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Golf

Who are the oldest and youngest players to play in a Ryder Cup?

We delve into the oldest and youngest Ryder Cup players and explore Golf’s Veteran Legends in the ultimate golf battle

Update:
We delve into the oldest and youngest Ryder Cup players and explore Golf’s Veteran Legends in the ultimate golf battle
REUTERS

The Ryder Cup has shaped numerous careers, often eclipsing major championships in golf lore, with legends born in the intense USA vs. Europe battles, making it the pinnacle event in golf.

While some Ryder Cup players only participate once, others, even golf veterans, have been chosen late in their careers.

Let’s take a look at who holds the record as the oldest and youngest Ryder Cup player:

Youngest player at a Ryder Cup

Sergio Garcia is the youngest player to participate in the prestigious tournament.

The Spanish golfer was a mere 19 years, eight months, and 15 days old when the 1999 Ryder Cup commenced, proudly representing Team Europe. Remarkably, Garcia earned his spot on the team by ranking seventh on the European Ryder Cup points list and holding the 25th in the world rankings. Although he had not yet secured a victory on the PGA Tour, he had claimed one title on the European Tour. Additionally, approximately a month before the Ryder Cup, he finished as the runner-up to Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship.

Throughout the years to come, Garcia, still the only teenager to have participated in this prestigious tournament, would remain a precious member of Team Europe. During the 1999 Ryder Cup, he played in the maximum five matches, achieving three victories, one tie, and one loss. This impressive 3-1-1 record contributed 3.5 points to his team’s total, tying for the highest point tally among all golfers in the competition.

Nonetheless, there have been a handful of other players who joined the tournament before turning 21.

Five youngest Team Europe Ryder Cup golfers:

  • Sergio Garcia, Europe: 19 years, eight months, 15 days old during the 1999 Ryder Cup. Recorded a 3-1-1 (wins-losses-ties) record.
  • Nick Faldo, GB&I/Europe: 20 years, one month, 28 days old during the 1977 Ryder Cup. Remained undefeated with a 3-0-0 record.
  • Paul Way, Europe: 20 years, 216 days old during the 1983 Ryder Cup. Achieved a 3-1-1 record.
  • Bernard Gallacher, GB&I/Europe: 20 years, 221 days old during the 1969 Ryder Cup. Attained a 2-2-0 record.
  • Ken Brown, GB&I/Europe: 20 years, 249 days old during the 1977 Ryder Cup. Recorded a 0-1-0 record.

It is worth noting that none of the youngest Team USA players appear among the five youngest Ryder Cup participants listed above. Nevertheless, there has been one American golfer under the age of 21 in the Ryder Cup and several others younger than 22.

Three youngest Team USA golfers:

  • Horton Smith: 20 years, 11 months, four days old during the 1929 Ryder Cup. Notched a 1-0-0 record.
  • Jordan Spieth: 21 years, one month, 30 days old during the 2014 Ryder Cup. Achieved a 2-1-1 record.
  • Tiger Woods: 21 years, eight months, 27 days old during the 1997 Ryder Cup. Recorded a 1-3-1 record.

Oldest player at a Ryder Cup

As for the title of the oldest player ever to compete in the Ryder Cup, that distinction belongs to Raymond Floyd, who participated in 1993 at the age of 51 years and 20 days. This esteemed American golfer played in seven previous Ryder Cups and was a captain’s pick by U.S. skipper Tom Watson for the 1993 match at The Belfry, just a few weeks after celebrating his 51st birthday.

Floyd’s golfing career was further recognized with induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989, and he continued to play on the Senior PGA tour.

In the European context, Lee Westwood holds the title of the oldest player in the modern era. Ted Ray is officially the oldest European to have participated in the contest, being one of the first players in the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927.

The following is a list of the oldest players who have teed it up in the biennial showdown:

Oldest Team Europe players in Ryder Cup history:

  • Ted Ray: 50 years, 67 days (1927)
  • Christy O’Connor Snr: 48 years, 273 days (1973)
  • Dai Rees: 48 years, 196 days (1961)
  • Lee Westwood: 48 years, 153 days (2021)
  • George Duncan: 47 years, 283 days (1931)

Team USA boasts a remarkably narrow age range this year, with only a 10-year difference between the youngest and oldest players. This represents the smallest age range for the United States in the modern era of the Ryder Cup, which dates back to 1979. At 36, Brian Harman stands as the “youngest” oldest player ever to represent a U.S. Ryder Cup team in the modern era.