Ryder Cup Captains: List of All Those Who Have Served

Ryder Cup captains Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus in 1987
Tony Jacklin (left) and Jack Nicklaus in 1987. Both captained their sides multiple times. David Cannon/Getty Images

The Ryder Cup tournament is played every two years and is contested by teams of male professional golfers, one team representing Europe and the other representing the United States. The event traces its roots to 1926, when Samuel Ryder, a British citizen, avid golfer, and successful businessman commissioned a trophy to serve as the prize in a proposed goodwill competition pitting British professional golfers against their American counterparts.

Ryder spent £250 (equivalent to $400 at the time) to have the trophy created. That trophy is the Ryder Cup. The trophy first appeared in public in 1927 at a send-off for the British team departing Southampton, England, and sailing for Worcester, Massachusetts, for the first Ryder Cup match. The original Ryder Cup resides with the Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain & Ireland.

The List of Ryder Cup Captains

For each year listed here, the American captain is listed first, followed by the opposing captain (that would be the Great Britain captain from 1927 through 1971; Great Britain and Ireland—or GB&I—captain in 1973, 1975 and 1977; and European captain from 1979 to present).

Following the list are the records for most wins, losses and times served as captain. Note that the Team USA captain is selected by the PGA of America; the Team Europe captain is chosen by the European Tour.

YearUnited StatesEurope/GB&IWinner
2018Jim FurykThomas BjornEurope
2016Davis Love IIIDarren ClarkeUSA
2014Tom WatsonPaul McGinleyEurope
2012Davis Love IIIJose Maria OlazabalEurope
2010Corey PavinColin MontgomerieEurope
2008Paul AzingerNick FaldoUSA
2006Tom LehmanIan WoosnamEurope
2004Hal SuttonBernhard LangerEurope
2002Curtis StrangeSam TorranceEurope
1999Ben CrenshawMark JamesUSA
1997Tom KiteSeve BallesterosEurope
1995Lanny WadkinsBernard GallacherEurope
1993Tom WatsonBernard GallacherUSA
1991Dave StocktonBernard GallacherUSA
1989Raymond FloydTony JacklinHalved
1987Jack NicklausTony JacklinEurope
1985Lee TrevinoTony JacklinEurope
1983Jack NicklausTony JacklinUSA
1981Dave MarrJohn JacobsUSA
1979Billy CasperJohn JacobsUSA
1977Dow FinsterwaldBrian HuggettUSA
1975Arnold PalmerBernard HuntUSA
1973Jack Burke Jr.Bernard HuntUSA
1971Jay HebertEric BrownUSA
1969Sam SneadEric BrownHalved
1967Ben HoganDai ReesUSA
1965Byron NelsonHarry WeetmanUSA
1963Arnold PalmerJohn FallonUSA
1961Jerry BarberDai ReesUSA
1959Sam SneadDai ReesUSA
1957Jack Burke Jr.Dai ReesGreat Britain
1955Chick HarbertDai ReesUSA
1953Lloyd MangrumHenry CottonUSA
1951Sam SneadArthur LaceyUSA
1949Ben HoganCharles WhitcombeUSA
1947Ben HoganHenry CottonUSA
1937Walter HagenCharles WhitcombeUSA
1935Walter HagenCharles WhitcombeUSA
1933Walter HagenJ.H. TaylorGreat Britain
1931Walter HagenCharles WhitcombeUSA
1929Walter HagenGeorge DuncanGreat Britain
1927Walter HagenTed RayUSA

Records Relating to Ryder Cup Captains

Most Times as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • 6 times: Walter Hagen (1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937)
  • 5 times: Dai Rees (1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1967)
  • 4 times: Tony Jacklin (1983, 1985, 1987, 1989); Charles Whitcombe (1931, 1935, 1937, 1949)
  • 3 times: Ben Hogan (1947, 1949, 1967), Sam Snead (1951, 1959, 1969), Bernard Gallacher (1991, 1993, 1995)

Most Wins as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • Walter Hagen, 4
  • Ben Hogan, 3
  • Tony Jacklin, 2*
  • Arnold Palmer, 2
  • Sam Snead, 2

*Jacklin's overall record was 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 halve. But Europe retained the Cup in the year of the tie, so Jacklin's teams won or held the Cup three times.

Most Losses as Ryder Cup Captain:

  • Dai Rees, 4
  • Charles Whitcombe, 3
  • Walter Hagen, 2
  • Henry Cotton, 2
  • Bernard Gallacher, 2
  • Bernard Hunt, 2
  • John Jacobs, 2

And here's one more interesting factoid: J.H. Taylor, captain of Great Britain in 1933, is the only Ryder Cup captain who never played in the competition.