What is the “envelope rule” at the Ryder Cup?

Ryder Cup Trophy Envelope Rule

With the 2018 European and USA Ryder Cup teams almost finalised and the match inching ever closer, you might hear the term “envelope rule” banded around over the coming weeks.

But what is it and how does it work?

The envelope rule, introduced with the addition of Continental Europeans to the match in 1979, comes into effect in the event that one of the players gets injured during the course of the contest and is unable to compete in Sunday’s final singles session.

• Check out what Team USA will be wearing in the 2018 Ryder Cup?

• What has happened to 2014 Ryder Cup star Victor Dubuisson?

In one of the more obscure Ryder Cup traditions, the opposing captain can select one player from his team that he would like not to compete. The nominated player is then matched up with the injured player and the match is recorded as a half.

There is, of course, a catch. The captains must place the name of their nominated player in an envelope prior to the start of the singles matches.

The names are a closely guarded secret and are only revealed if they are used. Captains hand them over when the singles draw is made and, if they are not required, the envelopes are destroyed so that no-one will ever know who the “benched” players would have been.

Tom Watson Lanny Wadkins

There have only been a few recorded instances of the envelope having been needed.

In 1991, Steve Pate was too sore from a traffic accident on the Wednesday of Ryder Cup week to play on the Sunday. European captain Bernard Gallacher had chosen to bench David Gilford, and so the Englishman sat out the match, with both teams getting a half-point.

• Bookie offers VERY short odds on this course hosting 2026 Ryder Cup

• Where is the 2018 Ryder Cup match taking place?

Most recently, in 1993, Lanny Wadkins offered to ‘take one for the team’ and actually volunteered himself for the envelope. Captain Tom Watson duly obliged and when Sam Torrance couldn’t play due to a sore left foot, Wadkins sat out the final session.

Incidentally, the same rule exists in the Presidents but not in the Solheim Cup.

Share this Article

share-logo
twitter-logo facebook-logo

Latest Videos See all videos right arrow

play button
CALLAWAY MAVRIK DRIVERS - Should one of these be your new driver?
Callaway
play button
MAVRIK vs EPIC FLASH – Is Callaway’s new driver longer???
Callaway
play button
REVIEW – TAYLORMADE SIM vs SIM MAX
TaylorMade
play button
NEW TAYLORMADE SIM DRIVERS – Why you NEED to try them
TaylorMade
See all videos right arrow

Golf News

What the hell's happened to Augusta National?!
Tour pro involved in car crash in Dubai
Fleetwood tips former world no.1 for Ryder Cup spot
“We are not robots,” says Garcia on 2019 flare-ups
Westwood targets Ryder Cup spot as he equals sensational record

Other Top Stories

Tiger Woods puts new irons in the bag
New Fife golf course gets go ahead
REVIEW - Adare Manor, Ireland's rejuvenated masterpiece
Win a spot in the ASI Scottish Open Pro-Am with Hilton
Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Quick Fault 'n' Fixes See all videos right arrow

play button
Rotate behind the ball
Watch
play button
A two-minute set-up MOT
Callaway
play button
Don’t slap the ball
Watch
play button
The right swing plane will lead to more consistency
Watch
See all videos right arrow