- Title: UK/ IRELAND: Legacy of Sam Ryder lives on in St Albans.
- Date: 22nd September 2006
- Summary: ST ALBANS, ENGLAND, UK (RECENT)(ACCESS ALL) GENERAL VIEWS ST ALBANS
- Embargoed: 8th October 2006 18:35
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA8YOVJKRWGU5BOQSRRSN118F68
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: It's not the sort of thing you see on the surface. You're unlikely to catch Tiger Woods strolling down St Albans high street there, and by most measures St. Albans in Hertfordshire is a typical English town...but dig a little deeper and you'll find the origins of one of golf's most prized tournaments.
It's in what is now a restaurant that a seed salesman by the name of Samuel Ryder fulfilled his dream of bringing flowers to the masses.
He did it by selling penny packets of seeds for flower species that would have otherwise been out of reach for working families.
The move would make him a fortune and help to popularize gardening in spite of threats from emerging activities like motoring and theatre-going.
Eventually Ryder would make his way up the road and around the corner to the Verulam golf club. It's still in operation today.
You can see Ryder and his personal golf tutor Abe Mitchell in archive film footage taken at Verulam at the Heath and Heather competition of 1923.
Styles of dress and of play have obviously moved on a bit, but it was in this era...on these greens, that the seeds for the modern day Ryder Cup took root.
For a man who would make such a significant contribution to the sport, Samuel Ryder was a late starter when it came to golf.
He didn't join the Verulam club until his 50th year and only after he was prescribed fresh air and light exercise for some health problems he'd been having.
Understandably, the influence cast by Ryder over the Verulam Golf Club is long...
In the age of titanium and gilded golf professions, sometimes traditions can fall out of fashion and be forgotten...but so far the Ryder Cup has stayed true to Samuel Ryder's vision of the tournament being a friendly competition played more for prestige than prize money...and those who now take care of his home green feel pretty strongly about it staying that way.
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