How Does Ryder Cup Scoring Work? [Very Simple]

When it comes to the Ryder Cup, it’s very different to a normal week on the PGA Tour. Not only is the Ryder Cup format different, but it also has a unique method of scoring compared to a standard stroke play professional golf tournament.

So how does the Ryder Cup scoring work? Let’s have a quick look.

How Does Ryder Cup Scoring Work?

How Does The Ryder Cup Scoring Work?

How Does Ryder Cup Scoring Work?

The Ryder Cup consists of 28 matches all of which are worth one point to the winning team. The first team to reach 14.5 points will win the Ryder Cup. If after the 28 Ryder Cup matches, the score is 14-14, the previous Ryder Cup winning team will retain the trophy.

A player or players earn a point for their team by winning a match. This includes any match in the five sessions of play including foursomes, four-ball and singles matches.

Each game is a match-play format, played on a hole-by-hole basis. Unlike stroke play, the lowest score on a hole wins the hole and a team can win on any hole from the 10th onwards.

Any match that ends in a tie after 18 holes will be worth half a point for both Ryder Cup teams.

How To Win The Ryder Cup?

The team that reaches the score of 14.5 points first will be the team that wins the Ryder Cup.

At a score of 14.5 points, it is unattainable for the other team to pass that number and therefore the team with 14.5 points will be the Ryder Cup winner.

It’s also possible for a team to retain the Ryder Cup trophy if they manage to reach 14 points and were the previous Ryder Cup winning team. By reaching 14 points, it means that the opposition is unable to reach the winning score of 14.5, which is needed to win the Ryder Cup.

What Is A Concession In The Ryder Cup?

A concession at the Ryder Cup means that one player concedes a stroke to the other player/players, allowing them to pick up their own ball.

This usually occurs on the putting green, where the opposition’s ball is close to the hole and that player is unlikely to miss. A concession lets the player pick their ball up and take a score which would’ve been made if the putt had been holed.

This is a very common rule in match play competition and is different to stroke play where a player has to complete every hole.

A player might also concede a hole if they feel like they don’t have a chance of winning or halving it. This might be because they’ve lost their tee shot or they’ve taken too many shots and it’s clear the opposition player will win the hole.

A conceded putt in match play is very much about strategy and trying to put the other player under as much pressure as possible. As a match begins to come to its conclusion, you’ll start to see far fewer putts being given from short range.

Perhaps the most famous of Ryder Cup concessions was in 1969 when Jack Nicklaus gave a missable three-foot putt to Tony Jacklin on the last hole of their match. Despite the match resulting in a draw, Nicklaus knew Jacklin would make the putt and didn’t want to give him the opportunity to miss it.

Final Thoughts

Winning the Ryder Cup is all about playing best and winning more matches than the other Ryder Cup team.

A fierce competition between Team Europe and Team USA, can potentially come down to just a half point and even end in a tie where the winner of the previous Ryder Cup retains the cup.

It’s a week that’s totally different from any other week in the season and makes for unmissable viewing for all golf fans. Find how the pairings are decided.


How many points are up for grabs in Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup has a total of 28 points up for grabs, and one team can theoretically win all 28. For a team to win the Ryder Cup, they need to reach 14.5 points.

Why are there half points in the Ryder Cup?

At the Ryder Cup, all matches have to end by the 18th hole. This means that if a match is tied after 18 holes, the point is shared between both the European team and the USA team.

What is the biggest score difference in the Ryder Cup?

The biggest score difference in Ryder Cup history happened at the 1967 Ryder Cup where Team USA beat the British team 23.5 to 8.5.

Has any player won 5 points in Ryder Cup?

Since the Ryder Cup began at Worcester Country Club in 1927, a total of eight players have won 5 points. Of those eight, five players have been undefeated and have not dropped a single point at the Ryder Cup.

These include Arnold Palmer in 1967, Francesco Molinari at Le Golf National in 2018 and Dustin Johnson in 2021 at Whistling Straits.

How do you get a half point in the Ryder Cup?

A team receives a half point at the Ryder Cup when a match ends in a tie. This means that no player or players has won more holes than the other and the match is drawn after 18 holes.

How many matches do you need to win the Ryder Cup?

To win the Ryder Cup, a team must win a total of 14.5 points i.e. 14 matches won and 1 halved match. If a team reaches 14.5 points, the opposition is unable to reach that number and they’ll win the Ryder Cup.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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