s Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club logo

The Ryder Cup

In 1933 Southport & Ainsdale was chosen to host the Ryder Cup match – Great Britain versus America. Having staged the Dunlop – Southport Tournament in 1931 and 1933, the Ryder Cup Committee of the Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club were not without experience of large golfing events.

250 stewards armed with long canes with a red flag on top were ready to marshall the crowds, white lines around each green indicated just where the limit was for the spectators to stand, and the Official Programme contained an impressive list of “dont’s” to guide all those watching who were not golfers.

Whilst the course itself was in good shape and would provide a more than adequate test for the 20 best golfers in Britain and America, the clubhouse and it’s facilities, whilst attractive, could only be described as modest.

Captain A.N. Openshaw was the very able Secretary at the time, whilst the Professional was Percy Roberts who was in his 24th year at the Club, and would soon be granted Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his hard work during the Ryder Cup match, where he acted as Starter, no microphone of course! Just a good loud voice had to suffice. The Club Chairman, Mr. T.H.Thomas, and the Captain, Mr Paul Carter, played commanding roles in all that went on to ensure the success of the 1933 Ryder Cup match.

The respective Captains J.H. Taylor and Walter Hagen shake hands beside the practice putting green. Samuel Ryder supervises.

The Four Foursomes – DAY 1

Monday June 26th, 1933

The weather was ideal when the battle for the Ryder Cup commenced before a crowd of about 7,000 spectators. There was a bright sunshine nearly all day apart from a short period in the afternoon when rain threatened, but fortunately the heavy clouds passed.

At the end of the morning rounds, Great Britain led in three games, the other game being all square. In the first game Allis and Whitcombe stood 3-up on the powerful American pairing of Sarazen and Hagen, Mitchel and Havers were 4-up on Dutra and Shute in the second game and Padgham and Perry were also 4-up in the last game against Dudley and Burke. In the third game Davies and Easterbrook stood all square with Wood and Runyan.

The best golf of the morning had come from Allis and Whitcombe, and Mitchell and Havers, both round in 72. With a handsome lead in three games and all square in the fourth, the match situation was better than anyone could have hoped for. In the afternoon rounds the Americans fought back.

In the first game Hagen and Sarazen, round in 74, managed to halve their game after Britain had been dormie 1-up. Mitchell and Havers continued to play polished golf and won in 3 and 2 to claim the first point for Great Britain. In the third game, Davies and Easterbrook held on to beat Wood and Runyan by the smallest margin and claim Britain’s second point.

The fourth game saw a wonderful recovery by Dudley and Burke. Round in 70 , they overcame a four hole deficit to beat Padgham and Perry by one hole. So ended a very satisfactory first day for Great Britain, leading by 2 1/2 points to 1 1/2.

The Eight Singles – Day 2

Tuesday June 27th, 1933

On Tuesday June 27th 1933, Great Britain defeated the U.S.A. by 6 1/2 to 5 1/2 over the Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Links, thus regaining the Ryder Cup that they had lost 2 years ago in Scioto, Columbus, Ohio. Each country had won the Ryder Cup twice.

The eight singles proved to be an exciting business. When the morning 18 hole had been completed each side was ahead in three matches – Mitchell, Lacey and Allis for Brian; Sarazen, Shute and Smith for the U.S.A.. The Davies-Wood and the Havers-Diegel matches were all square.

As the afternoon rounds proceeded the U.S.A. seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Although Mitchell trounced Olim Dutra to gain Britain’s first point, Sarazen beat Padgham, Hagen beat Lacey, and Wood beat Davies. The U.S.A. were now leading by one match. Then came two British wins. Allis beat Runyan and Havers defeated Diegel. The match was tilted in Britain’s favour. Horton Smith, however defeated Charles Whitcombe by 2 and 1, and the whole match was level yet again. Only the match between Easterbrook and Shute remained on the course, about to play the last hole – all square with just 1 hole to play. Earlier, Shute had been one up with four holes to play, but Easterbrook had holed from five yards to win the 15th, there he had holed from a similar distance to halve the 16th, and on the 17th he had to negotiate a partial stymie from two yards to halve the hole. Many thousands of spectators now lined the fairway on both sides, and driving from the 18th tee was like playing down a narrow corridor. Both drives finished in bunkers, and both players took three to reach the green. The balls lay almost equidistant from the hole, but it was Shute to putt first. He went boldly for the hole from about five yards and missed, and his ball went about six feet beyond the hole.

Easterbrook’s putt for a four also missed but his ball lay only two feet from the hole. If Shute holed his six-footer the Ryder Cup match would have probably been halved and the U.S.A. would have retained the cup, being the present holders of the Trophy. Shute missed and Easterbrook holed his putt. The Ryder Cup had been regained by Britain. It was now two matches each in the Ryder Cup series!

The Presentation

In 1933 The Prince of Wales was extremely popular, now here was he at the Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club in his capacity as President of the Professional Golfers Association to present the Ryder Cup to Great Britain.

The Prince said, like all those present, he was glad that Britain had won. He paid tribute to the United States team and said that he was glad they had sent over such a fine side and then admitted that personally he was not sure whether he would rather be faced with a long putt in a difficult game than to have to make a speech. On accepting the Trophy, J.H. Taylor, the Non-playing Captain of the Great Britain team, said he was the proudest man in the British Commonwealth of people at that moment. He praised the Americans for their generous and sporting attitude to the game and complimented the spectators for their magnificent behaviour during the two days of the Ryder Cup . In reply Walter Hagen, the U.S.A. Captain, thanked his Royal Highness for being at Southport & Ainsdale. Though the Ryder Cup would be staying in Britain they would not be downhearted. Mr Hagen closed by congratulating the Great Britain team on their excellent golf.

The members of the two teams were presented each with a medal by the Prince of Wales, and after three hearty cheers, led by J.H. Taylor, had been given, the Prince returned to the Clubhouse and shortly after departed by car.