How does the Ryder Cup exactly work?

The three-day event begins on Friday at Hazeltine

BY Daniel Kelly 13:55 Wednesday 28 September 2016, 13:55 28 Sep 2016

Europe team captain Darren Clarke (left) and Team USA captain Davis Love III hold the Ryder Cup.Picture by: Peter Byrne / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Ryder Cup begins on Friday afternoon as the 41st matches take place at Hazeltine National in Minnesota.

A biennial event, sees non-golfing fans focus in on the event, and the matchplay format means that casual fans may not be sure of the vocabulary used this week.

The event takes place over three days, and not the traditional four. 28 matches will be played with a point awarded for each one. If the match ends all-square, both teams will earn a half point.

14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup. On only one occasion has the event finished in a draw. On only two occasions (1969 and 1989) has the event ended in a draw. If it finishes 14-14 on Sunday evening, Europe will retain the trophy as the current holders. The impetus will be on USA to reach that 14.5-point mark.

The 28 matches, will be split into eight on Friday, eight on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. Foursomes, fourballs and singles formats will be used over the three days.

Friday morning will see the event start with four foursomes matches, followed by four fourballs matches in the afternoon. The same format will be used on Saturday.

Foursomes involves teams of two, playing alternate shots, using a single ball. Player A will always tee off on the odd-numbered holes and Player B will do the same on the even-numbered ones. This is the quickest format that will be used on the opening days.

Fourballs sees teams of two, play with their own golf balls. The lowest score of the duo will count on each hole.

Sunday will be where the event is won or lost, with 12 points up for grabs. Each player will play in a singles match against an opponent. It is the only match each player is guaranteed in the weekend.

Theoretically, a captain could choose to play the same four duos on the opening two days, four times, and leave the remaining four players to play on Sunday.

At the start of each competition, each captain will write the name of a player in an envelope, and hand it to officials. If for any reason, an injured player cannot compete in the Sunday singles, he will be automatically paired with the player in the envelope and each team will be given half a point.

It's an exciting event, with varied formats. The race to 14.5 points will begin on Friday with the first tee shot on Friday.


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