1969 Ryder Cup Winner, Match Scores and 'The Concession'

The 1969 Ryder Cup, site of the famous act of sportsmanship now known simply as "The Concession," was the 18th time this tournament was played. It resulted in the first tie in tournament history. But as the defending champ, Team USA held the Cup. Following that result, the all-time standings to this point were 14 wins for the USA, three wins for Great Britain, and one tie.

Final Score: United States 16, Great Britain 16, USA retains the Cup

Dates Played: September 18-20, 1969

Golf Course: Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England

Team Captains: Sam Snead for the United States, Eric Brown for Great Britain

Team Rosters:

What Happened at the 1969 Ryder Cup

The 1969 Ryder Cup was historic as the first tie in tournament history, and also for the way that tie happened: the famous final-hole concession by Jack Nicklaus of a Tony Jacklin putt. But before getting to that, we'll mention a couple other things. One, for the first time ever Ryder Cup teams consisted of 12 golfers, rather than 10.

And there were some big debuts this year: Nicklaus played in his first Ryder Cup, as did, for Team USA, Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd. And Bernard Gallacher debuted for Team Great Britain. All four were huge for their teams in following years as players, and all four went on to captain.

Why was Nicklaus, at age 29, six years after his first major championship win, and after winning seven majors already, only making his debut now? At the time the PGA of America required five years of membership before a player became eligible for the Ryder Cup. And Nicklaus had only recently met that requirement.

Teams Tight Throughout

After Day 1, it was 4.5 to 3.5 in favor of Great Britain. After Day 2, the match was all square. Day 3 consisted of 16 singles matches split into two, 8-match sessions, one in the morning followed by an afternoon session.

In the morning singles, Great Britain won five of the eight matches, taking a 13-11 lead. Christy O'Connor (who later became known as "Sr." when another Christy O'Connor showed up on tour), Maurice Bembridge, Peter Butler and Tony Jacklin scored wins in the final four matches of the morning singles.

The USA started hot in the afternoon singles, winning four of the first six to even the score at 15-15.

That left two matches on the course — Billy Casper vs. Brian Huggett and Jack Nicklaus vs. Jacklin. Huggett secured a half-point for Great Britain by making a 4-foot par putt on the final hole to halve with Casper. And that left Nicklaus vs. Jacklin to settle the Ryder Cup.

Jacklin vs. Nicklaus: The Concession

Nicklaus led, 1-up, as they teed off the 17th hole. But when they got to the green, Jacklin sank a 50-foot eagle putt to win the hole and square the match.

On the 18th green, Jacklin lagged his birdie attempt to two feet. But Nicklaus ran his own birdie putt five feet past the hole. "I was terrified," Nicklaus said after the match, talking about that 5-footer for par, but the Bear holed it.

Then Nicklaus picked up Jacklin's ballmarker, conceding Jacklin his par, saying to Jacklin, "I don't think you would have missed that Tony, but I didn't want to give you the chance."

That halved their game, and it resulted in the 16-16 tie overall.

Nicklaus' gesture is now viewed as one of the great acts of sportsmanship in Ryder Cup history. Not everyone viewed it that way at the time, however. USA captain Sam Snead was very unhappy with Nicklaus — Snead wanted the outright victory, and that meant forcing Jacklin to putt in case Jacklin missed.

Snead received a lot of bad press at the time for his management of the team. The Sports Illustrated account of the 1969 Ryder Cup published immediately afterward noted that Snead "... can be a crude, sullen, cantankerous old buzzard, and he is about as capable of leadership as Ebenezer Scrooge. Snead's relationship with the majority of U.S. tournament players has long been one of mutual animosity." Snead benched Nicklaus in two of the six sessions. A PGA of America official on site told Sports Illustrated that "you could say that team morale is just about zero."

But a tie meant USA kept the Ryder Cup. Jacklin (who was 4-0-2, including a 4-and-3 win over Nicklaus in the morning singles) and Nicklaus became lifelong friends. Many years later they co-designed a golf course in Florida named The Concession, which is the simple phrase by which Nicklaus' gesture has become known. They also faced one another twice as Ryder Cup captains, each winning one.

Still, the tie was a significant achievement for Great Britain given that the Brits' only victory since 1933 was at the 1957 Ryder Cup (and the USA would not lose again until the 1985 Ryder Cup).

1969 Ryder Cup Results

Day 1

Morning Foursomes
  • Neil Coles/Brian Huggett, Great Britain, def. Miller Barber/Ray Floyd, USA, 3 and 2
  • Bernard Gallacher/Maurice Bembridge, Great Britain, def. Lee Trevino/Ken Still, USA, 2 and 1
  • Tony Jacklin/Peter Townsend, Great Britain, def. Dave Hill/Tommy Aaron, USA, 3 and 1
  • Billy Casper/Frank Beard, USA, halved with Christy O'Connor/Peter Alliss, Great Britain, halved
Score after first session: Great Britain 3.5, USA 0.5

Afternoon Foursomes

  • Dave Hill/Tommy Aaron, USA, def. Neil Coles/Brian Huggett, Great Britain, 1-up
  • Lee Trevino/Gene Littler, USA, def. Bernard Gallacher/Maurice Bembridge, Great Britain, 1-up
  • Tony Jacklin/Peter Townsend, Great Britain, def. Billy Casper/Frank Beard, USA, 1-up
  • Jack Nicklaus/Dan Sikes, USA, def. Peter Butler/Bernard Hunt, Great Britain, 1-up
Score of second session: USA 3, Great Britain 1
Cumulative score after two sessions: Great Britain 4.5, USA 3.5

Day 2

Morning Fourballs
  • Christy O'Connor/Peter Townsend, Great Britain, def. Dave Hill/Dale Douglass, USA, 1-up
  • Ray Floyd/Miller Barber, USA, halved with Brian Huggett/Alex Caygill, Great Britain
  • Lee Trevino/Gene Littler, USA, def. Brian Barnes/Peter Alliss, Great Britain, 1-up
  • Tony Jacklin/Neil Coles, Great Britain, def. Jack Nicklaus/Dan Sikes, USA, 1-up
Score of third session: Great Britain 2.5, USA 1.5
Cumulative score after three sessions: Great Britain 7, USA 5

Afternoon Fourballs

  • Billy Casper/Frank Beard, USA, def. Peter Butler/Peter Townsend, Great Britain, 2-up
  • Dave Hill/Ken Still, USA, def. Brian Huggett/Bernard Gallacher, Great Britain, 2 and 1
  • Tommy Aaron/Ray Floyd, USA, halved with Maurice Bembridge/Bernard Hunt, Great Britain
  • Lee Trevino/Miller Barber, USA, halved with Tony Jacklin/Neil Coles, Great Britain
Score of fourth session: USA 3, Great Britain 1
Cumulative score after four sessions: Great Britain 8, USA 8

Day 3

Morning Singles
  • Lee Trevino, USA, def. Peter Alliss, Great Britain, 2 and 1
  • Dave Hill, USA, def. Peter Townsend, Great Britain, 5 and 4
  • Neil Coles, Great Britain, def. Tommy Aaron, USA, 1-up
  • Billy Casper, USA, def. Brian Barnes, Great Britain, 1-up
  • Christy O'Connor, Great Britain, def. Frank Beard, USA, 5 and 4
  • Maurice Bembridge, Great Britain, def. Ken Still, USA, 1-up
  • Peter Butler, Great Britain, def. Ray Floyd, USA, 1-up
  • Tony Jacklin, Great Britain, def. Jack Nicklaus, USA, 4 and 3
Score of fifth session: Great Britain 5, USA 3
Cumulative score after five sessions: Great Britain 13, USA 11

Afternoon Singles

  • Dave Hill, USA, def. Brian Barnes, Great Britain, 4 and 2
  • Bernard Gallacher, Great Britain, def. Lee Trevino, USA, 4 and 3
  • Miller Barber, USA, def. Maurice Bembridge, Great Britain, 7 and 6
  • Peter Butler, Great Britain, def. Dale Douglass, USA, 3 and 2
  • Dan Sikes, USA, def. Neil Coles, Great Britain, 4 and 3
  • Gene Littler, USA, def. Christy O'Connor, Great Britain, 2 and 1
  • Billy Casper, USA, halved with Brian Huggett, Great Britain
  • Jack Nicklaus, USA, halved with Tony Jacklin, Great Britain
Score of sixth session: USA 5, Great Britain 3
Overall and final score: USA 16, Great Britain 16

1969 Ryder Cup Player Records

(Records are listed as wins-losses-halves.)

United States
Tommy Aaron, 1-2-1
Miller Barber, 1-1-2
Frank Beard, 1-2-1
Billy Casper, 2-1-2
Dale Douglass, 0-2-0
Raymond Floyd, 0-2-2
Dave Hill, 4-2-0
Gene Littler, 3-0-0
Jack Nicklaus, 1-2-1
Dan Sikes, 2-1-0
Ken Still, 1-2-0
Lee Trevino, 3-2-1

Great Britain
Peter Alliss, 0-2-1
Brian Barnes, 0-3-0
Maurice Bembridge, 2-2-1
Peter Butler, 2-2-0
Alex Caygill, 0-0-1
Neil Coles, 3-2-1
Bernard Gallacher, 2-2-0
Brian Huggett, 1-2-2
Bernard Hunt, 0-1-1
Tony Jacklin, 4-0-2
Christy O'Connor, 2-1-1
Peter Townsend, 3-2-0

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