Ryder tournament combines golf and faith
Published 06 September 2012 | Rob James
The Ryder Trophy is safe in Welsh hands whatever the outcome of the tournament in Illinois, according to Phil Bishop of the Welsh Christian Golf Society.
As the golfing world waits to see if the United States will regain golf’s most prestigious trophy following its defeat by the European team last summer, a group of Christian golfers will be leaving the UK to take part in the eagerly anticipated “Sam Ryder Golf Classic USA”.
“Very few people know that the Ryder cup was the second golfing trophy commissioned by Samuel Ryder,” Bishop explained.
“His generous support of social causes was such that he became known as a man ‘who believed in God and cared for his fellow men’."
Ryder donated the trophy to the Free Church Ministers Golf Society in 1902 twenty five years before he created the now more famous Ryder Cup.
The trophy was presented six years before Ryder took up the game in 1908 to recover his health. The trophy was first won in 1902 by W M Macphail and is still contested annually over 36 holes.
Bishop said: “The Welsh Christian Golf Society is fortunate enough to be responsible for this trophy and to continue the tradition of organising tournaments."
Two years ago, during the practice days of the Ryder Cup held at the Celtic Manor, South Wales, the trophy was the guest of honour at a two day golf tournament at a golf club five miles away. The event was sponsored by BMW and local organisations, and 120 golfers competed.
“Due to the success of the event, the interest shown in the trophy and Sam Ryder on both sides of the Atlantic, we have been asked to take the trophy and a team of golfers to the USA for a tournament series," said Bishop.
The team of 12 golfers are playing three matches this month. The first event will be held in Atlanta where Masters Open Champion in 1987, Larry Mize, will be the guest speaker. The team then travels to Chattanooga where Dave Reagan, a former American professional golfer will provide the after dinner talk at. The final tournament will be played in Birmingham where Loren Roberts, former winner of eight PGA Tournaments will be the guest speaker at Limestone Springs Golf Club. This will coincide with the practice week of the Ryder Cup which is being held in Chicago.
The events will also highlight Ryder's business acumen, love of golf and his faith.
He said: “The main purpose of these events is to give Christian golfers the opportunity to bring their family and friends to play golf, have dinner and listen to a message from a Christian professional golfer. Secondly we want to make known to the golfing world that not only was Samuel Ryder an avid golfer, but he was also a committed Christian. Lastly, we want to promote an event that exemplifies Christian fellowship as a witness to those who do not yet know Him.”