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RYDER CUP

What is the biggest win in Ryder Cup history? Largest point difference between US and Europe

The Ryder Cup is underway and Europe goes up against the US once again - but what is the biggest ever win for a team?

Update:
The Ryder Cup is underway and Europe goes up against the US once again - but what is the biggest ever win for a team?
ALBERTO PIZZOLIAFP

The Ryder Cup, arguably the most exciting and hotly anticipated golf event in the world, is finally underway at the beautiful setting of the Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome, Italy. The tournament has been running ever two years since 1927, and has showcased to the world some of the most amazing moments in sporting history.

Over the years, given the elite level of sport on show, the winner has almost always been too close to call, while on others certain teams have dominated from start to finish, breezing past the opposition and winning comfortably. But what’s the biggest ever win? In 96 years, surely there have been some good, old-fashioned pastings (and spectacular holes-in-one) from one team to another. Whatever side of the pond you fall on, it’s always nice to get one over on your rivals. Well, reader, you’d be absolutely right.

How is the Ryder Cup scored?

The Ryder Cup has a total of 28 matches played, all over 18 holes. The winner of each match scores a point for their team, and matches are either 1vs1 (singles) or 2vs2 (foursome/fourballs). If the two teams are tied with 14 points each at the end of the tournament, the trophy remains with the team that won it last time. Ties after 18 holes award half a point to each player.

What is the biggest individual match win in Ryder Cup history?

On paper, the widest margin of victory in a normal, singles match on an 18 hole course would be 17 and 15 with one player winning on the third hole. However, this is bordering on the impossible, given that a series of non-playing violations would have to be enforced to effectively leave the player disqualified. On the course, 10 and 8 is the biggest possible win, but that’s never happened either.

The biggest individual points win came in 1989, when American Tom Kite defeated Howard Clark 8 & 7, meaning the tie ended after the 12th hole, when Kite reached a lead of eight holes with only seven left on the course. The same result came up in 1997, when Fred Couples beat Ian Woosnam. No European golfer has yet won an 18-hole singles match by more than a 5-and-4 margin.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate their win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
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Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate their win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.ALBERTO PIZZOLIAFP

What is the largest point difference between US and Europe?

In 2021, on home soil at Whistling Straits, the US cruised to a whopping 19-9 victory over their European rivals. This was, and remains, the biggest points difference in the modern era of the Ryder Cup, since the creation of Team Europe and a 28-match system. In terms of the Ryder Cup as a whole, at the 1967 edition held in Texas, 32 points were available, and the Americans won by 15-points. The 23.5-8.5 win remains the largest ever in the history of the competition. A 22-6 win would be required in order to surpass the points tally of the 1967 total, and that seems all but impossible. But then again, records are there to be broken...