Ryder Cup 2014, Gleneagles, Scotland
Surely the greatest international team sporting competition in the world after the football World Cup comes home, home to the country known as the ‘Home of Golf’, when it descends on Gleneagles in September 2014. We are, of course, talking about the Ryder Cup, a sporting extravaganza of frenzied, commentator panting, spectator yelling and player fist pumping proportions that is set to blaze a trail through rural Perthshire.
Golf these days is a multi-billion pound global industry, but what makes the Ryder Cup, or the Ryder Cup Matches as they are officially titled, so special is that none of the global golfing superstars from the United States or Europe are paid a single penny or cent to take part. They do it out of sheer competitiveness, utter passion and bitter, compelling rivalry that makes the event deeply compelling whether viewed on TV or, even better, in the flesh in Perthshire.
Long gone are the days when all the United States had to do to win was just turn up. In the wake of World War Two the dominance of the United States over what was then the British and Irish team was becoming embarrassing. In 1979 continental Europe was drafted in with impressive results as Spaniards such as Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido made an immediate impact. Since 1979 Europe has won nine times against the United States’ seven, leaving matters finely balanced with only one more Stateside competition before Gleneagles.
The format of the Ryder Cup is totally different to most single player tournaments. The two teams of twelve engage in a series of match play competitions. These consist of eight foursome matches, eight fourball fixtures and then a dozen singles ties. The scoring is simple with the winner of each match scoring a point for their team, with half a point each for any match that is tied after the regulation 18 holes. If the final tournament score is a draw the winning team from the previous Ryder Cup prevails.
The setting for the Ryder Cup is fitting in 2014 as the first ever recorded match between a team from the United States and Britain was actually staged at Gleneagles in 1921. Today the great men who played that day could not fail to be impressed by the venue for 2014. Legendary golfer and course designer Jack Nicklaus has been drafted in to help ensure that the PGA Centenary Course is spot on. Nicklaus is more than happy with Gleneagles, describing the land that the course graces as ‘the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with’. It is this sort of praise and renown that makes the Ryder Cup such an important event for Gleneagles, Perthshire and Scotland.
Scotland is already renowned the world over as the undoubted Home of Golf and it is the perfect setting for what has become one of the world’s greatest team sport events. The golf is always good in Perthshire, but it will take on an air of greatness from September 26-28, 2014, when the likes of Luke Donald and Rory Mcllroy take on the might of the United States in the shape of Tiger Wood and Phil Mickelson across the superb Jack Nicklaus carved PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles.