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Last Time USA Won Ryder Cup in Europe: Revisiting the 1993 U.S. Victory That Started 30-year Road Drought

Historically, Team USA has more wins at the Ryder Cup than Team Europe, but that hasn’t been the case in recent years when the competition has been played on non-American soil. 

The United States has struggled as the road team at the biennial tournament, as Zach Johnson and the 2023 crew are hoping to be the first American squad to win the Ryder Cup in Europe in three decades. If they do, it will take an epic comeback. The Americans trailed 6½ to 1½  after Day 1.

This year’s competition is taking place in Italy for the first time in tournament history, as the 12-man teams are gathered at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, a course on the outskirts of Rome. 

The last time the Ryder Cup was won by the Americans on European soil, the current USA team members either weren’t born yet, or were in diapers. A majority of PGA Tour members likely won’t remember seeing the crew headlined by the likes Fred Couples, Paul Azinger, Payne Stewart, Tom Kite and Lanny Wadkins. 

“Hard to imagine,” Wadkins said, a member of eight Ryder Cup teams, including the 1993 squad. “I can’t fathom it’s been that long. Particularly with the quality of teams we’ve had going over there.”

So when was the last time the USA won the Ryder Cup in Europe? The Sporting News has the details:

Last time USA won Ryder Cup in Europe

You have to go back 30 years ago to the 1993 Ryder Cup to see Team USA hoist the trophy overseas. 

At the 30th Ryder Cup, the Americans emerged victorious by a slim margin, defeating the Europeans 15-13 to claim the win. The tournament was played at The Belfry in Wishaw, Warwickshire, England. 

After the two sides finished tied 2-2 in Friday’s morning foursomes, Europe edged the USA in the afternoon four-ball, 2½ to 1½, to take a slight 4½  to 3½  lead into Saturday’s play. 

On Day 2, the Europeans lengthened their lead in the morning foursomes, winning three of the four matches to up the score to 7½  to 4½. However, the Americans responded in the afternoon four-ball play, securing three of four points to cut the lead back to one point heading into the final day. 

Europe was unable to maintain its lead on Sunday, as Davis Love III’s victory over Constantino Rocca on the 18th hole secured the win for the Americans. 

Since then, the Americans have traveled over to Europe six times to compete in the Ryder Cup, typically as the favorite in every one in those competitions. However, the Europeans have defended home turf each of those six times, looking to go seven-for-seven in 2023. 

Not only did the 1993 win mark the last victory for the USA over in Europe, but it also is the last time the Americans have successfully defended the Ryder Cup. The country had won in 1991, and claimed a second consecutive win two years later. However, since then, the United States have failed to string together back-to-back Ryder Cup wins, no matter the location. 

Who was on the 1993 Ryder Cup team?

The 1993 Ryder Cup team had its fair share of stars, with seven members of USA’s 12-man squad having won major championships in their career at that point. 

It was an older group back then. Of the 12 members of the ’93 team, all but one (Lee Janzen) were 32 years old or older, including three players over the age of 40. 

That’s not the case this year. The 2023 roster includes a plethora of young American talent, with seven members 30 years old or younger. Brian Harman is the elder statesman of this year’s team, playing the competition at 36 years old.

Here is a look at that ’93 roster that the Americans sent for the Ryder Cup:

Paul Azinger33
Fred Couples33
Tom Kite43
Lee Janzen29
Corey Pavin33
Payne Stewart36
John Cook35
Davis Love III29
Chip Beck37
Jim Gallagher Jr. 32
Raymond Floyd51
Lanny Wadkins43
Tom Watson (captain)44

Source: Sporting News