There is probably no better place to start this week than the Ryder Cup. The 43rd match will commence this Friday at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin. The competition is easily the most anticipated team event in golf and probably matches, if not surpasses, the drama of the four Majors. The event also provides a unique atmosphere not normally witnessed in PGA or European Tour events, and is probably closer to a football match than a normal golfing occasion.
The history of the tournament is interesting and demonstrates how administrators and golf federations have altered the rules in order to keep the event interesting. The original match was not Europe versus the United States (US), but rather Great Britain vs the US. Prior to the Great Depression, both countries met for the inaugural Ryder Cup at the Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts in 1927, with the home team winning easily by 9½–2½. Britain would gain revenge two years later at Moortown Golf Club, Yorkshire winning by 7 points to 5. Seventeen more matches would be held between 1931 and 1971 but Great Britain would win just two, and never in the US.
In order to break a US winning streak of six Ryder Cup matches, starting in 1959, Ireland joined with Great Britain from 1973 (1969 was drawn). However, USA versus Great Britain and Ireland did little to improve balance, with the latter losing all three Ryder Cups in 1973, 1975 and 1977.
With the US on a 9-match winning streak, Team Europe was formed for the 1979 Cup. While the US would win the next three matches, the winning streak did come to an end at the Belfrey in 1985 thanks to Tony Jacklin's team (unlucky 13 maybe). The tables below present the wins and home wins by team for all 42 Ryder Cups to date.
Uncertainty of outcome, which was effectively eroded between 1959 and 1985 (1983 was a close run match), has been restored. If anything, Europe have dominated in recent years winning 9 of the last 14 matches. 3 of these European wins came on American soil.
The US on the other hand, have not won in Europe since 1993 at the Belfrey. With the next match not in Europe until 2023, it will be at least 30 years since an American win in Europe. It will be Italy's first time hosting the event and I am sure they will be trying to keep the European home win streak running.