Arnold Palmer Cup Format

Match Play Guidelines and Terminology

  • Match play is a game played by holes.
  • Score is kept by the number of holes up (won) and the number of holes to play. (Example: U.S. 2-up, with six holes to play)
  • When a team is up (winning) by more holes than there are holes remaining then the match is closed out and point is awarded.
  • One point is awarded for each match won. If the match is tied or “halved” through 18 holes of play, each team receives one half point. A total of 60 points are awarded in Arnold Palmer Cup competition.
  • If a match is currently tied while in competition, then it is considered “all square.”

Mixed Four Ball

12 groups of two-person teams

“Four Ball” play is a match in which each member of the two-person teams plays their own ball. Four balls are in play per hole with each of the four players recording a score on the hole. The team whose player posts the best score on that hole wins the hole. Should players from each team tie for the best score, that hole is halved.

Mixed Foursomes/Foursomes

12 groups of two-person teams

“Foursome” play is a match in which the golfers compete on a team against two other golfers and each side plays one ball. The golfers play alternate shots (player A hits tee shot, player B hits second shot, etc.) until the hole is played out. Team members alternate on the playing of tee shots, with one golfer hitting the tee shot on odd-numbered holes, and the other hitting tee shots from the even-numbered holes. The team with the better score wins the hole. Should the two teams tie for best score, the hole is halved.


24 groups of one-man teams

“Singles” is a match in which one player plays against another player. A player wins the match when the player is up by more holes than there are holes remaining to play.


A stroke, hole or match can be conceded at any time prior to the conclusion of the hole or the match. Concession of a stroke, hole or match may not be declined or withdrawn.


Each sides coaches submit the order of play for their team to the appointed tournament official. The lists from each side are matched, resulting in the pairings.

Example: Side #1 submits order of play for its team:
Match #1 - Fowler/Lingmerth
Match #2 - Johnson/Luiten
Match #3 - Kuchar/Pieters
Match #4 - Holmes/McDowell
Match #5 - Snedeker/Donald
Match #6 - Berger/Molinari
Match #7 - Chappell/Wilson
Match #8 - Thomas/Blixt
Match #9 - Glover/Cañizares
Match #10 - Haas/Rahm
Match #11 - Watney/Norén
Match #12 - Howell/Dunne

Side #2 submits its list the same way. The two lists are then placed side-by-side and the matches are determined. Mixed Four Ball, Mixed Foursomes and Singles matches are submitted in he same fashion.

Awarding of Champion

The Arnold Palmer Cup Champion is the team with the most points at the conclusion of the four rounds of play. If the two sides are tied the holder retains the Cup.