What is the Ryder Cup format and how does it work?

Ryder Cup fever is in full swing as golf’s most exciting tag team tournament returns to our screens this weekend.

Team Europe are looking to defend their title against Team USA on American soil as the best players in the world go head-to-head.

But what is the Ryder Cup format and how does it work?

Explainer analyzes the upcoming Ryder Cup and details the unique format that often leads to three exciting days of golf action. Photo: Adam Davy / PA Wire

How long is the event?

The Ryder Cup lasts for three days, from Friday September 24 to Sunday September 26.

Which players are participating in the event?

The Europe team and the USA team will have 12 players at their disposal.

Europe team: Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger.

United States Team: Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Xander Sc Chaudele, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas.

Ian Poulter celebrates with Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Ryder Cup Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Who are the team captains?

Dublin’s Padraig Harrington will be captain of Europe. Steve Stricker is captain of the United States.

Who are their vice-captains?

Europe team: Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson.

United States Team: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson.

How many matches will be played?

There will be a total of 28 games over the three days.

Ryder Cup Format
Padraig Harrington poses for a photo as he is named European Ryder Cup captain for 2020 during a press conference at Wentworth on January 8, 2019 in Virginia Water, England. Photo: Andrew Redington / Getty Images

What types of matches will be played?

Quartet: Players from each team will compete in pairs.

Players will alternate shots with their teammate over 18 rounds of competitive action.

Fourball: Players on each side will once again be paired up to take on a rival duo, but each player will have their own ball.

The best individual effort of each team on each hole will go towards their scorecard.

Simple: Simple golf, match play.

A dozen Americans will face a dozen Europeans in singles to determine the outcome of the Ryder Cup.

Ryder Cup Format
US golfer Dustin Johnson (left) and US golfer Brooks Koepka speak during their foursome match on day two of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Golf National Course. Photo: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP / Getty Images

What day will each format be played?

Friday and Saturday will both see four foursome games followed by four fourball games.

Sunday is all about singles action.

What is the point system?

The two teams compete for points, ultimately aiming to reach the coveted total of 14.5 points.

A single point is awarded to the player or representative pair who wins a round of golf.

Half a point is awarded to both sides in the event of a tie. No points are awarded to losers.

What happens if he finishes 14-14?

Europe will keep the trophy because they are the reigning champions.

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