Will Make You Sound Like A Ryder Cup Expert
Rookie: A rookie is someone who is playing in the Ryder Cup for the first time. There are 5 Rookies in this years Competition. Nicolas Colsaerts is the only European rookie in the team. The Belgian has has an excellent season, winning the Volvo World Match Play earlier this year in Spain.
Wildcards/Captain's Picks: The qualification systems for both the American and European teams are different. Both captains are allowed pick players themselves to be on the team. The Americans were allowed four wildcard picks (Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker) whilst the Europeans were allowed two wildcard picks (Ian Poulter and Colsaerts)
Dormie: This is a rarely used matchplay term that means a player cant lose their match. If the player or team is for example 2 holes up with only 2 holes to play it means they are "dormie". The worst that can happen is that they draw the match.
We hope you enjoy this years Ryder Cup. We certainly will...