2012 Ryder Cup: Understanding the format and rules at Medinah

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Everything you need to know about the format of the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Every other year the best golfers from Europe and the United States lock horns in the Ryder Cup, and this year is shaping up to be a doozy at Medinah Country Club in the Chicago suburbs. It's played a bit different from most tournaments, with each day having it's own format of play.

The Ryder Cup is three days of match play, with each match worth one point. Halved (or tied) matches are worth half of a point for each golfer. There are 28 points total in the Ryder Cup, meaning a score of 14.5 is required to win the event, while 14 points are needed to retain the cup by the defending champions. All matches will play no more than 18 holes.

Day-one action on Friday consists of a morning session and an afternoon session. The morning will by the foursome section of the tournament as partners play alternating shots against their competitors. There will be four foursome matches on Friday. The afternoon of day one will consist of the fourball matches, where partners play their own ball and take the lower score between them on that particular hole. There will be four fourball matches as well.

Day two will be similar to day one as there will be four foursome matches in the morning and four fourball matches in the afternoon. Sunday's day three will consist of 12 single matches with one player from the United States taking on a European player in head-to-head match play.

Action begins Friday morning from Medinah with coverage starting at 8 a.m. ET on ESPN.

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