Explaining Four Ball – Ryder Cup Edition

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Ryder Cup matches consist of Four Ball, Foursomes and Individual match play.

One of the “official” golf formats, Four Ball also is known as Better Ball or Best Ball. The game consists of two teams of two players, each of whom plays his own ball on each hole (thus, Four Ball). At the end of each hole, the best score of each pair becomes the score for that team. In a match play format, the pair with the lowest score wins the hole. In a stroke play format, the lower number is recorded as that team’s score for the hole.

Example: On the first hole, the US Team scores a 5 and a 4; Europe gets a 6 and a 3. The US’s score for the hole thus is 4; the European score is 3. In Match Play, the Europeans win the hole.

On the course in a four ball match, the partners need to keep a good eye on how the other is doing. If player A has hit a ball to a safe spot, his partner might be able to attempt a riskier shot. If the risk fails to produce reward, the other player at least has a good chance. I like this format because played well, it encourages a gambling style of play.

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