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Explaining the Ryder Cup, the most intense event in golf

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Every two years, the usual format and staid nature of golf is thrown out the window at the Ryder Cup.

Not familiar with the best event in golf? Let’s get you up to speed.

There is no event in golf like the Ryder Cup. It’s the closest thing golf has to the other competitive team sports. Every two years, 12 of the best U.S. golfers go up against 12 of the best European golfers in what has become the most pressurized setting in the game.

Every player that has participated in a Ryder Cup will tell you as much. They will tell you they’ve never felt anything like the nerves of standing on the first tee at the Ryder Cup. Or felt the suffocating anxiety of a trying to win a point for their team. They will tell you the pressure of the Masters does not compare.

So what makes this so different? Match play is a dramatic departure from the usual old stroke play we get every week on the PGA Tour. There’s an adversarial element here, one that allows for some gamesmanship and a little extra celebration any time you come through for your team. You’re allowed to have fun. Unbutton the top few buttons on your shirt, scream a little louder, and dance off the green to celebrate with your partner or teammates.

It’s the most unique setting in golf and one that’s become the game’s best event. So we’re here to give you a quick primer explaining how it works and just why it’s so great.