Memory’s Mighty Pull: The 1987 Ryder Cup

Excuse me for asking and I hope you won’t mind my interrupting, but I have a question that concerns five of Europe’s best golfers – Severiano Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam. Each was born in a different European country, each would win at least one of golf’s major championships, most became world No 1 and all five contributed hugely to Europe’s success in the Ryder Cup.

Here’s the money fact though: They all were born within 11 months of one another and reached the full flowering of their talents at much the same time. What this meant was that for most Ryder Cups from 1983 to 1997 Europe had up to five world-class golfers in their team, who in all won 16 major championships, even if the other members of the team were not so accomplished.

How lucky was that for European golf? What was in the milk on that continent in the 11 months between April 1957 and March 1958? Perhaps the explanation is that there is no explanation.

In the mid-’70s, the Spaniard Ballesteros burst on the scene with the…


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