1979 Ryder Cup
|23rd Ryder Cup Matches|
|Dates||September 14–16, 1979|
The Greenbrier Course
|Location||White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia|
|Captains||Billy Casper (USA)
John Jacobs (Europe)
|United States wins the Ryder Cup|
It was the beginning of a new era for the Ryder Cup. For the first time, players from continental Europe took part in the Ryder Cup (specifically, Seve Ballesteros and Antonio Garrido of Spain). The new Team Europe replaced Great Britain and Ireland as the official opposition to the United States. It was hoped that the change would help raise the profile of the competition and bring about the end of near total domination by the United States that had existed since the end of the Second World War. However the change made no real impact at the first attempt as the United States won the competition easily by a score of 17 to 11 points and led after every session. Ballesteros and Garrido played together in all four team sessions and were 1–3; both lost their singles matches on Sunday. All four of Ballesteros' losses came against Larry Nelson.
Jack Nicklaus, age 39, failed to make the team for the first time since becoming eligible in 1969. Tom Watson left the day before the competition for the birth of his first child and was replaced on the team by first alternate Mark Hayes.
- Day 1 — 4 four-ball (better ball) matches in a morning session and 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches in an afternoon session
- Day 2 — 4 foursome matches in a morning session and 4 four-ball matches in an afternoon session
- Day 3 — 12 singles matches, 6 each in morning and afternoon sessions
With a total of 28 points, 14½ points were required to win the Cup. All matches were played to a maximum of 18 holes.
Captain: Billy Casper
Captain: John Jacobs
September 14, 1979
|Garrido/Ballesteros||2 & 1||Wadkins/Nelson|
|Brown/James||3 & 2||Trevino/Zoeller|
|Oosterhuis/Faldo||2 & 1||Bean/Elder|
|Gallacher/Barnes||2 & 1||Irwin/Mahaffey|
|Brown/Smyth||7 & 6||Irwin/Kite|
|Ballesteros/Garrido||3 & 2||Zoeller/Green|
|Gallacher/Barnes||4 & 3||Wadkins/Nelson|
September 15, 1979
|Jacklin/Lyle||5 & 4||Elder/Mahaffey|
|Faldo/Oosterhuis||6 & 5||Bean/Kite|
|Gallacher/Barnes||2 & 1||Zoeller/Hayes|
|Ballesteros/Garrido||3 & 2||Wadkins/Nelson|
|Ballesteros/Garrido||5 & 4||Wadkins/Nelson|
|Gallacher/Barnes||3 & 2||Trevino/Zoeller|
September 16, 1979
|Bernard Gallacher||3 & 2||Lanny Wadkins|
|Seve Ballesteros||3 & 2||Larry Nelson|
|Tony Jacklin||1 up||Tom Kite|
|Antonio Garrido||1 up||Mark Hayes|
|Michael King||4 & 3||Andy Bean|
|Brian Barnes||1 up||John Mahaffey|
|Nick Faldo||3 & 2||Lee Elder|
|Des Smyth||5 & 3||Hale Irwin|
|Peter Oosterhuis||2 up||Hubert Green|
|Ken Brown||1 up||Fuzzy Zoeller|
|Sandy Lyle||2 & 1||Lee Trevino|
|Mark James||halved||Gil Morgan|
Controversy and fallout
On their return to the United Kingdom, Mark James and Ken Brown received the highest fines in professional golf up to this point. James received a £1500 fine for "unprofessional conduct" and Brown was fined £1000 and banned from international duty for 12 months.
- You Tube: 1979 Ryder Cup Sunday singles
- "Ryder Cup goes Continental". The Age (Melbourne, Australia). May 31, 1978. p. 26.
- "British receive help in Ryder Cup change". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. May 30, 1978. p. 19.
- Jenkins, Dan (September 24, 1979). "The U.S. rookies were rough Ryders". Sports Illustrated: 26.
- "Not-so-good loser". Miami News. September 17, 1979. p. 1C.
- "Nelson-led Yanks retain Ryder Cup". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. September 17, 1979. p. 19.
- "U.S. minus Watson as Ryder Cup starts". St. Petersburg Times. wire services. September 14, 1979. p. 6C.
- Mark James withdrew because of injury. Gil Morgan was also injured, so this match was not actually played.