The two teams for the 11th staging of the Junior Ryder Cup have now been finalised and the two-day match at Golf Disneyland in Paris will again be a much-anticipated curtain-raiser to the main event.
The Junior Ryder Cup – which is free to attend for any interested fans – officially started in 1997, but it the USA has won the last five contests, so Europe who have won only three of the 10 matches so far will be keen to break this streak on home ground.
A growing number of past players in these junior matches – who must be at least under 18 at the start of the year of the match – have gone on to have fabulous pro careers as adults starting with Sergio Garcia who was just 15 when he played for Europe in an unofficial match in 1995.
Other recent Junior Ryder Cuppers include Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Hunter Mahan, Carlota Ciganda and Carly Booth.
The Junior Ryder Cup was formally introduced as a competition in its own right in 1999 at Alcaidesa Links and San Roque in Cadiz, Spain. The inaugural event was won by the USA.
This year’s event will take place on September 24 and 25 – three days before the Ryder Cup itself – and the make-up of the USA team was set earlier this month. The US 12 players includes 2017 and 2018 Boys Junior PGA Champion Akshay Bhatia of North Carolina and 15-year-old Lucy Li from California, the top girl qualifier, who will be playing in her second Junior Ryder Cup.
Meanwhile, the last two qualifying events for Europe’s team both took place on Sunday (19 Aug) in Northern Ireland, the Girls British Open Amateur Championship in Ardglass and the Boys Amateur Championship in Royal Portrush. The two champions – Emma Spitz of Austria and England’s Conor Gough – are automatically on the team, according to Europe’s complex selection process. Gough, at aged 15, will be among the youngest players on show and Europe will also boast a set of twins – 17-year-old Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark.
1997 – Europe 7 USA 9
1999 – USA 1½ Europe 11½
2002 – Europe 9½ USA 2½
2004 – USA 3½ Europe 8½
2006 – Europe 6 USA 6
2008 – USA 22 Europe 2
2010 – Europe 10½ USA 13½
2012 – USA 14½ Europe 9½
2014 – Europe 8 USA 16
2016 – USA 15½ Europe 8½