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of the Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup 1997

The Ryder Cup is contested over three days and 28 matches, each of which is worth one point.

The defending team retains possession of the Ryder Cup in the event of a tie (14 points), but each team needs 14 1/2 points for an outright victory.

The first day of competition features eight matches between two-man teams. The morning features four foursomes, or alternate shot matches, and the afternoon features four four-ball, or best ball matches. The format for the second day of play is identical.

The final day of the competition features 12 singles matches.

All 28 matches are contested under a match-play format. Players compete against each other, not the course, and the score reflects the number of holes won rather than strokes. The winning player or team receives one point, the loser none and each participant receives one-half point in the event the match is tied after 18 holes.

A match is over when each player or team has completed 18 holes or when one has mathematically clinched victory.


The following are a few common terms used frequently during the Ryder Cup and a brief explanation:

One player versus another. Each hole is a separate match in itself. The player who wins the hole, based on the lowest number of strokes, 'wins the hole', and earns a point. The match is scored on the differential between how many poitns each player has won, as described below.

Two teams of two golfers each competing in an alternate shot format. One player tees off on the odd numbered holes, the other on the even, and they alternate shots until the hole is completed.

Two teams of two golfers competing in a best-ball format. Each golfer plays his own ball and the best score of the two counts for the team.

A hole is halved when players or teams finish the hole with the same score. A match is halved when the players or teams finish 18 holes tied.

A player or team concedes a putt when they do not make their opponent or opponents finish out the hole.

The following is a brief explanation of the match-play scoring system:

2-up thru 11
A player/twosome who is 2-up thru 11 has won two more holes then their opponent(s) through 11 holes.

All Square thru 15
The match is tied through 15 holes.

A player/twosome who wins 2-up has won two more holes than his opponent thru 18 holes.

3 and 2
A player/twosome who wins 3 and 2 had won three holes more than their opponent(s) with only two holes left to play, mathematically assuring victory.


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