It’s time to dust off those team colours when the USA and Europe meet for the greatest prize in tournament golf once more, as the 43rd Ryder Cup begins at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin on Friday.
Having regained the trophy at Le Golf National in 2018, Team Europe arrive in the Badger State after their emphatic 10 ½ – 17 ½ victory in the shadow of Paris three years ago. Despite having won on US soil twice since the turn of the millennium though, two of Europe’s last three trips to American shores have resulted in defeat including at Hazeltine in 2016. The memory of Medinah back in 2012 lingers fondly however, after their remarkable comeback in Chicago but the statistic remains, that in six of the last seven Ryder Cups, the host team have been victors.
As captains Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker throw down on the shores of Lake Michigan, the US are favourites to regain the trophy, boasting one of their strongest teams in recent memory, with no less than eight players ranked in the top 10. The hosts are 1/2 with all major bookies.
Team Europe should not be written off by any stretch though, and with world number one Jon Rahm the visitors are also banking on the same winning formula of experience from Europe’s old heads. That comes in the form of wildcard picks Sergio Garcia – the leads points scorer in Ryder Cup history – and the man who epitomises the competition, Ian Poulter. The men in blue are 5/2 currently with both Betfair and PaddyPower to retain.
Many pundits are predicting a similar scoreline of five years ago when Davis Love III’s team won by a resounding six-point margin, and for a US win by 4-6 points, Bet365 are offering a 15/4 price. A narrow 1-3-point win for the visitors meanwhile – having won by that difference in five of the last nine Ryder Cups – is available at a boosted 5/1 price with SkyBet. As defending champions, it should also not be forgotten that Europe only need to reach the magic 14-point mark to retain, so could a draw yet play out? Only once has that occurred in the tournament’s now 94-year history, but at 14/1 with MansionBet, could 1989 repeat itself? Stranger things have happened, right?
No less than nine rookies will play at Whistling Straits this weekend, and of the six US players, Xander Schauffele or new FedEx Cup winner Patrick Cantlay are tipped to take the most points at 3/1 and 11/4 with William Hill. Scottie Scheffler’s inclusion could yet be a masterstroke by Stricker though, and his value of 7s with Bet365 may be worth an outlay.
If we examine the overall points market, from a European point of view, Poulter will again hope to have a major say in the Ryder Cup’s outcome but is regarded as the least likely of the wildcard picks to make an impression. Surely then, BoyleSport’s 5/2 odds for Poulter as winning captain’s pick looks value? More widely, For the Englishman to be the top combined points scorer meanwhile, lofty odds of 28/1 with BetVictor and SkyBet are not to be sniffed at, nor are his chances of top performer of his five compatriots at 19/4 with Bet365. Could Poulter then repeat his four-point haul of 2012? 13/2 with SkyBet is also appealing.
For the Americans, Justin Thomas is fancied to take home the most for the US at 11/2 widely, but what of a resurgent Jordan Spieth? Runner-up at Royal St. George’s back in July, the Texan has become a growing force this season once more. His 15/2 price across the board looks value.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a Ryder Cup without a hole in one and BetFred can oblige you at a very decent 9/2, whilst for another novelty punt, an ace during Day 1’s foursomes or fourballs for either the US or Europe is 7/1 with SkyBet.