Who Is the Ryder Cup Named After?

The man who put the 'Ryder' in Ryder Cup

Walter Hagen, Samuel Ryder and George Duncan at 1929 Ryder Cup
Samuel Ryder (center) is flanked by the 1929 Ryder Cup captains, Walter Hagen (left) and George Duncan. Duncan beat Hagen 10 and 8 in a 36-hole singles match. H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Who is the "Ryder" in the Ryder Cup competition? And why is the competition named after that individual? Let's find out:

Putting the 'Ryder' in Ryder Cup

The "Ryder" in Ryder Cup is Samuel Ryder, a wealthy British businessman and avid golfer who was born in 1858 and died in 1936.

Ryder's wealth derived from a simple idea that revolved around an easier way to package and sell seeds. You know those little paper envelopes that seeds can be purchased in? Ryder came up with the idea of selling "penny packets" - a smaller amount of seeds packaged in an envelope and sold for a single penny. On those pennies his wealth was built.

Ryder took up golf in the early 1900s, around the age of 50, and played as often as he could. He was a single-handicapper for a time.

In the 1920s Ryder began sponsoring golf tournaments and exhibitions.

Ryder's Role in Founding the Cup

The Ryder Cup competition germinated from another of his ideas. The Walker Cup, pitting teams of British and American amateur golfers, began play in 1922. A London newspaper report from 1925 states that Ryder had proposed such a competition for professional golfers.

In 1926, an informal series of matches was played between teams representing the USA and Great Britain. The same year, Ryder commissioned and paid for the trophy that now bears his name, and the first official Ryder Cup competition was played in 1927.

Ryder only attended two Ryder Cup matches before his death in 1936: He was able to watch the 1929 and 1933 Cups, the first two played in Great Britain.

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