GOLF fanatic Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) can't wait for the Ryder Cup. Here he details what he'll be backing over the three days.
Ryder Cup | Friday – Sunday | Sky Sports 1
I would imagine most readers will already have formed an opinion on the likely outcome of this this event some time ago. Team USA is obviously far stronger than Team Europe. It's a given.
An average world ranking in their team of 12 is just 16.3. In Team Europe with six players making Ryder Cup debuts (as opposed to two on the American team) it is 27.8.
We cannot possibly win this. That's why the US have been odds on for around 12 months now. That's why most of the opinion you read will tell you they win at a canter. That's why I am backing Team Europe with absolute confidence.
This piece is written in the hope that a few non golf fans will read so forgive me if I go into the basics a little. If you want a football analogy, I see this as Real Madrid at home to Atletico Madrid.
The team of superstars that often fail to gel against the team that is far more than the sum of its parts. Team USA have been favourites for five of the last six competitions whilst Europe has won six of the last seven.
The Americans have a history of going into this with a team of glamorous names that repeatedly fail to even get along, let alone bond as a unit in the way that their opponents seem to find natural.
I would go as far to say that the US could have twelve Tiger Woods in his prime and still find a way to lose. Look back at Tiger's record by the way. At a time when he was winning Major championships by ten shots, he was losing Ryder Cup matches at an alarming rate.
I choose to ignore recent from, although none of the Americans are in amazing form anyway. Yes, players like Ryan Moore have played pretty well in recent weeks but here's a prime example of just how seriously players like him take this competition…Moore was announced as Team Captain, Davis Love's 12th and final pick on Sunday. This will be his first appearance and for a European, like getting your first international cap. Moore turned down the invite to train with his team at the course on Monday. Astonishing.
Almost as surprising was Love's decision to allow Bubba Watson to take part as a vice captain. Watson has been in such poor form that he needed a captains pick to make the team.
Love chose Moore instead. Now Bubba would be on anyone's team for his golf, certainly not his famously ‘difficult' personality. Darren Clarke must have been delighted to hear that it was Bubba's personality that would be the only thing available to Team USA.
Ok, so I am clearly a Team Europe man. I just have to at odds of 15/8 and bigger. Based on the history of this competition and the USA regularly failing to understand the demands of Ryder Cup golf, Europe are huge value. However, most will be looking at markets other than Outright and there are plenty of them.
For those unfamiliar with the format, this is a three day tournament between two teams of twelve played over 28 matches.
Friday and Saturday will each consist of four matches of foursomes and four of fourballs. Each of those sixteen matches will have two teams of two players. The team captains will announce their picks shortly before each session of play.
The fourballs are fairly basic. All four players play each hole, lowest score wins the hole. Foursomes is better called ‘alternate shot'. Just one ball per team and players take each shot in turn.
It is foursomes that demand the best team play. Sunday will consist of twelve singles matches to decide the competition. Some players on each team may only play once and it will be in singles.
There are various top points scorer markets. Overall, team, debutant etc. It is a market that needs careful consideration, as it's far from just picking the best player.
The two main considerations are how often your man will play and who they are likely to be paired with. You may think for instance that Ryan Moore is in great form and a good bet in the rookie markets but what if you knew he would only play twice? Ideally any bet you make needs your man to play at least four if not five matches and that forms the basis of all my selections this week.
Who on each team is certain to play four and ideally five matches. In the case of the US which of the players truly ‘gets it' when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
I would say the evidence suggests that you look no further than Patrick Reed and Ricky Fowler. The guy who also catches my eye based not just on his golf game but the fact that he had the balls to come and play the European Tour is Brooks Koepka.
Reed really does tempt me. He is the American version of Ian Poulter but his form dipped alarmingly in the last couple of weeks culminating in a 24 of 32 finish at East Lake. It's Rickie Fowler at a tasty 11/1 a very viable each way punt at the least. Koepka is just 4/1 for top rookie but my eyes are drawn elsewhere.
Danny Willett is 4/1 in the top rookie betting and a worthy joint favourite. I like Willett this week. You get the impression he was made for the Ryder Cup. With four places being paid at a quarter of the odds, I am certainly backing him at 25/1.
As said earlier, some players (mainly European) just ‘get' the Ryder Cup and I believe the Masters champion falls into that category. He is also likely to play a lot more golf than the other debutants. It's not often a Major champion is categorised as a rookie anything and he's a cut above almost everyone else making their first appearance.
Top points scorer overall has the name Rory all over it. Best player in the field, experienced Ryder Cup player, in great form and available at 7/1 in a field of 24, half of whom you can discount on the basis that they will only play one or two matches. 7/1 is an outstanding price.
Best player in the field, experienced Ryder Cup player, in great form and available at 7/1 in a field of 24, half of whom you can discount on the basis that they will only play one or two matches. 7/1 is an outstanding price.
I have been very pro Europe from the first word of this piece. I completely understand anyone with the opposite view. There are some amazing players on Team USA.
If you are one of those that believes they will win, then everything I wrote about Europe you could apply to Dustin Johnson. He may be the most laid back guy in the world but he is at worst the second best player here this week, just ahead of Jordan on current form.
If you do believe USA can win and want an interest in them, once again DJ is outstanding value at 7/1. You would expect to see him, Jordan, Reed, Fowler and Mickleson to all play at least four times.
I have spoken little about Hazeltine as I really don't believe the course is a factor in a Ryder Cup. For those who want to know, it's long at 7700 yards, quite hilly with narrow fairways and small greens. It should suit DJ and particularly Rory with his high ball flight.
The Ryder Cup is however just about us against THEM. If you're not pumped up yet, just close your eyes and imagine 20,000 drunk Americans around each green chanting USA, USA, USA. There you go. Roll on Friday.
Ryder Cup – Europe to win (9/4 Betfred)
Ryder Cup – Top Combined Points Scorer Rory McIlroy (15/2 Paddy Power)
Ryder Cup – Top Combined Points Scorer Danny Willett each way (25/1 Bet365)
Ryder Cup – Top Debutant Danny Willett (9/2 Ladbrokes)
Ryder Cup – Top US Points Scorer Rickie Fowler each way (12/1 William Hill)