Who Is The Ryder Cup Named After? [Explained]

The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in professional sports. Its history has seen some amazing contests from the top golfers in the world.

But where does the Ryder Cup get its name from? Let’s find out.

Who Is The Ryder Cup Named After?

Who Is The Ryder Cup Named After?

Who Is The Ryder Cup Named After?

The Ryder Cup is named after English businessman, Samuel Ryder, who helped initiate the first-ever Ryder Cup in 1927.

Having hosted many matches between American and British golfers in the early 1920s, Samuel Ryder decided to put the Ryder Cup trophy forward for the first showing at the Worcester Country Club.

The trophy cost approximately £250 and features Abe Mitchell, a top English golfer of the time and Samuel Ryder’s golf coach, on the top of the trophy.

The first official Ryder Cup was a great success, with the United States team picking up a 9.5 – 2.5 victory over the British team. Due to ill health, Ryder was unable to present the trophy to the winning team at the inaugural event in Massachusetts.

Ryder was a great advocate for the tournament, supporting it financially and attending the first couple of matches on home soil at Moortown Golf Club and Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club in 1929 and 1933 respectively.

The Ryder Cup these days has evolved massively, with a European team, rather than just British professionals, now taking on American professionals. Although it’s now a far bigger spectacle, the principles which Samuel Ryder first set out such as the format and how often it’s played still stand true today.

Who Is Samuel Ryder?

Samuel Ryder was a British businessman known for his contribution to golf, including the donation of the Ryder Cup trophy for the first-ever event in 1927.

Ryder gained great wealth from becoming a successful seed merchant, starting a mail-delivery gardening business which sold small seed packets through the post. Later on, he also started a herb company, Heath and Heather with his brother James.

His involvement in golf began in his 50s after a period of poor health and an overly busy work life. His friend Frank Wheeler suggested he try golf as a way of getting some fresh air and exercise.

Very quickly he became obsessed with the game of golf, joining Verulam Golf Club and achieving a single-figured handicap.

He was a huge golf enthusiast, especially professional golf and the dedication that the players were committed to the game.

This led him and his brother to set up and sponsor a number of tournaments for top players, offering prize money for all players. This included the Heath and Heather tournament at Verulam Golf Club, as well as a number of challenge matches between the best US and British golfers of the era.

At the start of 1926, the idea to host a match between an American team and a British team was proposed by the PGA of America and the PGA of Great Britain. This would include the top players from either side of the pond and be played as a match-play competition at Wentworth.

Ryder was heavily involved in the running of the match, giving payment to the players and initially hoped it would be the first Ryder Cup match, however, it was decided that it needed to be more official and would take place the following year.

Although Ryder passed away in 1936, his legacy still lives on as the man who helped to create what is now the biggest event in golf and perhaps sport.

Final Thoughts

Throughout a long Ryder Cup history, many Ryder Cup matches will live long in the memory.

Whether it’s team Europe achieving a famous “Miracle at Medinah” or “The War on the Shore” in 1991 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the legacy of Samuel Ryder will live long in the memory of professional sports.

This year, Luke Donald and Zach Johnson will both hope their Ryder Cup team will be able to claim a famous Ryder Cup victory in Italy.


What did Samuel Ryder do?

Samuel Ryder was an English businessman who started a company which delivered seeds in the mail. He also started a herbal remedies business with his brother James in 1922.

Who invented the Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup was first thought by a number of top players at the time, as well as Samuel Ryder, a businessman from England. Ryder decided to put forward the Ryder Cup trophy for the first official match in 1927.

How did Samuel Ryder make his money?

Samuel Ryder made his money from being a successful seed merchant in Britain in the early 20th century. His mail-order seed delivery business was one of the first in the UK and he gained significant wealth from it.

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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