Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

32

The Ryder Cup: an analysis of relative performance 1980-1993

T. Hale, V. Harper and J. Herb

Centre for Sports Science, West Sussex Institute, Chichester, UK,
PGA European Tour, Wentworth, Surrey, UK and PGA Tour, Ponte
Vedra Beach, Florida 32082, USA

Abstract

Performance statistics and stroke averages for the American and European PGA Tours over the 1980-1993 period have been analysed in an attempt to explain recent results in the Ryder Cup matches. Within Tour improvements (P<0.05) have been found in four out of the five performance categories for both groups; Greens in Regulation (GIR) for the Americans and Driving Accuracy (DA) for the Europeans were the exceptions. Between Tour analysis showed that in 1985 the American Tour golfers were better in all categories except bunker play (Sand Saves-SS), but by 1993 they were superior in (DA) and putting (PPR) only and the Europeans were significantly better out of bunkers. The ultimate indicator, the average number of strokes each round (SPR), revealed significant (P<0.001) within Tour improvements for both groups since 1980; between Tour analysis showed the Americans were superior in 1980 and 1993 (P<0.001). Analysis of the SPR for the actual Ryder Cup teams showed a significant drop in this indicator by the American teams of 1983 and 1985. However, there were no significant differences between the two sides in 1983, 1985 and 1987 during which time the Europeans won twice. Since 1989 the Americans have established over 0.5 SPR advantage (P<0.05) in the last three matches; they have tied one and won the other two.

Keywords: Ryder Cup Teams, Performance Statistics, Average Strokes per Round


1 Introduction

The Ryder Cup, a team competition between the professional golfers of Great Britain and the United States, was inaugurated in 1927 and has been played every two years since that time with the exception of the ten years spanning the Second World War. Thirty matches have been played with the USA demonstrating considerable overall superiority with 25 victories, 2 ties and only 5 losses. In 1979 the rules governing player eligibility were changed to allow the Great Britain team to be strengthened by the inclusion of players from Continental Europe, a move that reflected the growth of the PGA European Tour. Since that time, the teams have become much more evenly matched with the European team being in possession of the trophy for six of the last ten years and gaining their first victory on American soil. This change of fortune led to considerable concern amongst the supporters of American golf particularly and various suggestions have been advanced for the improved performance by the European teams; this paper sets out to examine the validity of some of those suggestions.

Science and Golf II; Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-205-

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