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How the Ryder Cup works

The United States and Europe will fight it out for the Ryder Cup © AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France, Sep 25How will the scoring work in the 42nd Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States, which begins Friday at Le Golf National near Paris?

AFP Sport runs through the essentials:

– Scoring –

Each 12-man team will compete in one session of foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best ball) matches on both Friday and Saturday with 12 final singles matches staged on Sunday.

Each team must omit four players for each of the pairs sessions, but everyone plays on the final day.

Each match victory earns one point. Any matches that are halved — all square after 18 holes — bring both teams half a point.

Because a match can be decided before all the holes are completed, some will end without reaching the 18th.

– Winning –

With 28 matches in all, each team needs 14 1/2 points to clinch victory.

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If the score finishes level on 14-14, then the previous Ryder Cup winner — in this case the United States — retains the trophy. It can happen that the holders reach 13 1/2 points and “go dormie” in a match, clinching half a point by achieving a lead that equals the number of holes remaining.

Barring an unlikely disqualification, that would ensure a team retains the trophy, even though it takes 14 1/2 points to “win” the Cup.

– Foursomes –

In foursomes, also known as alternate shot, each two-man team plays with one ball.

Players take turns hitting shots until each hole is completed. Players alternate hit tee shots with one leading off on odd-numbered holes and the other on even-numbered holes.

The team with the low score wins the hole. If scores are level, the hole is halved.

– Four-balls –

In four-ball, or best-ball, each member of each two-man team plays his own ball.

That puts four balls in play on every hole. The lowest of two scores on each hole counts for a team. Lowest overall score wins the hole. If the lowest scores are level, the hole is halved.

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– Concession –

Unlike in stroke play, players do not have to finish off a hole in match play. Players can concede a stroke — generally a putt. The opponent picks up the ball, takes the score he would have made by holing on the next stroke and continues to the next.

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