The 18th Ryder Cup Matches were held at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. The competition ended in a draw at 16 to 16 points, when America's Jack Nicklaus conceded a missable putt to Britain's Tony Jacklin at the 18th hole in one of the most famous gestures of sportsmanship in all of sport. It was the first draw in Ryder Cup history, and the United States team retained the Cup.
The tournament was marred by considerable acrimony and unsportsmanlike behavior by players on both sides. Britain's captain Eric Brown had instructed his players not to search for the opposition's ball if it ended up in the rough. American Ken Still, in the first-day foursomes, had deliberately and regularly stood too close to Briton Maurice Bembridge as he was putting. During one of the fourballs on the second day, both captains had to come out and calm down the warring players. This led to Nicklaus conceding Jacklin's final putt with the knowledge that the tournament would end in a draw.
Nicklaus' gesture became known as "the concession" and marked the beginning of a lasting friendship between Nicklaus and Jacklin that has spanned more than 40 years. It was the inspiration for The Concession Golf Club, near Sarasota, Florida, which was co-designed by the two players.
This was the first Ryder Cup for Nicklaus, age 29. Despite having won his seventh major title as a professional in 1967, eligibility rules set by the PGA prevented him from competing in previous editions. He competed as a player through 1981, missing only the 1979 edition, and was the non-playing captain of the U.S. team in 1983 and 1987.
The Ryder Cup is a match play event, with each match worth one point. From 1963 through 1971 the competition format was as follows:
- Day 1 — 8 foursomes (alternate shot) matches, 4 each in morning and afternoon sessions
- Day 2 — 8 four-ball (better ball) matches, 4 each in morning and afternoon sessions
- Day 3 — 16 singles matches, 8 each in morning and afternoon sessions
With a total of 32 points, 16½ points were required to win the Cup, or 16 points were needed for the current champion to retain the Cup. All matches were played to a maximum of 18 holes.
Thursday's matches 
Morning foursomes 
Afternoon foursomes 
Friday's matches 
Morning four-ball 
Afternoon four-ball 
Saturday's matches 
Morning singles 
Afternoon singles