Ryder Cup past and present came together in St Albans at the weekend when 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Björn paid a visit to the home town of the competition’s founder, Samuel Ryder.
The 47-year-old Dane was competing in the European Tour’s innovative GolfSixes tournament at the Centurion Club but took time out of his schedule to visit St Albans and revel in the history of The Ryder Cup, before he and his European team write the next chapter when they face the United States at Le Golf National in September.
The iconic 17-inch-high gold Ryder Cup trophy accompanied Thomas on his tour which began in the Town Hall where Councillor Annie Brewster explained the imminent plans for a new museum and art gallery. The Ryder Cup Captain took delight walking through the old Council Chamber where Samuel Ryder was the City’s Mayor in 1905.
As Mayor, Ryder was also Chief Magistrate and Björn – who has featured in seven Ryder Cups; three as a player and four as a Vice Captain – sat on the Magistrate’s bench occupied by Ryder all those years ago, beneath the William IV Coat of Arms.
Björn also visited Verulam Golf Club where Samuel Ryder took up the game at 50 to aid his ill health. Local members relaxing in the bar following an afternoon competition were stunned when the European Captain walked in with the actual trophy.
Thomas Björn with guests at the Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, under the portrait of Samuel Ryder who was a member of the club.
Björn said: “As the current Ryder Cup Captain, it is obviously very easy for me, and everyone involved with the 2018 team, to become absorbed with the present and what we are preparing to do in France and to forget the history of the competition. It was great to visit the new museum and the other sites that were so familiar to Samuel Ryder. It was a trip I will never forget.”
Councillor Brewster added: “As a keen golfer and top fan of the Ryder Cup myself it was a fantastic privilege to meet Thomas and bring the Ryder Cup trophy back to St Albans. I wish the European Team every success in France later this year.”