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"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Football manager

The Ryder Cup

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Nick Callow, London Carlton 2016. ISBN 978-1-78097-799-7

I love the Ryder Cup. I have been privileged to attend at least three. That professional golf is an individual sport in which players compete with each other for prize-money, makes the Ryder Cup special. For one week every second year 12 golfers from Europe play 12 from USA not for money but for the prestige of winning the Ryder Cup. Two thirds of the golf is played two against two - a format almost unknown in the professional game.

Players, who literally play for millions, admit that they have never felt as nervous as when they stand on the first tee at a Ryder Cup to the point of wondering if they can actually manage to hit the ball. As Arnold Palmer put it, playing for “something far grander and more personal” than money.

This 250 page book, replete with wonderful colour photos grasps the essence of the Ryder Cup. It covers the origins of the competition, has a report on every Ryder Cup including detailed results and contemporary pictures and Ryder Cup statistics.

Probably my favourite part of the book is the Ryder Cup legends section which profiles 30 great Ryder Cup players, beginning with Walter Hagen in the 1930s to Rory McIlroy in the modern era.

The book inadvertently contributes to our understanding of the development of the game, as we compare fashions as shown in the photographs and also note how much longer modern courses are than those in the 1930s.

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