Originally it was played between a team of golf professionals from Great Britain and Northern Ireland against a team from the USA, home and away every two years. In 1979 it was altered for a more competitive edge, to be played between Europe and the USA and has developed into a great sporting spectacle, attracting a huge amount of interest from all around the world.
Coming up for auction at Bonhams Golfing Memorabilia sale in January 2008 is a rare item that probably will never be offered for auction again, Samuel Ryder’s personal putter that he used for many years.
There are only two known putters to have been used by Sam Ryder during his golfing life. Both of them have a scared or spliced neck. He must have had a preference for this type of putter as against the more normal type used after 1900 the socket neck, which features a round shaft fitted into a drilled round hole in the neck of the head. Maybe he felt more comfortable with a scare neck putter as he was known to be a good putter. Interestingly both putters have had an aiming line cut across the top or crown of the head to help “line up the ball”.
His first putter made by George Brews the professional at Royal Blackheath Golf Club now hangs on the wall of Verulam Golf Club, Sam Ryder’s home club. This putter, finished in dark stained Beechwood, has a flat lie, so Samuel must have had quite a stooped stance when putting. This putter is highly prized by the golf club and would never be offered for sale.
The second putter, the one now coming to auction was made by Robert Forgan the famous St. Andrews club maker, has a light brown finish, is quite heavy and has very upright lie. So maybe Samuel suffered from a bad back later in life and had to stand more upright or maybe he just found a better way to putt by standing taller!
This putter was given as a gift from Samuel Ryder to the father of the vendor and has a provenance to verify the authenticity. It should create a great deal of interest of buyers from both sides of the Atlantic.