Ryder Cup Scoring
The Ryder Cup Matches are played using the match play scoring system. Essentially, this is very simple – instead of playing by strokes, golfers play by holes. Winning a hole earns a point and a tie on a hole earns a half point.
In practice, Ryder Cup scoring and associated jargon can be tricky for novices used to stroke-play tournaments to follow. Instead of listing each player’s number of holes, match play scoring tracks players’ leads over one another. For example, if one golfer or team wins three holes and a counterpart wins two holes, the first golfer or team is said to be "1-up" and the opponent is "1-down". If a match is a tie, the golfers are said to be "all square".
If a team is leading by the same number of holes that are still left to be played, the team is described as "dormie-n", where n is the number of holes. Say a team is "3-up" and there are only three holes left to play. The team is described as "dormie-3" – meaning that it needs to win just a point or half point to secure a match win.
Once either party has an insurmountable lead, a match winner is declared.
Final Ryder Cup Scores
The final score of a match play event tells you the number of holes by which the winner was ahead, and whether or not all 18 holes were played.
For example, a final Ryder Cup score of "3 and 2" indicates that the match winner won by 3 holes and that the last two holes of the course weren’t played – so play ended on hole 16. Similarly, a final match score of "4 and 3" means that the winner won by 4 holes, with play ending on hole 14.
If all 18 holes of the course are played, final Ryder Cup scores are listed just as the number of holes by which each opponent is up or down. So a final score of 1-up tells you that the winner won by 1 hole and that the full course was played.
The nature of match play tournaments mean that golfers can use strategies that differ from those for stroke play. For details, see match play strategies.
Understanding Ryder Cup scoring and strategies is important, especially if you plan to bet on match results.