Curtis Cup Match History
Officially named “The Women’s International Cup,” the cup for the Curtis Cup Match was offically presented in 1932 by Harriot and Margaret Curtis, sisters who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur four times between them. The cup, a silver bowl of Paul Revere design, is inscribed, “To stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of many lands.” The cup was first presented in 1927 to give momentum to the competition, but play didn’t begin until 1932, largely because of financial reasons.
As beloved as the Curtis Cup Match is among those who have battled for it, no other USGA competition has had such problems getting off the ground.
The Match dates to an informal match played in 1905. Frances Griscom, of Philadelphia, the 1900 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, suggested that it would be fun for a group to play in the British Ladies Open Amateur, at Cromer, England. Eight Americans made the trip to play, including Miss Griscom, Georgianna Bishop, the 1904 Women’s Amateur Champion, and Harriot and Margaret Curtis.
An informal match developed between the Americans and a team from Britain. Although the USA was soundly beaten, the exhilaration and goodwill established by their visit always stayed with the competitors, particularly Margaret and Harriot Curtis.
Interest in an international match was revived at a 1924 meeting of the Women’s Eastern Golf Association and became a subject of discussion among the Association, the British Ladies’ Golf Union and the French Golf Union over the next five years. In 1927, the Curtis sisters gave the idea another push by donating a cup for an international match. Fanny Osgood, of Boston, was appointed to again take up the matter with the LGU. A match was tentatively planned for 1928, but financial obstacles made it impossible.
In 1928, the USGA Women’s Committee appointed a subcommittee to consider an international match, but the idea was stymied by the usual lack of money. In 1930, the great American amateur Glenna Collett took matters into her own hands and arranged for a group of her countrywomen to play in Great Britain.
In 1931, the LGU agreed to regular matches with the United States. The USGA then decided to finance the American team and administer the competition. The Curtis Cup was accepted that same year as the official trophy.
The series began the following year at Wentworth Golf Club in England with the USA opposing Great Britain, with a proviso that France might join in whenever it was able to do so. While it was hoped that many nations would eventually join in the Match, the Curtis Cup has remained a two-sided competition.
Although the Americans own a 28-8-3 lead in the biennial competition, the true meaning of the Curtis Cup Match has never been overshadowed by the results and the Match has always been regarded as a vehicle of international friendship and understanding.
The Match also has proved to be launching ground for future professional stardom. Those competitors include U.S. Women's Open champions JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Hilary Lunke, Hollis Stacy and Michelle Wie as well as LPGA Tour stars Beth Daniel, Jessica Korda, Stacy Lewis, Nancy Lopez and Lexi Thompson.
Top Great Britain and Ireland players include World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Laura Davies, Angela Bonnallack, Mary McKenna, Catriona Matthew, Belle Robertson, Karen Stupples, Georgia Hall, Bronte Law, Charley Hull and three-time McCormack Medal winner Leona Maguire.
World Golf Hall of Famer Carol Semple Thompson competed in a record-12 Curtis Cup Matches, while seven-time USGA champion Anne Sander was a member of eight USA teams. McKenna has represented GB&I a record nine times.
Curtis Cup Results (1932-Present)
1932: USA 5½, Great Britain & Ireland 3½; Wentworth Golf Club, Wentworth, England
1934: USA 6½, GB&I 2½; Chevy Chase (Md.) Club
1936: USA 4½, GB&I 4½; King's Course, Gleneagles, Scotland
1938: USA 5½, GB&I 3½; Essex County Club, Manchester, Mass.
No Matches held between 1940-46 (World War II)
1948: USA 6½, GB&I 2½; Birkdale (England) Golf Club
1950: USA 7½, GB&I 1½; Country Club of Buffalo, Williamsville, N.Y.
1952: GB&I 5, USA 4; Links of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Muirfield, Scotland
1954: USA 6, GB&I 3; Merion Golf Club (East Course), Ardmore, Pa.
1956: GB&I 5, USA 4; Prince's Golf Club, Sandwich Bay, Kent, England
1958: USA 4½, GB&I 4½; Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, Mass.
1960: USA 6½, GB&I 2½; Lindrick Golf Club, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
1962: USA 8, GB&I 1; Broadmoor Golf Club, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1964: USA 10½, GB&I 7½; Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Porthcawl, South Wales
1966: USA 13, GB&I 5; Virginia Hot Springs Golf & Tennis Club (Cascades Course), Hot Springs, Va.
1968: USA 10½, GB&I 7½; Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland
1970: USA 11½, GB&I 6½; Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, Mass.
1972: USA 10, GB&I 8; Western Gailes, Ayrshire, Scotland
1974: USA 13, GB&I 5; San Francisco (Calif.) Golf Club
1976: USA 11½, GB&I 6½; Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club, St. Annes-On-Sea, Lancashire, England
1978: USA 12, GB&I 6; The Apawamis Club, Rye, N.Y.
1980: USA 13, GB&I 5; St. Pierre Golf & Country Club, Chepstow, Gwent, Wales
1982: USA 14½, GB&I 3½; Denver (Colo.) Country Club
1984: USA 9½, GB&I 8½; Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Muirfield, Gullane, Scotland
1986: GB&I 13, USA 5; Prairie Dunes Country Club, Hutchinson, Kan.
1988: GB&I 11, USA 7; Royal St. George's Golf Club, Sandwich, England
1990: USA 14, GB&I 4; Somerset Hills Golf Club, Bernardsville, N.J.
1992: GB&I 10, USA 8; Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England
1994: USA 9, GB&I 9; The Honors Course, Chattanooga, Tenn.
1996: GB&I 11½, USA 6½; Killarney Golf & Fish Club (Killeen Course), Killarney, Ireland
1998: USA 10, GB&I 8; The Minikahda Club, Minneapolis, Minn.
2000: USA 10, GB&I 8; Ganton Golf Club, North Yorkshire, England
(USA leads series 28-8-3)