Syd Easterbrook: English Golfer, Ryder Cup Hero

Syd Easterbrook was an English professional golfer who played in two Ryder Cups in the early 1930s, and earned the winning point for his side in one of them. He also had several tournament victories in the 1930s.

Full name: Sydney John Philip Easterbrook

Date of birth: January 22, 1905

Place of birth: Sidmouth, Devon, England

Date and place of death: January 30, 1975, in Sidmouth, Devon, England

Easterbrook's Biggest Wins

  • 1934 Irish Open
  • 1934 Dunlop-West of England Tournament
  • 1939 West of England Professional Championship

In the Majors

Easterbrook entered the 1931 U.S. Open, but withdrew. He entered the British Open 10 times, first in 1926 and last in 1939. He tied for third in the 1933 Open, and tied for seventh in the 1935 British Open. He also had Top 20 finishes in the Open in 1932 (tied 13th) and 1939 (tied 20th).

In the 1933 Open Championship, Easterbrook lowered his score the first three rounds: 73, 72, 71. That put him in a five-way tie for first after 54 holes. He shot 77 in the final round, which, given the scoring of the field during that round, wasn't as bad as it sounds. A score of seven on the 14th hole was bad, however. It left him tied for third, one stroke out of the playoff between Denny Shute (the eventual winner) and Craig Wood.

More About Syd Easterbrook

Syd Easterbrook was selected to play on two Team Great Britain squads in the early history of the Ryder Cup: in 1931 and 1933, the third and fourth Ryder Cups, respectively, ever played.

He had no tournament wins of note at the time of his selection for either one, and especially for the 1931 Ryder Cup was a surprise pick. Easterbrook had some good showings in county-level tournaments in England at that time, and had reached the semifinals of the 1930 News of the World Match Play. He only got in when the much-bigger names Henry Cotton, Percy Alliss and Aubrey Boomer were denied spots on the British team because they were not residents of Britain at that time (a rule that was changed several years later).

Team USA won that 1931 meeting, 9-3. Easterbrook and partner Ernest Whitcombe lost in foursomes to Billy Burke/Wiffy Cox. In singles, Easterbrook fell to Al Espinosa, 2 and 1.

In 1932, Easterbrook burnished his resumé by finishing runner-up by one stroke to Abe Mitchell in the Bristol Evening World Tournament.

He was still winless in tournaments of note, however, when he was named to Team Great Britain for the 1933 Ryder Cup. This time, though, Easterbrook proved critical to his team. He was actually announced as a reserve selection for the team, but Great Britain captain J.H. Taylor, in the looser rules of the era, ignored that distinction and threw Easterbrook into the singles matches.

Great Britain's one-point lead was gone when Horton Smith beat Charles Whitcombe, 2 and 1. That was the last singles match to tee off, but Easterbrook was still on the course playing Denny Shute. And Easterbrook and Shute were all square on the 18th hole.

Both players nervously needed three strokes to reach the 18th green, and both faced par putts of approximately 20 feet. Shute ran his past the hole about five feet. Easterbrook left his putt about three feet short. Then Shute missed his bogey try.

When Easterbrook sank his own bogey putt, he had a 1-up victory and Great Britain had the Ryder Cup. It was last Ryder Cup victory by Team Great Britain until 1957, and the only one from 1935 until 1985.

Easterbrook won the match, and the tournament for Great Britain, with the final putt on the final hole of the final match on the course. That — winning the Cup by sinking a putt with the final stroke of the tournament on the last hole of the last match — is something that didn't happen again in the world of international pro team tournaments (Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup) until Suzann Pettersen won the 2019 Solheim Cup for Europe in the same way.

Easterbrook's near-miss in the 1933 Open Championship followed his Ryder Cup heroics by just a few weeks. He finished third, and the man he beat in the Ryder Cup, Denny Shute, won the Open.

It wasn't until the next year, 1934, that Syd Easterbrook finally won a big tournament — the Irish Open. The tournament took place at Portmarnock, and Easterbrook's 284 was 25 strokes lower than the winning score the last time the Irish Open was played there, in 1929.

Easterbrook won again in 1934 at the Dunlop-West of England Tournament, but had only one other win of note outside of 1934: the 1939 West of England Professional Championship.

He played for England multiple other times in national competition outside of the Ryder Cup. He was on Team England for the England-Scotland Professional Match in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1938; and on Team England in the 1933 Enland-Ireland Professional Match.

Like Syd, his two brothers, Algy and Cyril, were also golf pros. Today, Sidmouth Golf Club, in the Easterbrooks' hometown, holds the Famous Easterbrooks competition, a three-ball, better ball, Stableford tournament. Cyril Easterbrook was the pro at Sidmouth for many years.

Among the clubs where Syd Easterbrook served as head pro was Knowle Golf Club in Bristol, England.

Photo credit: George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. (1939). Short approach shot - Syd Easterbrook. Retrieved from

Popular posts from this blog