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27 Sep 2016 by Sam Vickers

Ryder Cup – Which Countries Are The Greatest Contributors To Team Europe?

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Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota will host the 41st edition of the Ryder Cup when it starts on Friday, as Team Europe enter the competition as holders after winning for a third consecutive time in Scotland in 2014. Here at TSZ, we are going to take a historical look back at Team Europe and answer the following questions:

- Which countries contribute the most to Team Europe’s success?

- Which countries’ players are selected the most?

- Which European players have been the most successful in the Ryder Cup?

In answering the first two questions, we shall look back at the last 10 editions of the Ryder Cup, whilst the final question will take into consideration all European players in Ryder Cup history.

Which countries contribute the most to Team Europe’s success?
In the last 10 editions of the Ryder Cup, Team Europe have been represented by players from 12 different countries, but which of these countries has contributed the most to Team Europe’s success? Let’s find out…

Since the 1995 Ryder Cup, England have led the way in terms of amassing the greatest number of points to Team Europe’s total, with 77; they are way out in front with over double the amount of the next best country Spain, who have contributed with 36 points. Wales have scored 6.5 points since 1995, ahead of France who have only scored 3.5 points.

So England have contributed the greatest amount of points since 1995, but per player which country fares best?

Since 1995, Northern Ireland lead the way in the points per player category with 2.38 points, as Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Captain this time around Darren Clarke having made significant contributions. Northern Ireland only marginally pipped Scotland to the top spot, who on average have scored 2.36 points per player since 1995. Therefore, despite England’s greater total points contribution, the effectiveness of the Scottish and Northern Irish players must not been undervalued.

Which countries’ players are selected the most?
We now know that 12 countries have represented Team Europe in the Ryder Cup since 1995, but which of these countries have represented Team Europe the most?

England have represented Team Europe the most, with 27.50% of the total players since 1995, which equates to 33 players out of a possible 120. Spain are next on the list with 13.33%, which is 16 out of a possible 120 players. Interestingly, Sweden have had greater representation than both Northern Ireland and Scotland, but as we saw in the earlier analysis both Northern Ireland and Scottish players have outscored their Swedish teammates, highlighting the effectiveness of players from these nations.

Which European players have been the most successful in the Ryder Cup?
Originally, the Ryder Cup was contested between Great Britain and the United States of America from 1927-1971, with players from Northern Ireland joining the team in 1947 and players from the Republic of Ireland joining from 1953. The success of non-British or Irish born players such as Seve Ballesteros prompted the inclusion of continental players from 1979, and the team was renamed to Team Europe as we know it today. Finally, we thought we would end by taking a historical look back through the European players’ Ryder Cup history to see which players have been the most successful. We will include all players since the tournament began in 1927.

The great Nick Faldo leads the way on 25 points – the most points won as a European player. The Englishman is closely followed by German Bernhard Langer just one point behind on 24, whilst Colin Montgomerie is half a point further back on 23.5. Of the players ranked inside the top five total points won, two are still able to improve their points tally this time around in Minnesota; Sergio Garcia looks to close down compatriot Seve Ballesteros, needing two points to draw level with his idol, whilst Lee Westwood – a captain’s pick this time – needs two points to draw alongside Nick Faldo at the top of the list.

This analysis has shown that since 1995, English players have scored the greatest amount of points with 77, but per player Northern Ireland have been the most effective nation with 2.38 points scored per player. English players have also been selected most frequently to represent Team Europe with 33 out of the 120 players (27.50%) since 1995. The 2016 Ryder Cup sees two of the greatest points scorers for Team Europe, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, take the stage once again – both will be hoping to continue their success and rise further up the all-time list.

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