On August 23 & 24 in 1941 the Ryder Cup was contested at the Oakland Hills Country Club…

Pictured is Bobby Jones (left), who captained Bobby Jones’ Challengers with PGA President Tom Walsh (center, with Ryder Cup Trophy) and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Walter Hagen before an exhibition match, Aug. 23 - 24, 1941, at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.  The Jones’ Challengers defeated the Ryder Cup Team, 8½ to 6½.  Funds from the event benefitted the United Service Organization (USO) and Red Cross.

The 1941 Ryder Cup

By: Mark Baron – On August 23 and 24 in 1941 the Ryder Cup was contested at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.  Because of WWII, the Great Britain team was unable to attend, so the two teams consisted of Americans to raise money for the USO and Red Cross.

The ”Jones’ Challengers” team captained by Bobby Jones (who returned after nearly 10 years of retirement) included Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demaret, Gene Sarazen, Craig Wood, Lawson Little, Clayton Heafner, Ed Dudley, Denny Shute and Johnny Bulla.

The “Ryder Cup Team” captained by Walter Hagen (who captained every American team since the first Ryder Cup in 1927) included Henry Picard, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Vic Ghezzi, Ralph Guldahl, Horton Smith, Dick Metz, Harold McSpaden, Jimmy Hines and Paul “Little Poison” Runyan.

Over 20,000 people attended the two day event to watch the Bobby Jones’ Challengers defeat the “Cuppers” 8 ½ – 6 ½.


The “Jones’ Challengers” were led by Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret who teamed together to defeat Jimmy Hines and Vic Ghezzi 1-up.  Craig Wood and Lawson Little defeated Sam Snead and Ralph Guldahl 7 and 6.

For the “Ryder Cup Team”, Byron Nelson teamed with Harold “Jug’ McSpaden to defeat the team of Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen 8 and 6.  Paul Runyan and Horton Smith defeated Denny Shute and Ed Dudley 3 and 2.  Henry Picard and Dick Metz teamed together to defeat Johnny Bulla and Clayton Haefner 3 and 2.

The “Cuppers” finished the day ahead of the “Challengers” 3 to 2.


The “Jones’ Challengers” were led by Ben Hogan who defeated Byron Nelson, 2-up.  The sentimental favorite, Bobby Jones defeated Henry Picard 2 and 1.  Craig Wood defeated Vic Ghezzi 3 and 2.  Jimmy Demaret defeated Paul Runyan 5 and 4.  Clayton Haefner defeated Horton Smith 7 and 6.  Denny Shute Defeated Harold (Jug) McSpaden 4 and 3.

For the “Ryder Cup Team”, Ralph Guldahl defeated Gene Sarazen 4 and 2.  Dick Metz defeated Ed Dudley 5 and 4.  Jimmy Hines defeated Johnny Bulla 6 and 5.

Sam Snead and Lawson Little finished even after their 36 hole match.

The “Challengers” won the singles matches 6 – 3 – 1 giving them the victory .

Hagen and Jones had retired from competitive golf so they didn’t renew some of their famous duels of the 1920s, after one of which Jones, the precisionist, said “When a man misses his drive, then misses his second shot and then wins the hole with a birdie, it gets my goat.”

Mark Baron

Mark Baron is a Ben Hogan expert who posts daily about the legend. Check out Mark's huge following on the Ben Hogan Facebook Page and stay tuned for special Hogan anniversaries for Mark's insight. Check out the page here: www.facebook.com/benhogangolf

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    • Runyan was very small in stature and only weighed 130 lbs. soaking wet…he did not hit the ball long distances, but had a remarkable short game….the “Little Poison” nickname was in reference to playing against such a small guy and getting “killed”….the nickname was a take on HOF baseball player, Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner, and his brother Paul “Big Poison” Waner……………

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