In the 1890’s Samuel Ryder combined two simple notions and became rich as the result. One was that the working class didn’t have very much money, the other was that they only had weekends off. Not very ground-breaking stuff, in retrospect, but when Ryder started selling packets of seeds for a penny each to be delivered on Saturdays it quickly catapulted him into success.
Ryder was more than a savvy businessman. He was a father, a politician, and a Deacon, but he owes his greatest legacy to his love for golf. Ryder found this calling later in life when he took up the sport as a means to get more fresh air, but within a few years he had a single-figure handicap and captained the Verulam Golf Club, which is still open today. In comparison, please note that although I’ve played golf for many years my country club still makes me wear a bell around a neck when I play there.
Ryder went on to sponsor several golfing events and hosted the first official Ryder Cup in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1927. Conceived as a contest between British and American golfers, the biennial tradition endures today, although in 1979 the British team expanded its scope to include golfers from the rest of their continent.
America and Europe take turns hosting the prestigious event, and this year the honor belongs to Minnesota. The Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska will hold the Ryder Cup September 30 – October 2, making it one of only two of our country’s golf clubs to have hosted every premier championship offered by both the USGA and PGA.
We’ve much to prove at this year’s tournament, as Europe has won the Ryder Cup eight out of the last ten times it has been held, and in some by fairly substantial margins. However, as of the time I’m writing this article, it looks nearly certain that the greats Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Phil Mickelson will comprise part our 12-member team, and with Davis Love III will returning to captain a dozen pros we’ve got a great shot at taking it this year. No matter what, though Europe has yet to beat us in the Super Bowl, and America has won over 98% of all the World Series. Why are Americans just so much better than everyone else? It really makes you think.
By David Scheller