2008 Ryder Cup

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37th Ryder Cup Matches
Dates   September 19–21, 2008
Venue   Valhalla Golf Club
Location   Louisville, Kentucky
Captains   Paul Azinger (USA)
Nick Faldo (Europe)
United States   16½    11½   Europe
United States wins the Ryder Cup



ValhallaGolf Club is located in United States
ValhallaGolf Club
Golf Club
Location in the United States

The 37th Ryder Cup Matches were held September 19–21, 2008, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Team USA won 16½ - 11½ to end the streak of three successive victories for Team Europe. This was Team USA's largest margin of victory since 1981, and the first time since 1979 the Americans had held the lead after every session of play. Team captains were Nick Faldo for Team Europe and Paul Azinger for Team USA. Faldo's assistant was José María Olazábal, while Raymond Floyd, Dave Stockton and Olin Browne assisted Azinger.

Team USA had been in the lead since the contest began on the Friday. Europe were two points behind going into the Sunday singles matches. They had only previously overturned a deficit once before in 1995. Team USA won the majority of the first matches out and subsequently Jim Furyk defeated Miguel Ángel Jiménez 2 & 1 to win his match and win the Ryder Cup for the USA.[1] Other matches still out on the course would see this margin of victory increase further. Following the defeat Nick Faldo was heavily criticised for his decision to "bottom load" his best players in the singles when the Americans only needed 5½ points to win which they got before they could have any effect on the overall outcome.


All matches were covered live in the United States. ESPN handled Friday coverage. Mike Tirico and Andy North hosted from the 18th tower, with Curtis Strange calling holes, and on-course reporters Bill Kratzert and Judy Rankin. With Azinger, ESPN's lead analyst, captaining the U.S. team, North was moved to the booth to fill Azinger's seat. NBC Sports covered the weekend action, with Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller hosting from the 18th tower, Gary Koch and Bob Murphy calling holes, and on-course reporters Mark Rolfing, Roger Maltbie, and Dottie Pepper.


The Ryder Cup is a match play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format used in 2008 was:

  • Day 1 (Friday)—four foursomes (alternate shot) matches in the morning session and four fourball (better ball) matches in the afternoon
  • Day 2 (Saturday)—four foursome matches in the morning and four fourball matches in the afternoon
  • Day 3 (Sunday)—12 singles matches[2]

With a total of 28 points available, 14½ points were required to win the cup, and 14 points for the defending champion to retain it. All matches were played over a maximum 18 holes.[3]

For the first time since 1995, the opening matches featured foursomes. US captain Paul Azinger chose the format, hoping to give his team an early advantage in Kentucky. Foursomes was used in the first sessions of every event since 1981 until European captain Seve Ballesteros opened with better ball (fourball) in 1997 at Valderrama.[4]


The top players for the USA (8) and Europe (10) as determined by their points performance (described below) received automatic selection. The remaining players on each team were selected at the discretion of the team captains. Team USA was finalized on September 2, while qualification for Team Europe ended on August 31. The Official World Golf Rankings shown are as of September 14, 2008, the last assessment issued before the Ryder Cup. The average ranking of the American team was 24.8 and that of the European team was 22.2.

United States   Team USA
Name Age Residence Points
Paul Azinger 48 Bradenton, Florida Non-playing captain
Phil Mickelson 38 Rancho Santa Fe, California 2 2
Stewart Cink 35 Duluth, Georgia 3 11
Kenny Perry 48 Franklin, Kentucky 4 20
Jim Furyk 38 Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 5 9
Anthony Kim 23 Dallas, Texas 6 10 Ryder Cup rookie
Justin Leonard 36 Dallas, Texas 7 23
Ben Curtis 31 Stow, Ohio 8 30 Ryder Cup rookie
Boo Weekley 35 Jay, Florida 9 35 Ryder Cup rookie
Steve Stricker 41 Madison, Wisconsin 10 8 Captain's pick, Ryder Cup rookie
Hunter Mahan 26 Plano, Texas 13 36 Captain's pick, Ryder Cup rookie
J. B. Holmes 26 Campbellsville, Kentucky 18 56 Captain's pick, Ryder Cup rookie
Chad Campbell 34 Colleyville, Texas 21 57 Captain's pick

Note: The leading player on the points list, Tiger Woods, was recovering from knee surgery and unable to compete.

Europe   Team Europe
Name Age Residence Points
rank (W)
rank (E)
England Nick Faldo 51 Welwyn Garden City, England Non-playing captain
Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington 37 Dublin, Ireland 1 1 4
Spain Sergio García 28 Borriol, Spain 2 14 5
England Lee Westwood 35 Worksop, England 3 2 12
Sweden Henrik Stenson 32 Gothenburg, Sweden 4 5 7
Sweden Robert Karlsson 39 Monte Carlo, Monaco 5 3 17
Spain Miguel Ángel Jiménez 44 Málaga, Spain 6 4 19
Northern Ireland Graeme McDowell 29 Portrush, Northern Ireland 9 6 32 Ryder Cup rookie
England Justin Rose 28 London, England 7 7 13 Ryder Cup rookie
Denmark Søren Hansen 34 Copenhagen, Denmark 13 8 42 Ryder Cup rookie
England Oliver Wilson 27 Weybridge, England 15 9 48 Ryder Cup rookie
England Ian Poulter 32 Milton Keynes, England 8 12 29 Captain's pick
England Paul Casey 31 Esher, England 16 18 38 Captain's pick

The final line-up for the European team was announced after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles on August 31, 2008. Søren Hansen, Oliver Wilson and Justin Rose were the last three automatic qualifiers after successful tournaments. Nick Faldo handed wildcards to Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.[5]



The qualification process is the same as in 2006. Five players will qualify from the world point list, five players will qualify from the European points list, and the captain will have two picks. The world points list is simply the total world ranking points won during the qualifying period September 6, 2007, to August 31, 2008. The leading five players, not otherwise qualified from World Points List, on the European Points List will qualify for the team. The Ryder Cup European Points List lists points (1 point = 1 Euro) earned by a European Tour Member during the qualifying period.


The selection process was changed for 2008. The qualification process started at the four majors in 2007 and resumed on January 1, 2008. Paul Azinger has four captain's picks, up from two in 2006. Criteria: Prize money earned in the 2007 major championships (Masters, U.S. Open, The Open Championship and PGA Championship—one point for every $1,000 earned). Prize money earned in "official events" in 2008 from January 1 to August 11 (one point for every $1,000 earned, excluding the major championships and events played opposite major championships and opposite World Golf Championships). Prize money earned in the 2008 major championships (Masters, U.S. Open, The Open Championship, PGA Championship) (two points for every $1,000 earned). Prize money earned in 2008 events played opposite the major championships and opposite World Golf Championship events between January 1 and August 11 (one-half point for every $1,000 earned). With the 2006 points system having been in effect prior to the 2008 points system being announced, it has been determined that all American players who finished in the top 10 in all official events from August 27 to November 5, 2006, will be awarded one-quarter point for every $1,000 earned.

The qualifying period began on September 6, 2007.

Friday's matches[edit]

Morning foursomes[edit]

The morning foursomes began well for Team Europe, as they took the lead in all four matches within the first hour. However, things changed by the end of the morning, with Team USA ending the session up 3–1, marking the first time since the last American win in 1999 that Team USA held the lead at the end of any Ryder Cup session.[6]

Europe Results United States
Harrington/Karlsson halved Mickelson/Kim
Stenson/Casey United States 3 & 2 Leonard/Mahan
Rose/Poulter United States 1 up Cink/Campbell
Westwood/García halved Perry/Furyk
1 Session 3
1 Overall 3

Afternoon four-ball[edit]

The afternoon session was almost a replay of the morning session. Team Europe led after the front nine in three of the four matches, but only won one. Team USA ended up with its largest lead after the first day since Europe was first included in the Ryder Cup in 1979.[6][7]

Europe Results United States
Harrington/McDowell United States 2 up Mickelson/Kim
Poulter/Rose Europe 4 & 2 Stricker/Curtis
García/Jiménez United States 4 & 3 Leonard/Mahan
Westwood/Hansen halved Holmes/Weekley

Saturday's matches[edit]

Morning foursomes[edit]

Europe Results United States
Poulter/Rose Europe 4 & 3 Cink/Campbell
Jiménez/McDowell halved Leonard/Mahan
Stenson/Wilson Europe 2 & 1 Mickelson/Kim
Harrington/Karlsson United States 3 & 1 Furyk/Perry
5 Overall 7

Afternoon four-ball[edit]

Europe Results United States
Westwood/Hansen United States 2 & 1 Weekley/Holmes
García/Casey halved Curtis/Stricker
Poulter/McDowell Europe 1 up Perry/Furyk
Stenson/Karlsson halved Mickelson/Mahan
2 Session 2
7 Overall 9

Sunday's singles matches[edit]

Europe Results United States
Sergio García United States 5 & 4 Anthony Kim
Paul Casey halved Hunter Mahan
Robert Karlsson Europe 5 & 3 Justin Leonard
Justin Rose Europe 3 & 2 Phil Mickelson
Henrik Stenson United States 3 & 2 Kenny Perry
Oliver Wilson United States 4 & 2 Boo Weekley
Søren Hansen United States 2 & 1 J. B. Holmes
Miguel Ángel Jiménez United States 2 & 1 Jim Furyk
Graeme McDowell Europe 2 & 1 Stewart Cink
Ian Poulter Europe 3 & 2 Steve Stricker
Lee Westwood United States 2 & 1 Ben Curtis
Pádraig Harrington United States 2 & 1 Chad Campbell
11½ Overall 16½


  1. ^ "Ryder Cup 2008 will be remembered for the Americans burning passion and Faldo's desperate blundering". Daily Mail (London). September 21, 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Praverman, Frank (September 21, 2008). "How the Ryder Cup was won". London: Times Online. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  3. ^ Ryder Cup explained
  4. ^ "Azinger changes format; alternate shot first". The 2008 Ryder Cup Official Site. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Casey and Poulter given wildcards". BBC Sport. August 31, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Ferguson, Doug, Associated Press (September 19, 2008). "Americans charge into lead at Ryder Cup". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2008. 
  7. ^ Orlovac, Mark (September 19, 2008). "US surge clear as Europe struggle". BBC Sport. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°14′31″N 85°28′19″W / 38.242°N 85.472°W / 38.242; -85.472