When Britain brought home the Ryder Cup to Moortown in Leeds

It was a year of firsts: the Oscars were inaugurated in Hollywood; John Logie Baird began experimental TV broadcasts in London, and the Vatican gained independence from Italy.

17th April 1929:  American business man and founder of the Ryder Cup Samuel Ryder (centre) with American team captain Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969) (left) and British team captain George Duncan at a dinner function to launch the 1929 Ryder Cup at Moortown, Yorkshire.  (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
17th April 1929: American business man and founder of the Ryder Cup Samuel Ryder (centre) with American team captain Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969) (left) and British team captain George Duncan at a dinner function to launch the 1929 Ryder Cup at Moortown, Yorkshire. (Photo by H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

But nowhere was the excitement of breaking new ground more keenly felt than in the north Leeds suburb of Moortown.

It was there on the last weekend of April that the Ryder Cup, the biennial transatlantic men’s golf tournament, was first staged on British soil – and these pictures from the archive are a unique record of the occasion.

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It was only the second outing for the competition, the first having been in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the air of expectation was extraordinary.

April 1929: In Leeds, British golfer George Duncan (1883 - 1964) captain of the British Ryder Cup team is presented with the cup by British businessman Samuel Ryder (1859-1936), founder of the Ryder Golf Cup. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

The second day’s play brought out the largest crowd to have ever attended a golf tournament in Britain, some 15,000 strong.

It was a golf writer named Kolin Roberston who had brought the Ryder Cup to Yorkshire. A member of the Moortown club with a single-figure handicap, he worked for the old Yorkshire Evening News but his name was known worldwide and his negotiating powers apparently unparalleled.

Months was spent bringing the course up to championship condition, and despite the forecast of unseasonal heavy snow, the two captains – Britain’s George Duncan and the American Walter Hagen – arrived on time with their respective teams.

The match itself went down to the wire, with the climactic round between the two captains swinging the result in Britain’s favour.

American captain Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969) has his photograph taken by a young lady during the Ryder Cup at Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire, April 1929. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Ryder Cup has returned to Yorkshire only once since then, when the first post-war European tournament was mounted at Ganton Golf Club, in the Vale of Pickering. By then, the Americans had begun their long era of dominance.

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American captain Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969) in the bunker during the Ryder Cup at Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire, April 1929. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Thank you

James Mitchinson

1929: Crowd watching American Gene Sarazen in the Ryder Cup golf match at Leeds. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
1929: Captain of the American Ryder Cup team, Walter Hagen (1892 - 1969), with his British counterpart, George Duncan, at Leeds. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
English golfer Abe Mitchell (1887 - 1947) during the Ryder Cup at Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire, April 1929. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
April 1929: In Leeds, British golfer George Duncan (1883 - 1964) captain of the British Ryder Cup team is presented with the cup by British businessman Samuel Ryder (1859-1936), founder of the Ryder Golf Cup. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
The British and American Ryder Cup teams at Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire, April 1929. In the front row, sixth from the right, is English entrepreneur Samuel Ryder (1958 - 1936), founder of the contest. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)