The competition began following an exhibition match in 1926 of a team representing American professionals against a similar one representing the British PGA on the East Course, Wentworth Club, Virginia Water and Surrey, UK.
Early matches between the two sides were fairly even, but after the Second World War, repeated US dominance led to a decision to extend the representation of the British & Irish team to Europe in 1979.
As a result of this change the event has enjoyed more competitive matches, with Europe winning seven times and retaining the cup once, compared to six American wins.
The Ryder Cup Matches involve various match play matches between players selected from two teams of twelve. Currently, the matches consist of eight foursomes matches, eight fourball matches and twelve singles matches. The winner of each match scores a point for their team, with half a point each for any match that is tied after 18 holes.
A foursomes match is a competition between two teams of two golfers. The golfers on the same team take alternate shots throughout the match, with the same ball. Each hole is won by the team that completes the hole in the fewest shots. A fourball match is also a competition between two teams of two golfers, but all four golfers play their own ball throughout the round rather than alternating shots, and each hole is won by the team whose individual golfer has the lowest score. A singles match is a standard matchplay competition between two golfers.
The matches take place over three days, Friday through Sunday. On the Friday, there are four fourball matches and four foursomes matches in the afternoon. On the Saturday, the same schedule repeats. On the Sunday, there are twelve singles matches. Not all players need play on Friday and Saturday; the captain can select any eight players for each of the four rounds of play over these two days.