Ryder Cup 2012: How It Works

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Ryder Cup 2012: How It Works
David Cannon/Getty Images
The Ryder Cup and Europe's Jose Maria Olazabal

The 2012 Ryder Cup kicks off Friday at Chicago’s historic Medinah Country Club.

This bi-annual event features the 12 best professional golfers from the United States against the 12 best professional golfers from the European Union. Over the course of three days, they will play a match-play event that is as dramatic as anything you will ever see in sports.

These 24 players truly care about representing their country or region. There is no public prize money on the line. Rather, this is an event that is mostly played for pride and friendship—much like on the amateur level—and it is very, very intense.

Like poker, golf can actually be played in a variety of different ways. What we see week in and week out on television is stroke play. After so many rounds, the golfer with the lowest amount of strokes is the winner.

Match play is an entirely different animal. In poker, you can become a master at five-card draw and no-limit hold ‘em. They are completely different games. However, it is still poker—it has the same basic rules even though there are a ton of ways to play the game.

If you casually watch golf on television and happen to sit down to watch this weekend, you might feel as confused as the person who is a master of seven-card stud sitting at a table playing Omaha Hi-Lo.

Lets take a couple of minutes to walk you through how match play and the Ryder Cup work.

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