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From American Dominance to European Emergence, Part 2

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The Ryder Cup was set to resume in 1947, but Great Britain was reeling from the aftereffects of World War II. The British PGA simply didn't have the money to send a team to the United States.

The 1947 Ryder Cup likely wouldn't have been played had a wealthy benefactor not stepped forward. Robert Hudson was a fruit grower and canner in Oregon who offered the use of his club, Portland Golf Club, for the matches, and paid the way for the British team to make the trip. Hudson even flew to New York to meet the British team as it disembarked from the Queen Mary passenger ship, then took the cross-country train journey with them to Portland (a trip that took 3 1/2 days).

Hudson's hospitality was far greater than that of the American team, which thrashed the war- and travel-weary Brits, 11-1. It was the worst loss in Ryder Cup history - only Sam King's defeat of Herman Keiser in the final singles match prevented a shutout.

And the 1947 U.S. team was surely one of the strongest in the event's history: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead led the squad, joined by Jimmy Demaret, Lew Worsham, Dutch Harrison, Porky Oliver, Lloyd Mangrum and Keiser.

The Ryder Cup competition was never in danger again following 1947, but the continued dominance of Team USA did lend the event a collegial feeling in many years. The British teams often found themselves mathematically defeated before the singles matches even began. But the competition was always played out, with all matches completed in a show of sportsmanship.

Britain's lone victory between 1935 and 1985 came in 1957, when the team dominated singles play. Ken Bousfield, captain Dai Rees, Bernard Hunt and Christy O'Connor Sr. all won by large margins.

The competitive balance in the Ryder Cup began to change, however, in 1979, the first Ryder Cup to feature Team Europe. The U.S. won the first two U.S.-vs.-Europe Cups easily, 17-11 in 1979 and 18.5-9.5 in 1981.

But the European team was welcoming players who would soon turn the tide. Nick Faldo's first Ryder Cup was 1977; Seve Ballesteros first played in 1979; and Bernhard Langer made the scene in 1981. These three players, along with fiery captains such as Bernhard Gallacher and Tony Jacklin, helped Europe quickly establish equal footing with the U.S.

Europe's first victory came in 1985, and Europe would win again in 1987, and retain the Cup with a tie in 1989. Between 1985 and 2002, Europe won five times, the U.S. three times, with the one tie in '89.

European success not only rekindled interest in the Ryder Cup in Great Britain and Europe, but also in the U.S., where American golf fans had come to take the Ryder Cup for granted.

Emotional, hard-fought and closely contested competitions have been the result, with golf fans around the world the ultimate winners.

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