Ryder Cup format: What is the difference between foursomes and fourballs and how many points do Team Europe need to win?

Ryder Cup format: What is the difference between foursomes and fourballs and how many points do Team Europe need to win?

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The 2023 Ryder Cup is underway and fans from across the world are tuning in to watch the world’s best male golfers in action.

Team Europe will take to the Marco Simone Golf Club aiming to get revenge on Team USA after a heavy defeat in 2021. 

Team Europe will want to bounce back from their loss in 2021

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Team Europe will want to bounce back from their loss in 2021Credit: Getty

All you need to know about the 2023 Ryder Cup

Captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson have both selected their teams for the tournament which consists of a unique format. 

So talkSPORT.com takes a look at exactly how the Ryder Cup works…

Ryder Cup format

The Ryder Cup is held over three days and consists of three different, match-play disciplines. 

They include the foursomes, fourballs and the singles. 

On the opening two days of the competition, the foursomes and fourballs take place before the 12 singles matches are played on Sunday. 

The winner of each match gets a point for their team and if the match is tied after 18 holes, each team will receive half a point. 

Every player competes in the singles matches but the team captains select who will compete in the other disciplines.

Teams will compete in pairs on the opening two days of the tournament

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Teams will compete in pairs on the opening two days of the tournamentCredit: Getty

What is the difference between a foursome and a four-ball? 

Foursome and fourball are similar names but they are in fact different matches and have separate rules from each other.

In foursomes, also known as alternate shot, Europe and USA will have a two-man team each who take turns hitting the ball. 

So if one player hits the tee shot, the other player on the team takes the next one and so on. 

The players also have to alternate who takes the tee shot on each hole and the team with the lowest score at the end of each hole wins a point. 

As for fourballs, also known as better ball, each member of the two-man team will play their own hole. 

This means four balls are in play and only the lowest score on each team is counted to win the hole.

Over 14 points will win the Ryder Cup for Team Europe or Team USA

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Over 14 points will win the Ryder Cup for Team Europe or Team USACredit: Getty

How many points does a team need to win? 

There are a total of 28 points available between the two teams. 

This means a team needs to reach 14½ points across the three days to win the trophy. 

If the tournament finishes with the scores level at 14-14, the previous winner of the Ryder Cup will retain their title. 

And in this year’s case that would be the USA who won 19-9 in 2021.

Ryder Cup 2023 Betting Odds

USA – 10/11

Europe – 6/5

Tie – 12/1

*Odds correct as of 10:30 25/9/2023

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