Go Europe Go!
Ryder Cup time has rolled around once again, and what a great time that is. Even in my capacity as a South African golf fan who’d trade Samuel’s matches for a South Africa v USA contest any day of the week, I still tend to get pretty excited backing Europe. And since I’m currently residing in Australia, gambling is a way of life, I feel obliged to keep a close eye on those Ryder Cup Odds during the event.
Why Europe, you ask? They were the underdogs at an impressionable age circa 1995, and I always liked an underdog – still do, in fact. Also, I’ve always had a fondness for the European Tour, which springs almost entirely from the fact that it isn’t played in just one country. OK, two countries…thank you, Canada.
I’ve witnessed the European Tour grow from being the PGA Tour’s runty sister to being its genuine competition thanks to the Race to Dubai and the subsequent efforts of Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. In the last couple of years, though, those guys have ruined their own good work by throwing in their lot with America. The PGA Tour is once again the undisputed flagship series, with those big ‘European’ names now preferring to make only guest appearances in their own backyard.
The return of Tiger Woods and his prominence in the Fedex Cup playoffs, along with that of McIlroy, has only heightened the feeling that America is where it’s at.
But that has never had much effect on the European team come Ryder Cup time. Its stars return to their roots, don their blues and generally move mountains to slay the old enemy. America start as favourites despite Europe’s general dominance in recent years: if you don’t believe me, just look at these Ryder Cup Odds.*
Matchplay events like the Ryder Cup lend themselves to betting far more than your regular strokeplay tournament do. Individual match-ups, which will only be announced shortly before tee off on Friday, are a great chance for a golf-savvy punter to make some Dollar. If that’s you (it’s probably not me, I’m hopeless) then it will be worth keeping an eye on the Ryder Cup Odds throughout the contest.
Even now, though, there are some interesting punts to be had. You can already have a bet on top points scorer for each side, and overall. And surprise, surprise, McIlroy and Woods are joint favourites at 8/1.* Rory has had the better of Tiger lately, even in tough times, and you’d fancy him in a match between the two.
Betting aside, there’s not a golf fan on earth who wouldn’t like to see those head to head in the top singles match on Sunday. You can get 6/1 on them meeting each other in the singles*, which probably won’t happen by accident – captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III will need to be thinking the same thoughts. And if it does happen, it’ll be interesting to watch how the American crowds react. Rory may be a foreigner, but he’s won a lot of hearts in America while Tiger has stumbled from one PR blunder to another. One doubts McIlroy will get any Colin Montgomerie treatment at Medinah.
Speaking of which, the course will have great memories for Sergio Garcia – and anybody who watched the then-excitable young Spaniard try to win the PGA Championship back in 1999. The Ryder Cup usually brings out the best in Sergio, and the fact that we’re at Medinah should make him an even stronger force than usual. No wonder he’s favourite for top ‘Continental’ points scorer!*
*Correct at the time of writing.