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The Ryder Cup A History: 1927 - 2014 By Peter Pugh & Henry Lord

Release date: 04th September, 2014
Publisher: Icon

List Price: £12.99
Our Price: £8.09
You Save: £4.9 (37%)
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Most golfers will tell you there’s nothing worse than the two-and-a-half- footer, a putt from little more than 30 inches which can crumple a man’s confidence and ensure his putting action resembles that of someone sweeping the floor. Being made to putt from such a distance induces a stomach-churning nerviness, especially as the decent opponent might call it a ‘gimmee’.

Putting to square a match exerts even more pressure on the sweaty-palmed individual charged safely guiding a small white ball into the hole. Putting to square a contest that will level the Ryder Cup – well, such pressure is unimaginable.

Faced with such a prospect in 1969, Tony Jacklin became the recipient of one of the greatest examples of sportsmanship and decency ever seen on a golf course. His opponent, Jack Nicklaus, had putted out before Jacklin walked towards his ball, some thirty inches from the hole. The pressure on Jacklin was enormous, but Nicklaus was having none of it; he told the Englishman to pick it up and the match was halved. It bore a remarkable similarity to a finish you might see at your local course. “C’mon Tony, you can have that. Let’s go for a beer.”

After reading the paperback version of the Ryder Cup’s wonderful history (the hardback was published in 2012), it could be argued that without Nicklaus, what was for so long a one-sided affair, the competition could have easily lost its lustre. Instead, Nicklaus suggested that the regularly-hammered British team invite some of the top European players into their squad. The Americans, said Jack, would have no objections.

In the sixteen Ryder Cup contests since 1981, the European team, formed following Nicklaus’s suggestion, has emerged victorious on ten occasions, including the last contest at Medinah, where they staged a remarkable comeback after the Americans led 10-4 on the Saturday afternoon.

This well-written history of golf’s greatest match includes similarly dramatic encounters, though as we prepare for the next one, at Gleneagles later this month, this fine book leaves you thinking that without the inspirational Jack Nicklaus, it’s unlikely the Ryder Cup would be as big as it is today.


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