2008 Ryder Cup
|Dates||September 19–21, 2008|
|Venue||Valhalla Golf Club|
|Captains||Paul Azinger (USA)
Nick Faldo (Europe)
|United States wins the Ryder Cup|
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. 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
|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.
|Nick Faldo||51||Welwyn Garden City, England||Non-playing captain|
|Pádraig Harrington||37||Dublin, Ireland||1||1||4|
|Sergio García||28||Borriol, Spain||2||14||5|
|Lee Westwood||35||Worksop, England||3||2||12|
|Henrik Stenson||32||Gothenburg, Sweden||4||5||7|
|Robert Karlsson||39||Monte Carlo, Monaco||5||3||17|
|Miguel Ángel Jiménez||44||Málaga, Spain||6||4||19|
|Graeme McDowell||29||Portrush, Northern Ireland||9||6||32||Ryder Cup rookie|
|Justin Rose||28||London, England||7||7||13||Ryder Cup rookie|
|Søren Hansen||34||Copenhagen, Denmark||13||8||42||Ryder Cup rookie|
|Oliver Wilson||27||Weybridge, England||15||9||48||Ryder Cup rookie|
|Ian Poulter||32||Milton Keynes, England||8||12||29||Captain's pick|
|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.
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.
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.
|Stenson/Casey||3 & 2||Leonard/Mahan|
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.
|Poulter/Rose||4 & 2||Stricker/Curtis|
|García/Jiménez||4 & 3||Leonard/Mahan|
|Poulter/Rose||4 & 3||Cink/Campbell|
|Stenson/Wilson||2 & 1||Mickelson/Kim|
|Harrington/Karlsson||3 & 1||Furyk/Perry|
|Westwood/Hansen||2 & 1||Weekley/Holmes|
Sunday's singles matches
|Sergio García||5 & 4||Anthony Kim|
|Paul Casey||halved||Hunter Mahan|
|Robert Karlsson||5 & 3||Justin Leonard|
|Justin Rose||3 & 2||Phil Mickelson|
|Henrik Stenson||3 & 2||Kenny Perry|
|Oliver Wilson||4 & 2||Boo Weekley|
|Søren Hansen||2 & 1||J. B. Holmes|
|Miguel Ángel Jiménez||2 & 1||Jim Furyk|
|Graeme McDowell||2 & 1||Stewart Cink|
|Ian Poulter||3 & 2||Steve Stricker|
|Lee Westwood||2 & 1||Ben Curtis|
|Pádraig Harrington||2 & 1||Chad Campbell|
- "Ryder Cup 2008 will be remembered for the Americans burning passion and Faldo's desperate blundering". September 21, 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- Praverman, Frank (September 21, 2008). "How the Ryder Cup was won". London: Times Online. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- Ryder Cup explained
- "Azinger changes format; alternate shot first". The 2008 Ryder Cup Official Site. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
- "Casey and Poulter given wildcards". BBC Sport. August 31, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
- 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.
- "US surge clear as Europe struggle". BBC Sport. September 19, 2008. Retrieved May 4, 2009.