How to Qualify for the Ryder Cup

By Steve Silverman

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The Ryder Cup is a competition between the top American golfers and their counterparts from Europe. This team tournament has grown extremely popular with golf fans over the last two decades. Europeans have dominated the Ryder Cup prior to the 2008 competition when the United States defeated Europe 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Only the top players represent their teams. Here are the qualification requirements.


Difficulty: Challenging
  1. Finish among the leading money winners in the four major golf tournaments. This means that golfers who have the best cumulative finish in the Masters, U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA championship earn a spot on their team.
  2. Finish among the leading point scorers on the PGA tour over a two-year period. Points are awarded based on the prize money earned during the tournaments. You get one point for every $1,000 earned in PGA tournaments, both majors and non-majors. You get half a point for every $1,000 earned in tournaments that are played at the same time as the four majors. The eight leading point scorers are named to the team.
  3. Understand that the captain of the Ryder Cup can name four players to the team at his own discretion. Players who may have been hot toward the end of the qualifying period can get named to the team this way. Qualifying through the point system takes place over a two-year period.
  4. Know that being a member of the winning Ryder Cup team from the previous competition does not give a golfer any technical advantage to making the team for the next competition. However, a golfer who sunk a match-winning putt to play a key role in the previous championship may stick in the mind of the team's captain when it comes to discretionary selections.
  5. Keep in mind that if you didn't finish in the top eight point finishers and were not a captain's choice, you may still get a spot as an alternate. Any golfer who was named to the team but gets sick or injured can be replaced at the captain's discretion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Golfers in the Ryder Cup compete for the trophy every two years.