Ryder Cup Revealed: Tales of the Unexpected is a new book from Ross Biddiscombe, take a look at an excerpt from the book here and get a Golf Monthly reader offer to boot
“There is much mythology surrounding the moment of conception of the Ryder Cup, but it is time for a fresh perspective. Most golf histories state that Samuel Ryder’s decision to help create the matches was a spontaneous one at Wentworth in 1926. British and American professionals had just staged their second attempt at an international challenge at a time when the Walker Cup for amateurs was already established. But the pros’ match at Wentworth was fraught with problems and another match seemed unlikely any time soon. Then, during a random post-match conversation, Ryder is said to have offered – it seems almost impulsively – to buy a trophy for a regular contest and pay for a party with his now-famous promise of “champagne and chicken sandwiches”.
Although Ryder made good his promise, the words at Wentworth are probably a myth. More likely was that Ryder attended the Surrey event with a definite plan. He had been sponsoring golf tournaments in Britain since 1923 and understood the value of golf-related promotion for his seed and herb companies, so he combined his natural generosity with his business acumen to secure a classic win-win situation: with his money and organisational impetus, the British golf professionals who he so admired, were able to take on the mighty Americans in a proper biannual competition. The golfers got their tournament while Ryder’s name and his companies were publicised on both sides of the Atlantic.
In fact, the Ryder Cup was in the vanguard of international professional team sports at that time. The inaugural match in 1927 took place at a time when tournaments between pro sports teams from different countries were extremely rare. Amateurs had ruled for decades, like the England-Australia cricket Test Matches that began in 1882 (although they included a few semi-pros). Amateur tennis players had started the Davis Cup in 1900 and rugby matches between ‘gentlemen’ players of the home nations had happened even earlier. In terms of professional internationals, only football rivalled golf, although the football World Cup was not played until 1930. In fact, the Ryder Cup did a lot to convince the golfing world that professionals – not the amateurs like the legendary American Bobby Jones – were the future of the sport. With Samuel Ryder’s help, the pro’s status as a working class servant to upper class golf club members began to change. Nine decades later, it is hard to believe that such a situation ever existed.”
The acclaimed new book Ryder Cup Revealed: Tales of the Unexpected is on offer to Golf Monthly readers at a very special price for the whole of September – just £10* which is half the normal retail price.
The book is a unique and fascinating investigation of the money, the business, the rivalry, the controversies, the politics and even the potential future of golf’s greatest team event.
Plus it highlights the inimitable characters who graced the contests, from Seve Ballesteros all the way back to Walter Hagen. For this unbeatable offer, go to www.rydercuprevealed.com and click on the ‘Golf Monthly Offer’ buy button.
*the offer is exclusive of postage & package