1999 Ryder Cup

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33rd Ryder Cup Matches
Dates   September 24–26, 1999
Venue   The Country Club
Location   Brookline, Massachusetts
Captains   Ben Crenshaw (USA)
Mark James (Europe)
United States   14½    13½   Europe
United States wins the Ryder Cup



Country Club is located in USA
Country Club
Country Club
Location in the United States

The 33rd Ryder Cup Matches, also known as the "Battle of Brookline",[1] were held September 24–26, 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb southwest of Boston.

The American team won the competition by a margin of 14½ to 13½, The Europeans, leading 10–6 heading into the final round, needed only 4 points on the final day to retain the cup. But the Americans rallied on Sunday, winning the first 6 matches of the day to surge into the lead. Jim Furyk upset Sergio García to give the Americans their 8th point of the day, and the Americans recaptured the cup when Justin Leonard halved his match with José María Olazábal.

The behavior of the U.S. team was criticized after they raucously invaded the 17th green following a long putt from Leonard before Olazábal could tackle a shorter putt which would have kept European hopes alive, an incident which was viewed by many as appalling sportsmanship.[2][3] Veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke described the last day of the tournament as "a date that will live in infamy" in a Letter from America entitled "The arrival of the golf hooligan".[4]

It was nevertheless tied as the largest come-from-behind victory in Ryder Cup history with Europe achieving the same feat in 2012, and it is widely regarded as one of the most impressive come-from-behind victories in recent sports history.[5]

This was also one of the last public appearances of Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash less than a month later.

Pre-match tensions and aftermath[edit]

Members of the U.S. team spoke out in press conferences in what appeared to be a blatant attempt to bait certain members of the European team into a confrontational response.[6] Jeff Maggert being one of the worst offenders when (at the time ranked 18 in the world) lavishly and outspokenly said "lets face it, we've got the worlds' 12 best players".[6] Colin Montgomerie was one of the first to respond detailing "You want someone to bite?, well I'm not going to!"[7] Payne Stewart also claimed by the strength of the European team, they should be caddying for the U.S. team not playing against them.[8]

The bad atmosphere continued into the week with the American fans heckling and abusing the European players to the point that Payne Stewart, playing Montgomerie in the Sunday singles, picked his ball up on the 18th fairway and conceded the match out of courtesy to Montgomerie who seemed to be the target of the majority of the fans taunts.[9] Analysis of the event in its aftermath seemed to conclude that the U.S. team and their fans' behavior throughout the matches had been unacceptable which led to many apologies from many of the American players.[10] Many American journalists had conceded that the matches had become so intense to the point that they were no longer being played in the spirit that Samuel Ryder had intended.[11]

On November 18, 1999 Captain Ben Crenshaw and his two co-captains, Bill Rogers and Bruce Lietzke, recounted events before a black tie dinner held for members of the Men's Golf association of the San Antonio Country Club where Co-Captain Rogers was Director of Golf at the time. Those events just 8 weeks prior were captured and posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8685a-_Axs

17th green incident[edit]

In the Sunday singles, Justin Leonard playing José María Olazábal in the ninth match of the order arrived at the green all square with at that point the U.S. team having 14 points and only requiring Leonard's point or half a point to make the remarkable comeback complete. Putting first from over 40 feet from the hole, he sank the putt meaning if Jose didn't hole his putt of roughly 25 feet then USA would be guaranteed victory as Leonard would be 1up with one hole to play thus gaining at least half a point. When Leonard's putt went in, almost the entire U.S. team and some fans ran onto the green to congratulate him being completely oblivious to the fact should Olazábal hole his putt then the match would technically still not be over. Not only did they act prematurely but many of the players and camera crew who had ran onto the green to film the incident walked over the putting line of Olazábal which goes against the etiquette of golf.

This incident was met with extreme criticism from the worlds' watching media accusing the Americans of bad sportsmanship. Many of the European players were extremely critical of their actions including Sam Torrance one of the vice captains calling the American's behavior "disgusting".[12] Tom Lehman who was singled out as one of the worst offenders admitted the U.S. team had been more than over-exuberant on the final day of the competition and apologized on the teams' behalf.[12]

The course[edit]

The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. It was one of the five charter clubs which founded the United States Golf Association, and has hosted numerous USGA tournaments including the U.S. Open in 1913, won by then-unknown Francis Ouimet. The club is one of the largest of its kind in the northeastern U.S., with about 1300 members.


The Ryder Cup is a match play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format used from 1991 to 2002 was as follows:

  • Day 1 (Friday) — 4 four-ball (better ball) matches in a morning session and 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches in an afternoon session
  • Day 2 (Saturday) — 4 foursome matches in a morning session and 4 four-ball matches in an afternoon session
  • Day 3 (Sunday) — 12 singles matches

With a total of 28 points, 14½ points were required to win the Cup, and 14 points were required for the defending champion to retain the Cup. All matches were played to a maximum of 18 holes.


Europe Team Europe[edit]

The 1999 European Team Points Table began in September 1998, and concluded on August 22, 1999, after the BMW International Open. The top 10 players in the Points Table qualified automatically for the team. Captain Mark James then left out the number 11 player Robert Karlsson and the experienced (but out-of-form) Bernhard Langer by instead selecting Andrew Coltart and Jesper Parnevik as the two 'wild card' players to round out the team.

Captain: England Mark James

United States Team USA[edit]

The 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup Team was chosen on the basis of points compiled by the PGA of America, early 1998, through the 81st PGA Championship, Aug. 12-15, 1999. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes at PGA Tour co-sponsored or sanctioned events, with added emphasis on major championships and events played during the Ryder Cup year. The top 10 finishers on the points list automatically qualified for the 12-member team, and U.S. Captain Ben Crenshaw selected the final two players—Steve Pate and Tom Lehman.

Captain: Ben Crenshaw

Friday's matches[edit]

Morning foursomes[edit]

Europe Results United States
Montgomerie/Lawrie Europe 3 & 2 Mickelson/Duval
García/Parnevik Europe 2 & 1 Lehman/Woods
Jiménez/Harrington halved Love III/Stewart
Clarke/Westwood United States 3 & 2 Maggert/Sutton

Afternoon four-ball[edit]

Europe Results United States
Montgomerie/Lawrie halved Love III/Leonard
García/Parnevik Europe 1 up Mickelson/Furyk
Jiménez/Olazábal Europe 2 & 1 Maggert/Sutton
Clarke/Westwood Europe 1 up Duval/Woods
Session ½
6 Overall 2

Saturday's matches[edit]

Morning foursomes[edit]

Europe Results United States
Montgomerie/Lawrie United States 1 up Sutton/Maggert
Clarke/Westwood Europe 3 & 2 Furyk/O'Meara
Jiménez/Harrington United States 1 up Woods/Pate
Parnevik/García Europe 3 & 2 Stewart/Leonard
2 Session 2
8 Overall 4

Afternoon four-ball[edit]

Europe Results United States
Clarke/Westwood United States 2 & 1 Mickelson/Lehman
Parnevik/García halved Love III/Duval
Jiménez/Olazábal halved Leonard/Sutton
Montgomerie/Lawrie Europe 2 & 1 Pate/Woods
2 Session 2
10 Overall 6

Sunday's singles matches[edit]

Europe Results United States
Lee Westwood United States 3 & 2 Tom Lehman
Darren Clarke United States 4 & 2 Hal Sutton
Jarmo Sandelin United States 4 & 3 Phil Mickelson
Jean van de Velde United States 6 & 5 Davis Love III
Andrew Coltart United States 3 & 2 Tiger Woods
Jesper Parnevik United States 5 & 4 David Duval
Pádraig Harrington Europe 1 up Mark O'Meara
Miguel Ángel Jiménez United States 2 & 1 Steve Pate
José María Olazábal halved Justin Leonard
Colin Montgomerie Europe 1 up Payne Stewart
Sergio García United States 4 & 3 Jim Furyk
Paul Lawrie Europe 4 & 3 Jeff Maggert
13½ Overall 14½


  1. ^ "Europe fired up for Ryder defence". BBC News. September 15, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lehman named US Ryder Cup captain, BBC Sport, November 3, 2004.
  3. ^ Davies, David. Casey opens war with America, The Guardian, November 18, 2004.
  4. ^ Cooke, Alistair (October 4, 1999). "The arrival of the golf hooligan". BBC News. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ Shipnuck, Alan (October 4, 1999). "Ryder Cup 1999: Smokin'". Sports Illustrated. 
  6. ^ a b "Maggert says US are the worlds best". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ Brown, Clifton (September 22, 1999). "Maggert Cannot Hide His Confidence". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations, ed. Jim Apfelbaum. 2007.
  9. ^ Markus, Don (October 26, 1999). "First peace, then tragedy". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Americans still seeking forgiveness for Ryder Cup behaviour". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Ryder Cup – Quotations". Golf Today. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Fury over Ryder Cup celebrations". BBC News. September 27, 1999. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°18′54″N 71°08′53″W / 42.315°N 71.148°W / 42.315; -71.148