The event has seen some of the greatest players ever compete in it, but who is the best Ryder Cup player ever?
10 Best Ryder Cup Players
The Ryder Cup has had a long and illustrious history so far with some of the greatest players ever to grace the game locking horns all in the hope of winning the trophy. But who is the best ever Ryder Cup player? This very question is sure to divide opinion across Europe and America, but that hasn’t stopped us from giving it a go. In this piece we put forward our 10 best ever Ryder Cup players. Do you agree with our selections? Is there someone else that should have been included?
In terms of playing record, we should probably list Seve with his Spanish compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal simply because they were nearly unbeatable when paired together. In total they played together 15 times and lost twice producing 12 points which is six more than the next most successful pairing.
But it was not just his record that made him a great player in the event. It was his passion, flair and at times, gamesmanship that differentiated him from others. During the 1980’s and 90’s he helped make the Ryder Cup what it is today, which is one of the biggest events in global sport.
As of right now, Poulter has the best winning percentage of any player to have played a minimum of 15 matches. Poulter’s record is 12-4-2 which is a percentage of .722 and that would have been even better had it not been for 2014 where he had one loss and two halves.
Of course Poulter should best be remembered for his exploits in 2008 where he produced four points from five matches, and obviously 2012 where he brought Europe back from 10-5 down to win the Cup in whats known as the Miracle of Medinah.
Faldo makes our list due to his longevity and he, along with Seve, helped make the event what it is today. He is the leading point scorer for Europe with 25 and has an overall record of 23-19-4. That is a total of 46 matches which is the most ever and he is currently tied for the most Ryder Cup appearances ever with 11. (Although Phil Mickelson is set to break that in the coming weeks as he plays in his 12th Ryder Cup at Le Golf National).
Montgomerie is arguably the greatest Ryder Cup player Europe have ever produced. He never lost in the singles from eight matches, was a consistent rock in the European team that always produced a point when needed and also he frequently got under the skin of the other teams players and fans. His overall record was 20-9-7.
Garcia’s recent record may be a little to be desired, but like Seve before him, he brought unquestionable passion and fire to the event which brought out the best in his game. In singles he only has a record of 3-4-1 but when paired with someone else, he flourished; in foursomes his record is 9-3-3 and in four balls it is 7-4-3. He will make his ninth appearance in the event after getting selected as a wildcard pick by Thomas Bjorn for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
He may only be playing his third event in 2018, but Reed is fast becoming an imperious opponent in the Ryder Cup after producing 3.5 points in 2014 and 2016. His 2016 singles match against Rory McIlroy in particular will go down as one of the greatest ever and Reed somehow managed to win the match 1up which gave the Americans the platform to close the Cup out. He may not be the best liked player on Tour, but when the Ryder Cup comes around, every American is glad that he is on their team.
Whilst Jack’s overall record is 16 wins, eight losses and three halves which is good, his more lasting legacy is his famous concession to Tony Jacklin in 1969. After holing a putt against Jacklin in the singles, the Englishman was left with a short putt for par. Nicklaus, instead of making Jacklin knock it in, famously gave him the putt and said; “I don’t think you would have missed it, but I wasn’t going to give you the chance, either.”
An incredible act of sportsmanship, the two sides tied and the ideals of that match have lived on in every contest since.
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Looking strictly at the numbers, you could be forgiven for thinking that Arnold Palmer is probably the greatest player in the event ever. 22 wins, 8 losses and two halves is fairly comprehensive. However, we should acknowledge that the opponents he was playing were nowhere near up to his standard whereas the quality of the competition nowadays is significantly better across the board.
That isn’t taking anything away from Palmer though because after all you still have to beat the player in front of you, a task Palmer did regularly.
Points wise, Casper is the most successful American to play in the event winning 23.5 points and he was a crucial part of a dominant American team during the 1960s and 70’s. (Although he does have the same limitations as Palmer above).
Wadkins just makes our list for a couple of reasons. He has a very good record with 20 wins, 11 losses and three halves, and also he bought passion, steel and determination to the American team on more than one occasion.
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