Friday, September 29, marks the start of the 44th Ryder Cup, a biennial tradition that has pitted the United States against Europe since 1927. Although the United States leads the all-time series by a score of 27-14-2 and currently holds the trophy, having won the last tournament in 2021, they face an uphill battle this time around.
Simply put, they need to win on the road, something the United States has not done in thirty years.
When was the last time the US won in Europe?
1993. The United States captain was Tom Watson. He and his merry men, consisting of Paul Azinger, Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Lee Janzen (rookie), Corey Pavin, Payne Stewart, John Cook (rookie), Davis Love III (rookie), Chip Beck, Jim Gallagher Jr. (rookie), Raymond Floyd, and Lanny Wadkins, took down the European team by a final of 15-13. The US team actually trailed by a point after two days of play, posting six single-match wins and halving two more on the final day to mount the comeback.
Which side has done better recently?
Although the United States is the reigning champs. Europe has won nine of the 13 Ryder Cups since 1993. They've outscored the United States 196.5-164.5, and that's including the United States' dominant 19-9 victory in 2021.
The most devastating loss for the US in that span came in 2004. On home turf, Oakland Hills Golf Club in Michigan, the US team failed to win ten matches, falling 18.5 to 9.5. Even worse, Europe doubled down the following Ryder Cup, winning by the exact same score at The K Club in Straffan, Ireland.
How does this US team stack up to teams of the past?
Good news for our USA fans out there. On paper, this American team should have no trouble wiping the floor with the Europeans once again. More than half of the United States' championship-winning team from 2021 -- Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas -- is returning for this Italian kerfuffle.
That said, the five members who are not returning for the US went a combined 11-5-1 in their matches. Dustin Johnson alone went 5-0. His departure certainly has our cross-Atlantic adversaries smiling. On the bright side though, of Team Europe's six returning members, only Jon Rahm (3-1-1) had a positive record in 2021. Since 2023 will feature an entirely different course though, 2021 probably holds close to zero significance.
When did the Ryder Cup start?
The first official Ryder Cup took place in 1927, with an unofficial tournament having taken place a year prior. This tournament was between only English and American golfers, and saw Old Glory waving victorious by the end -- 9.5 to 2.5.
It wasn't until 1979 when the entirety of Europe was included in the Ryder Cup. Since then, Europe holds an 11-9-1 advantage.
How do ties happen?
With a total of 28 points to be handed out, the Ryder Cup victor is determined when either side reaches 14.5 points. If both sides reach exactly 14 points though, the match ends in a draw, with the winner of the previous Ryder Cup retaining the trophy.
There have only been two ties in Ryder Cup history (1969 and 1989).
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ryder Cup history: US looks to break decades-long road losing streak