1933 Ryder Cup: Down to the Last Putt

1933 Ryder Cup scoreboard
A scoreboard the 1933 Ryder Cup. Fox Photos/Getty Images

The 1933 Ryder Cup was one of the most closely contested in the history of the tournament: It came down to one putt in the last match on the course on the final green.

Dates: June 26-27, 1933
Score: Great Britain 6.5, USA 5.5
Site: Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club in Southport, England
Captains: USA - Walter Hagen; Great Britain - J.H. Taylor

This was the fourth time the Ryder Cup was played, and following the outcome here both teams, the USA and Great Britain, had won twice (each win by the home team).

1933 Ryder Cup Team Rosters

United States
Billy Burke
Leo Diegel
Ed Dudley
Olin Dutra
Walter Hagen
Paul Runyan
Gene Sarazen
Denny Shute
Horton Smith
Craig Wood
Great Britain
Percy Alliss, England
Allan Dailey, Scotland
William Davies, England
Syd Esterbrook, England
Arthur Havers, England
Arthur Lacey, England
Abe Mitchell, England
Alf Padgham, England
Alf Perry, England
Charles Whitcombe, England

Notes on the 1933 Ryder Cup

In retrospect, the 1933 USA Ryder Cup team looks like one of the strongest ever assembled: eight of the 10 members finished their careers with at least two wins in majors. Only one of the 10 (Ed Dudley) failed to win at least one major championship title in his career.

But it was Team Great Britain that earned the victory, keeping alive the streak through the first four Ryder Cups of the home team winning.

Great Britain got off to a great start in foursomes when Charles Whitcombe and Percy Alliss (father of Peter Alliss, a later British Ryder Cupper) teamed to earn a halve with the powerhouse partnership of Gene Sarazen and player-captain Walter Hagen.

The Brits won the next two foursomes, and finished Day 1 leading by one point.

Sarazen opened the Day 2 singles with a 6-and-4 victory, but then Britain's Abe Mitchell clocked Olin "King Kong" Dutra 9 and 8. The teams traded points until Horton Smith took a 2-and-1 win over Whitcombe, tying the score at 5.5, and leaving one match on the golf course.

That match was Denny Shute vs. Syd Easterbrook, and it reached the 36th hole all square. Shute needed only to halve the hole to halve the match, which would allow the USA to retain the cup.

But Shute's lengthy par putt to win the hole rolled well past the hole, and then he missed the 4-foot comebacker to lose the hole and the match. It was a final-hole 3-putt, giving Easterbrook the hole and the match, and Great Britain the Ryder Cup.

The PGA of America history points out that the 1933 Ryder Cup was the final one attended by namesake Samuel Ryder, who died in 1936.

This was an era in golf history when American players rarely traveled to play the British Open. However, every fourth year, when the Ryder Cup was played in Britain, most of the American team members stayed over or arrived early (depending on scheduling) to play the Open. Although Shute 3-putted away the Ryder Cup, a short time later he won the 1933 British Open.

Match Results

Matches played over two days, foursomes on Day 1 and singles on Day 2. All matches scheduled for 36 holes.

Foursomes

  • Percy Alliss/Charles Whitcombe, GB, halved with Gene Sarazen/Walter Hagen, U.S.
  • Abe Mitchell/Arthur Havers, GB, def. Olin Dutra/Denny Shute, U.S., 3 and 2
  • William Davies/Syd Easterbrook, GB, def. Craig Wood/Paul Runyan, U.S., 1-up
  • Ed Dudley/Billy Burke, U.S., def. Alf Padgham/Alf Perry, GB, 1-up

Singles

  • Gene Sarazen, U.S., def. Alf Padgham, GB, 6 and 4
  • Abe Mitchell, GB, def. Olin Dutra, GB, 9 and 8
  • Walter Hagen, U.S., def. Arthur Lacey, GB, 2 and 1
  • Craig Wood, U.S., def. William Davies, GB, 4 and 3
  • Percy Alliss, GB, def. Paul Runyan, U.S., 2 and 1
  • Arthur Havers, GB, def. Leo Diegel, U.S., 4 and 3
  • Syd Easterbrook, GB, def. Denny Shute, U.S., 1-up
  • Horton Smith, U.S., def. Charles Whitcombe, GB, 2 and 1

Player Records at the 1933 Ryder Cup

Each golfer's record, listed as wins-losses-halves:

United States
Billy Burke, 1-0-0
Leo Diegel, 0-1-0
Ed Dudley, 1-0-0
Olin Dutra, 0-2-0
Walter Hagen, 1-0-1
Paul Runyan, 0-2-0
Gene Sarazen, 1-0-1
Denny Shute, 0-2-0
Horton Smith, 1-0-0
Craig Wood, 1-1-0
Great Britain
Percy Alliss, 1-0-1
Allan Dailey, did not play
William Davies, 1-1-0
Syd Esterbrook, 2-0-0
Arthur Havers, 2-0-0
Arthur Lacey, 0-1-0
Abe Mitchell, 2-0-0
Alf Padgham, 0-2-0
Alf Perry, 0-1-0
Charles Whitcombe, 0-1-1

1931 Ryder Cup | 1935 Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup Results