Ryder Cup Ticket Buying Guide

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Ryder Cup Ticket Buying Guide

Since 1927, Europe's top male pro golfers have competed in a match tourney against American pros for the honour of claiming the Ryder Cup. Actually, until 1979, the contest was confined to U.K. vs. U.S. But as outstanding players from Europe, especially Spain, joined the pro tour, the Ryder Cup competition opened to the entire European continent and U.S. domination of the Cup slowed.

Every Ryder Cup is notable but among the upcoming events scheduled, the 2018 Cup is of particular interest. This Ryder Cup is the first to be held in France and only the second European Ryder to be held outside the U.K. Its location near Versailles gives it interest to travellers for whom a European vacation should include more than golf.

Buying tickets for the Ryder Cup begins long before the event. Tickets go on sale more than a year in advance, so planning is essential. No tickets are available at the event venue. The match play tournament involves three different kinds of events so a traveller should make sure to purchase tickets for those events desired if not purchasing a pass for the entire tournament. Various kinds of accommodation and travel may be combined with the event tickets as package holidays. As tickets and packages become available, they may be purchased from authorised vendors selling direct and in such online markets as eBay.

How the Ryder Cup is Played

Each of the three days of the tournament several matches are played, each of which counts for one point. Twenty-eight matches are played in all. If a match is tied at the end of 18 holes, half a point goes to each team. Unlike some other sports, there is no overtime play and no tie-breaker round. Since there are an even number of matches, it is conceivable that the final score could be a 14-14 tie. When that occurs, the cup remains with the current cup holder.

Basics of Match Play

In match play, players are not competing for the lowest overall score on the entire course but for the lowest score on each hole. So the player with the lowest score on the first hole wins one point. If the same player has the lowest score on the second hole, he gets a second point: 2-up. If on the third hole, the other player gets the lowest score, then things begin to even up: the score is only 1-up for the first player. Should they both score the same on the third hole, the score remains unchanged: 1-up. It does not matter whether the score on each hole is a bogey or a birdie: what matters is how each player's score compares to the other player's score.

Match Play in the Ryder Cup

With 12 players for each side in the Ryder Cup, an organised system of team play is to be expected. The way Ryder Cup play is organised is as follows.

Day

Format

Description

Friday and Saturday

Foursomes

Pairs play two on two; players alternate who tees off and alternate strokes on each hole; lowest team score takes it for their team

Friday and Saturday

Fourball

Pairs play the holes individually; lowest individual score takes it for their team

Sunday

Individual

Individual players compete with one player from the other team with a total of 12 points at stake in the round

For those golfers accustomed to standard stroke play, match play is a different game of golf. It makes golf a team sport, with the honours to the region, not the player.

Where the Ryder Cup is Played

The Ryder Cup competition is held every two years with its location alternating between courses in Europe and the United States. Selected courses through to 2020 are noted in the table that follows.

Year

Club

Location

Course of Play

Course Designer(s)

2012

Medinah Country Club

Medinah, Illinois, USA

Course Number 3

Tom Bendelow, Roger Packard, Rees Jones

2014

Gleaneagles Hotel

Auchterarder, Perth, and Kinross, Scotland

PGA Centenary Course

Jack Nicklaus

2016

Hazeltine National Golf Club

Chaska, Minnesota, USA

Hazeltine National

Robert Trent Jones, Rees Jones

2018

Le Golf National

Versailles, France

l'Abatros

Hubert Chesneau, von Hagge Design Associates

2020

Whistling Straits

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA

TBA

Pete Dye

Package holidays may include tickets, accommodations, ground transportation, and hospitality. It is also possible to book a tee time on the Ryder Cup course outside of the official practice and competition hours. If this is an important part of the Ryder Cup experience for a particular traveller, be sure to discuss it with the tour operator. To schedule this may require extending travel beyond the usual package tour.

Ticket Packages

Various ticket packages are available. Among ticket packages frequently offered are the following:

Ticket Type

Events Covered 

Days Covered

Standard Entry

Final practice day, opening ceremony, all three match days, closing ceremony

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Practice Day Upgrade

One additional day of practice

Wednesday

Practice Day Upgrade

One additional day of practice

Tuesday

Some ticket agents offer two-day tickets good for only Friday and Saturday or only Saturday and Sunday to accommodate those travellers who have only limited breaks. When making reservations, ask about the availability of two-day tickets if these are required.

Tickets Must Be Purchased in Advance and Sell Out Early

Tickets are non-transferrable. The European Ryder Cup organisation requires photo ID be included on all authorised public event tickets to prevent resale by ticket touts. It is therefore advisable to register interest in tickets as early as possible to ensure that an authorised ticket seller reserves event tickets and  makes the bookings for any other required facilities. Past Ryder Cup tickets may be available on occasion in the sports memorabilia market.

Accommodation

The club resort itself is typically fully booked with players, officials, and other dignitaries associated with the Ryder Cup tournament. However, many hotels, house and flat rentals, bed and breakfast homes, and other accommodations are always available in the area.

Hotel accommodations offered as part of package holidays are often located up to an hour from the club resort. This becomes necessary as the tour operators seek sufficient accommodations of top quality for the large numbers of people who book trips to the Ryder Cup. Since tour operators include ground transportation as part of the package holiday, this is not a difficulty for getting back and forth to ticketed events. A traveller who prefers to manage his or her own schedule may wish to hire a car or take their own.

One way to stay closer to the action is to book with one of the many private homeowners who open their houses for rental or provide bed and breakfast accommodation during Ryder Cup week. Seeking out these special accommodations can provide an opportunity to get to know local people and the local golf community at the same time that travellers are enjoying the Ryder Cup itself.

Transportation

Many package holidays include shuttle transportation between accommodation and the Ryder Cup competition course. This is helpful since the large numbers who attend the event forces planners to commandeer the quality accommodations over a significant distance. The 2012 Ryder Cup in the U.S.A. drew more than 40,000 attendees daily; the 2010 event in Wales drew 50,000 daily to waterlogged courses that some said were more reminiscent of the muddy Glastonbury festival grounds than a golf tournament.

Parking Near the Courses

Those who wish more flexibility in their transportation may choose to drive or hire a car but should keep in mind the limited parking available near the courses. If a traveller is likely to wish to leave before the day is over, then he or she should also keep in mind the time or distance required to travel to any car park that is available. Each course makes its own arrangements for car parks, with varying prices associated. Some are within a walk while others require a shuttle bus ride or are associated with a rail station. Often car park rentals are arranged for multiple days.

Appropriate Clothing to Pack

The wardrobe packed for any trip to a Ryder Cup tournament should accommodate local weather and the requirements of any golf course to be played. Here are some brief guidelines for travellers for those Ryder Cup events that have been scheduled through 2020.

Scotland

Weather in Scotland is not entirely predictable, so it is always wise to pack waterproofs and a woollen sweater. It is also important to be sure that the clothing packed includes clothing that meets the dress code of any course to be played. The dress codes at many clubs do not allow the wearing of trainers, collarless shirts, or jeans.

Typical dress on the course would include a golf shirt with a collar, a golf sweater, or waterproof in cool or damp weather, golf trousers, and golf shoes. Ladies may wear a skirt or capris at some courses.

Upper Midwestern USA

The upper Midwest of the United States is entering its autumn season when the Ryder Cup is played. The average daily temperatures in Minnesota range from a high of 24 degrees Celsius to a low of 9 degrees during the month of September. In Wisconsin the average high is 22 with the average low at 12. So, those travelling to Hazeltine National in 2016 need to pack for a slightly wider temperature range than those heading to Whistling Straits, but cooler temperatures are to be expected in either circumstance.

Again, if planning to play any local courses, check the club's dress code before packing to make sure that golf clothing that meets its expectations has been packed.

Versailles, France

During Ryder Cup week, Versailles is also enjoying temperate autumn weather, with an average September high of 21 and and average low of 11. September is moderately rainy in Versailles, with precipitation about half the days of an average month. Travellers do well to carry weather protection, as in Scotland, and to be prepared for the dress codes at any course they may play.

Volunteering at the Ryder Cup

Volunteering during the Ryder Cup competition is a popular way to get close to the action and the players. Although it may seem hard to believe, event organisers typically have received more applications to serve as volunteers than volunteers required as much as 18 months in advance of a given Ryder Cup event. Therefore, anyone interested in volunteering during a particular year's Ryder Cup is encouraged to make contact with the volunteer committee as early as possible to enquire about the application process.

Buying Ryder Cup Tickets on eBay

Ryder Cup tickets and ticket packages come available more than a year in advance of each event. Obtaining tickets therefore requires significant pre-planning. Authorised tickets and package holidays are available only through authorised vendors, whose advertisements may often be found on eBay. Accommodation, transportation, and such items as local tee times may be arranged independently if that is a traveller's preference.

Planning a Ryder Cup Trip with eBay

A traveller who is assembling a trip instead of purchasing a package plan must attend to a range of details. Many offers of nearby housing are made during the Ryder Cup. Search for 'Ryder Cup accommodation' to locate offers during the event week nearby. Alternatively, search the event city and 'accommodation', then look for those offering housing during the event week. A buyer may feel confident in a seller of accommodation or other travel services by noting the feedback previous buyers have left about a seller on the product or service description page. A ribbon next to the product illustration on the search page indicates a top-rated seller with a history of high reliability and good customer service.

Conclusion

Golf is played by more than 65 million people, making it the most widely played individual sport in the world. Match play golf, like the team play of the Ryder Cup tournament, makes for a particularly interesting spectator sport. Those selecting tickets for the Ryder Cup should be sure to buy tickets that cover the events they wish to watch, whether those be the foursome, fourball, or individual play.

A Ryder Cup vacation must be planned well in advance, so it may as well be planned for a location where one wishes to travel and to play nearby golf courses as well. The 2018 tournament at Le Golf National near Versailles offers a unique opportunity for a golfer and a non-golfing spouse to enjoy two separate vacations on the same trip. Planning a Ryder Cup vacation is easy using the resources on eBay to locate accommodations, transportation, and authorised Ryder Cup ticket sellers.

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