Ryder Cup: First sports ancestor

Written by Staff Writer Written by Staff Writer And the winning roars continued! Or has history only provided narratives in future centuries? The Ryder Cup matches return to the U.S. for the first time…

Ryder Cup: First sports ancestor

Written by Staff Writer

Written by Staff Writer

And the winning roars continued!

Or has history only provided narratives in future centuries?

The Ryder Cup matches return to the U.S. for the first time since 1999, and it’s the start of a captivating new sports legacy.

By the hands of Ryder Cup playwright of the previous contest , Davis Love III , a victory for the U.S. was inevitable, as is now evident. He told CNN’s

— a trip to the very right place at the very right time.

Chris Beck on must-see shows

CNN Films recently traveled to Gleneagles in Scotland to document the Ryder Cup’s hundredth anniversary and catch up with Davis Love III and his successors down the line.

First ever edition: 1893

The men who made the hosts of 1993.

At the turn of the 20th century the Ryder Cup was a rising star in the sporting calendar, little more than a tournament of flowers. Throughout the 19th century, the sixteenth-century international tournament reached its peak in a country with very little sports heritage. Not that the dress code of the men involved varied much either. Nearly everyone wore waistcoats, bowler hats and a selection of fiery accessories.

American lightweights Boston Bowler and Boston Globe columnist William DeBry competed against a bunch of English charmers in a spirit of humor and disregard for the competing teams’, more exalted athletic requirements. At the end of the nineteenth century, 16 players were on the field for a single day of match play and, after a narrow defeat for Bowler (by a stroke), the tournament was terminated.

It had been almost four years since the last Ryder Cup was played, and the interest had seemed ebbing away. But the U.S. visitors had one major advantage over their counterparts from across the Atlantic — access to a handsome tournament venue in the grounds of a country seat, Gleneagles.

In the space of one day, three new events and a new legacy were launched. The second born was an extended weekend with an international focus. “It became a who’s who of golf,” said Perry, the long-time Ryder Cup captain.

Players became divided between cross-frontier competitors and teams that had no previous tie-in. The Lions and Pirates teams accounted for the first three Ryder Cups, but were joined by teams of newly formed clubs who were determined to turn the game on its head.

“Just by the sheer size of the crowd and the size of the fields and the pace at which the ball was struck,” said Perry, “it really was a different ball game.”

Ryder Cup draw sharpens international rivalry

The events of the series also extended beyond the limits of the flag-waving crowds to the worldwide television audience, which eclipsed 50 million when a clash between Ryder Cup first-time professionals and professionals from the U.S. and Europe proved unexpectedly keenly contested.

The Ryder Cup was born to provoke.

Taylor Frank, President of Ryder Cup commissioner

It was an extraordinary moment. Players literally struck the pitch and putt at full tilt; crowds pulled out the lawn chairs to stake out their position in the fairway; scores were posted, and the true workings of competitive golf in America and Europe were brought into sharp relief.

Perry, of course, had a small hand in that rebirth, having successfully won a first contest to entice Arnold Palmer and Johnny Miller to the Ryder Cup table. That victory, though, brought the first surprise. With the players belonging to independent clubs, the immediate ramifications for the U.S. side were limited.

The U.S. soccer team later drew the ire of American owners by deciding to play the 1993 match on U.S. soil. To this day, U.S. sports teams receive considerable unrestrained endorsement from individual players.

Perry had little truck with players’ demands. “The rules were set out by Ryder Cup organizers and we set them.”

The 1950s

The beginning of the Ryder Cup life just before the turn of the century.

At the peak of the sport’s status in Europe, the Ryder Cup was in a period of ultimate infamy, as scandalous daily headlines reflected a general toxic state of the sport.

Yet, in the year when it was trying to revitalize its profile, the tournament’s Ryder Cup Sweden was transformed.

With 16 amateur players standing shoulder to shoulder with world-class professionals, it was clear the amateur panel had an advantage, but the strategy proved a flop. According to International Ryder Cup player Alec Snow : “It was dreadful. We didn’t have anything.”

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