Ryder Cup Captains: List of All Those Who Have Served

Ryder Cup captains Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus in 1987
Tony Jacklin (left) and Jack Nicklaus in 1987. Both captained their sides multiple times. David Cannon/Getty Images

The Ryder Cup tournament is played every two years and is contested by teams of male professional golfers, one team representing Europe and the other representing the United States. The event traces its roots to 1926, when Samuel Ryder, a British citizen, avid golfer, and successful businessman commissioned a trophy to serve as the prize in a proposed goodwill competition pitting British professional golfers against their American counterparts.

Ryder spent £250 (equivalent to $400 at the time) to have the trophy created. That trophy is the Ryder Cup. The trophy first appeared in public in 1927 at a send-off for the British team departing Southampton, England, and sailing for Worcester, Massachusetts, for the first Ryder Cup match. The original Ryder Cup resides with the Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain & Ireland.

The List of Ryder Cup Captains

For each year listed here, the American captain is listed first, followed by the opposing captain (that would be the Great Britain captain from 1927 through 1971; Great Britain and Ireland—or GB&I—captain in 1973, 1975 and 1977; and European captain from 1979 to present).

Following the list are the records for most wins, losses and times served as captain. Note that the Team USA captain is selected by the PGA of America; the Team Europe captain is chosen by the European Tour.

Year United States Europe/GB&I Winner
2018 Jim Furyk Thomas Bjorn Europe
2016 Davis Love III Darren Clarke USA
2014 Tom Watson Paul McGinley Europe
2012 Davis Love III Jose Maria Olazabal Europe
2010 Corey Pavin Colin Montgomerie Europe
2008 Paul Azinger Nick Faldo USA
2006 Tom Lehman Ian Woosnam Europe
2004 Hal Sutton Bernhard Langer Europe
2002 Curtis Strange Sam Torrance Europe
1999 Ben Crenshaw Mark James USA
1997 Tom Kite Seve Ballesteros Europe
1995 Lanny Wadkins Bernard Gallacher Europe
1993 Tom Watson Bernard Gallacher USA
1991 Dave Stockton Bernard Gallacher USA
1989 Raymond Floyd Tony Jacklin Halved
1987 Jack Nicklaus Tony Jacklin Europe
1985 Lee Trevino Tony Jacklin Europe
1983 Jack Nicklaus Tony Jacklin USA
1981 Dave Marr John Jacobs USA
1979 Billy Casper John Jacobs USA
1977 Dow Finsterwald Brian Huggett USA
1975 Arnold Palmer Bernard Hunt USA
1973 Jack Burke Jr. Bernard Hunt USA
1971 Jay Hebert Eric Brown USA
1969 Sam Snead Eric Brown Halved
1967 Ben Hogan Dai Rees USA
1965 Byron Nelson Harry Weetman USA
1963 Arnold Palmer John Fallon USA
1961 Jerry Barber Dai Rees USA
1959 Sam Snead Dai Rees USA
1957 Jack Burke Jr. Dai Rees Great Britain
1955 Chick Harbert Dai Rees USA
1953 Lloyd Mangrum Henry Cotton USA
1951 Sam Snead Arthur Lacey USA
1949 Ben Hogan Charles Whitcombe USA
1947 Ben Hogan Henry Cotton USA
1937 Walter Hagen Charles Whitcombe USA
1935 Walter Hagen Charles Whitcombe USA
1933 Walter Hagen J.H. Taylor Great Britain
1931 Walter Hagen Charles Whitcombe USA
1929 Walter Hagen George Duncan Great Britain
1927 Walter Hagen Ted Ray USA

Records Relating to Ryder Cup Captains

Most Times as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • 6 times: Walter Hagen (1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937)
  • 5 times: Dai Rees (1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1967)
  • 4 times: Tony Jacklin (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989); Charles Whitcombe (1931, 1935, 1937, 1949)
  • 3 times: Ben Hogan (1947, 1949, 1967), Sam Snead (1951, 1959, 1969), Bernard Gallacher (1991, 1993, 1995)

Most Wins as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • Walter Hagen, 4
  • Ben Hogan, 3
  • Tony Jacklin, 2*
  • Arnold Palmer, 2
  • Sam Snead, 2

*Jacklin's overall record was 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 halve. But Europe retained the Cup in the year of the tie, so Jacklin's teams won or held the Cup three times.

Most Losses as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • Dai Rees, 4
  • Charles Whitcombe, 3
  • Walter Hagen, 2
  • Henry Cotton, 2
  • Bernard Gallacher, 2
  • Bernard Hunt, 2
  • John Jacobs, 2

And here's one more interesting factoid: J.H. Taylor, captain of Great Britain in 1933, is the only Ryder Cup captain who never played in the competition.