Ryder Cup Betting Tips, Stats & History - Friday 28th September 2018

European Union and USA Half Flags

The Ryder Cup is one of the pinnacles of golf, but it’s also one of very few team events that the players participate in. The majority of tournaments that players enjoy throughout a season are individual ones, with players playing to win that event outright.

The Ryder Cup is different in that it’s split into two teams. The two teams are made up of players from Europe and the USA. The tournament takes place once every two years and usually is played around September/October time, depending on where it’s played. The venues will rotate between Europe and the US with each tournament. 

The courses that each country chooses to host are also interchangeable and often work on a rota, much like the Open, US PGA and the US Open. 

Ryder Cup Betting Tips for 2018

Europe Ready to Maintain Dominance at Home

In a weekend where Anthony Joshua retained his heavyweight world championship with a knockout win, the fallout from Serena Williams’ US Open defeat continued and there were more thrills and spills in the Premier League, it was a golfing story that stole the back pages of the newspapers on Monday morning. That story was Tiger Woods’ return to the winner’s circle after five years of emotional and physical pain.

Woods has changed golf immeasurably over the years and his win could not come at a better time as it sets up the 2018 Ryder Cup perfectly. Woods will have to go from the main attraction to just one of the team in Paris as the 12 travelling USA players try to win the Ryder Cup in Europe for the first time since 1993. The strength of the American team makes them the odds on favourites with the bookies but the European team is every bit as strong and with home advantage they cannot be written off.

Europe to Win (5/4)

For the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup, the top 10 players in the world will be competing in the bi-annual tournament. In fact, Jason Day is the only one of the world’s top 18 players not playing in Paris. In terms of the average position in the world rankings, it’s the American team who come out on top. Their lowest ranked player is Phil Mickelson who is officially the 25th best player in the world but the beauty of the Ryder Cup is that Europe’s lowest ranked player, Thorbjorn Olesen at 45, is playing well enough to give any of the American stars a run for their money.

The sheer quality of the players competing over the weekend doesn’t only add to the intrigue and excitement of the 2018 Ryder Cup, it should also make it a more tactical battle. That puts an extra level of pressure and control over the outcome in the hands of the two captains, Thomas Bjorn and Jim Furyk. It also means the course at Le Golf National and external factors such as the atmosphere and conditions will be pivotal.

With very little to choose between the two teams, Europe’s home advantage could just tip things in their favour. A lot has been made of the number of rookies on the European team but Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren have won big tournaments around the world while Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjorn Olesen are world class players and incredible competitors. Moreover, the European players have the crucial experience of playing at Le Golf National, a truly great course which can catch out even the best players. It’s surely going to be tight but that makes Europe look the value pick at 5/4 with Ladbrokes.

Tommy Fleetwood to be Top European Rookie (2/1)

Thomas Bjorn was concerned enough about the number of rookies in his team to go with experience when it came to his captain’s picks. However, he knows that he’s going to have to rely heavily on probably two or three of his rookies over the first two days and Tommy Fleetwood is one of those most likely to get the nod to play on Friday morning.

Fleetwood has been talking about the privilege of pressure and embracing the event. He’s certainly thrived under the pressure of major championships and huge tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic so looks a good bet to be the top European rookie at 2/1 with BetVictor.

Justin Thomas to be Top American (7/1)

Justin Thomas is another Ryder Cup rookie who has shown a great ability to play in highly pressurised circumstances. The 25-year-old is a major champion and won last season’s FedEx Cup so you’d expect him to take to the Ryder Cup better than most first timers. He may even go on to have the most successful three days of any American.

Thomas’s combination of excellence off the tee and world class ball striking makes him the perfect partner for both foursomes and fourballs. He looks set to form a formidable partnership with Rickie Fowler and could end up playing all five matches so back him to be the top American at 7/1 with Coral.

Le Golf National Course Info

The Ryder Cup used to be a real clash of styles. It was the power of the American players against the finesse of the Europeans. Things have changed somewhat given the extra physical work that modern players put in and the amount of European players who play on both the PGA and European Tours, but the general feeling is that the Albatross Course at Le Golf National will play into the hands of the Team Europe.

The course, set on the outskirts of Paris, has been the host of the European Tour’s Open de France since 1991. It’s changed a lot over the years to create what is a genuinely world class stadium course. At 7,331 yards, the Albatross Course is far from the longest layout that these players will face and the way that it’s been set up with thick rough, strategic bunkers and water hazards means that driver is the play on only a handful of holes. That will take one of the key strengths of the American players out of their hands and place an extra level of importance on strategy. Play off the tee will be important but in general it’s a second shot golf course.

The final thing to note about Le Golf National is the strength of the closing stretch. The entire course has been compared by many to TPC Sawgrass and that comparison is especially keenly felt from the 15th hole to the 18th which should provide great drama late on.

About

Golf Balls on Grass

The Ryder Cup takes place over 3 days and on each day there will be a different format of games that are played. The tournament is a Matchplay format, meaning that player “win holes” rather than take their overall score.

For the first two days the teams are split into 2-balls. The final day the players play single matches for the first and only time. I total there are 28 matches played throughout the 3 days and with it 28 points up for grabs. 1 point is awarded for a win and ½ a point awarded to each team for a tie. The losing team receive no points. 

The current holders of the Ryder Cup only need to draw the event to retain the cup. So, if the teams were tied at 14 points apiece after the 3 days, then the previous winners would retain the cup. A tie has only occurred once in the history of the event in 1989, where Europe retained the cup after winning the previous Ryder Cup. 

What’s unique about the Ryder Cup is that players aren’t paid a penny to play in it. In fact, they even have to remove all sponsorship and advertising deals from their clothes, shoes and bags before playing. Each team have set uniforms for each day, which are free from advertising. The idea was that the founders wanted to make it about the golf and not the sponsors. Whilst this may seem strange in this day and age, it’s something that all players have massively bought in to and respect. 

The Teams

Each team consist of 12 players in total, although is worth remembering that the only time that all players play in any one of the 5 rounds of the Ryder Cup is the last day in the singles matches. Generally, you will see that 9 of the 12 are made up of payers who automatically qualify based on qualifying criteria outlined next.

For the European Team, they use a formula based on World ranking points in the 12 months prior to the Ryder Cup and prize money won in official European Tour events in the 12 months prior as well. It’s worth noting that should a player not be registered with the European Tour then they will be ineligible to play for the European team. 

European Ryder Cup 2018 Team

 PlayerCountryPrevious Ryder Cups
European Points List Qualifiers Francesco Molinari Italy 2
Justin Rose England 3
Tyrrell Hatton England 0
Tommy Fleetwood England 0
World Points List Qualifiers John Rahm Spain 0
Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland 4
Alex Noren Sweden 0
Thorbjorn Olesen Denmark 0
Wildcards Paul Casey England 3
Henrik Stenson Sweden 4
Sergio Garcia Spain 8
Ian Poulter England 5

The American team use the prize money earned on the PGA Tour along with prize money won at any of the majors from the previous 12 months for their algorithm. 

USA Ryder Cup 2018 Team

 PlayerPointsPrevious Ryder Cups
Ranking Points Qualifiers Brooks Koepka 13,298.472 1
Dustin Johnson 9,549.287 3
Justin Thomas 8,929.287 0
Patrick Reed 7,821.880 2
Bubba Watson 5,584.137 3
Jordan Spieth 5,481.427 2
Rickie Fowler 5,006.112 3
Webb Simpson 4,534.745 2
Wildcards Bryson DeChambeau 4,316.108 0
Phil Mickelson 4,207.953 11
Tiger Woods 4,196.754 7
Tony Finau 3,512.021 0

Each of the teams has one captain, who often goes on to select a number of vice-captains to aid in decisions making. The captain plays a pivotal role in the makeup of the team as they are allowed to select a number of wild card picks. 

Ryder Cup 2018 Captains & Vice Captains

 EuropeUSA
Captain Thomas Bjorn Jim Furyk
Vice-Captains Luke Donald David Duval
Padraig Harrington Zach Johnson
Robert Karlsson Matt Kuchar
Graeme McDowell Davis Love III
Lee Westwood Steve Stricker

They get to choose several months out from the start of a Ryder Cup the number of picks they want to choose. It’s usually between 3 or 4 picks, meaning that 8 or 9 players will gain automatic qualifying spots. However they decide to work it, they will only ever be able to choose a maximum of 12 players at any one time. 

The selection of the captain rotates each year and is usually chosen by members of each tour. Committee members will decide who they want to include from a shortlist before then choosing who they think will be best matched. 

After selecting their team, the captain then has the role of choosing who plays with who and when they are going to be playing. The format of the Ryder Cup means that they don’t need to make these decisions until after each session has been completed, but it’s often thought as being one of the most interesting aspects of the Ryder Cup, seeing which pairings will be playing against each other in the blind draw. 

Day by Day Format

Days 1 & 2 - Fourballs & Foursomes

Golf Ball to the Right of a Hole

The first two days are a mix of Fourballs and Foursomes. Each day usually starts with the fourballs in the morning session and then the foursomes in the afternoon session. 

Fourballs 

The fourballs is where there are four players in total, 2 on each team. Each player plays their own ball and finishes the hole, trying to get the lowest score possible. The two players on the same team then take the lowest score from that hole and put it against their opponents. The team with the lowest score wins the hole and 1 point. If teams tie, then the hole is ‘halved’ and no scores are added. 

There are 4 games of this format played on the morning of each day. Each team consists of 2 players, with a total of 8. A team that wins overall against their opponents gains 1 point for the overall score. A game that has been tied, receive ½ point for either team and the losing team receives no points. 

Foursomes

Foursomes again includes two teams of two players. The difference for this is that players will play with 1 ball on each hole and then take alternative shots. So, one player will take the tee shot and then the next player will play and so on, until the ball is in the hole. 

It’s worth noting that each player takes tee shots on alternative holes. So, if one player tee’s off from hole 1, then the other player will tee off from hole, this is regardless if they have played the last shot on the previous hole or not.

Again, the team with the lowest score for the hole will win 1 point for their team. A tied hole will result in a half and if you lose the hole, you get no points. 

Day 3 – Singles

Two Golf Balls on a Golf Course

Day 3 is the first and only time that all 12 players take to the course. For this format they play a straight Matchplay style 1v1. The captains decide the playing order of their players and they are then matched up to their opponents according to how they are drawn. 

The final day is often the most exciting as it’s the time when the most points are on offer. Scoring can quickly switch and the momentum that teams get is often quite infectious, with players well aware of overall and other teams scores from around the course. 

Scoring System

Just a quick note on scoring: in Matchplay, points are referred to as ‘up’ or ‘down’. So, if a team wins the first hole, they are 1 Up. If they then go on to tie the 2nd hole, they remain 1 Up. If they win the 3rd hole, they go 2 Up. If they then lose the 4th hole, they go back to just 1 Up, and so on. 

In a match, the teams don’t necessarily need to play out all 18 holes to win. If a team is more points ahead than holes remaining, then they will come off marking a win. For example, wins are often classed as “5 and 4”, which means that the team is 5 holes up, with 4 holes to play. Essentially saying the other team can’t win or draw. 

To illustrate how the scores work, below is a table of the results from the day 3 singles matches during the 2014 Ryder Cup from Gleneagles in Scotland.

Ryder Cup 2014 Singles Results

EuropeUSA
ScorePointsPlayerPlayerPointsScore
2&1 1 Graeme McDowell Jordan Spieth 0 -
- 0 Henrik Stenson Patrick Reed 1 1 up
5&4 1 Rory McIlroy Rickie Fowler 0 -
All Square 1/2 Justin Rose Hunter Mahan 1/2 All Square
- 0 Stephen Gallacher Phil Mickelson 1 3&1
4&2 1 Martin Kaymer Bubba Watson 0 -
- 0 Thomas Bjorn Matt Kuchar 1 4&3
1 up 1 Sergio Garcia Jim Furyk 0 -
All Square 1/2 Ian Poulter Webb Simpson 1/2 All Square
5&3 1 Jamie Donaldson Keegan Bradley 0 -
- 0 Lee Westwood Jimmy Walker 1 3&2
All Square 1/2 Victor Dubuisson Zach Johnson 1/2 All Square
6 1/2 Total 5 1/2

Host Courses

Hole at Le Golf National Course
Le Golf National Course by Lionell Allorge, Wikimedia Commons

As stated above, the courses alternate each year and are chosen by a panel from each tour. The US host one year, then Europe will host the next event, 2 years later. Below is a list of the next 4 courses already chosen for the Ryder Cup.

Upcoming Ryder Cup Venues

Year

Country

Venue

2018

France

Le Golf National

2020

USA

Whistling Straits

2022

Italy

Marco Simone Golf and Country Club

2024

USA

Bethpage State Park, NY

Statistics

Since the Ryder Cup changed from Great Britain and Ireland team to Europe in 1979, the current score between the two sides is 11-8 to Europe. Prior to the inclusion of European players, Great Britain and Ireland had a pretty shoddy record, being down 19-3 from the first Ryder Cup in 1927, to the last of the GB & I teams in 1977. 

Pie Chart Showing Number of Europe and USA Ryder Cup Victories

Since 1979, most of the Ryder Cup’s have been pretty competitive, with the largest margin of victory occurring 3 times with scores of 18 ½ - 9 ½. Two of these results have been European victories and one has been a US victory. 

Chart Showing Historic Ryder Cup Correct Scores

In terms of singles statistics, Nick Faldo has to go down as one of, if not the greatest player in the tournament. In his career he managed tow in 25 points for his nation, more points than any other. He lost just 19 from his 46 matches which is possibly a record that might never be broken. 

In terms of single matches played, there are 5 players that are all tied on 7 points. These are Colin Montgomerie, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Neil Coles. But, only Jimmy Demaret has a 100% record, with 6 wins from 6 matches (minimum of 3 Ryder Cup appearances). 

Sergio Garcia of Spain is the youngest player to have played in the Ryder Cup, aged just 19 years and 258 days. Whilst Raymond Floyd is the oldest player, aged 51 years and 20 days in the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, US. 

History

The Ryder Cup actually came about by chance when the then Golf Illustrated editor, James D. Harnett, wrote the PGA of America requesting that team of American were to come over and play the British Open in an attempt to boost the appeal of the tournament around the world.

The PGA Duly accepted and ended up sending 11 men over to take part, essentially going head to head with the British. They were set to play a warm up tournament a week before The Open, but to pass time decided on a match play format the day before to hone their skills even more.

This consisted of two teams of 10, with 5 foursomes in the morning and 10 singles in the afternoon. Great Britain ended up winning 9 points to 3. 

As the Open Championship continued to flourish, the number of American’s that were wanting to play it in increased year on year. There were several team games set up prior to the Open over the coming years, but it wasn’t until 1927 when it took its more formal name of the Ryder Cup and was widely renowned as recognised tournament, albeit, playing for pride. 

Logistically and financially, the annual contest was scrapped and instead replaced in favour for the bi-annually event that we see today.

The biggest change to the Ryder Cup since then game about in 1977 when the introduction of European golfers were added. The change of format was a driving force Jack Nicklaus, who decided that the games were becoming too one-sided and an increase in participants for the GB and Ireland team to select from would benefit the Ryder Cup as a whole. 

The change took about from the 1979 tournament onwards and has been a revelation for an event that was starting to lose its appeal given the consistent American victories over the years. 

Nicklaus Tying with Tony Jacklin

Golfer Tony Jacklin with 1969 British Sportsman of the Year Trophy
Tony Jacklin via Wikimedia Commons

The 1969 Ryder Cup will always go down as one of the most memorable sporting occasions ever. The scores ended in a 16-16 tie, which was actually a pretty good result for Great Britain and Ireland, given their horrid record in the tournament previously. 

The game went down to the very last match between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. With the scores tied at 15 ½ each, it was Nicklaus who had the lead over Jacklin coming down the 17thhole. Jacklin managed to level the match up with an eagle put to make it all square with 1 to play. 

The pair fired to the par 5 18thgreen in two, with Nicklaus rolling his putt some 5 foot past the pin and Jacklin to 3-foot past. After Nicklaus had holed out for birdie, Jacklin was left with an awful 3-footer to tie the match and take a tied game for GB and I.

Nicklaus, after rolling in his put, picked Jacklin’s marker up to tie the match and the Ryder Cup in an act of sporting greatness, saving Jacklin from having to make the put to tie. 

Brookline

Brookline is probably one of the most talked about Ryder Cup’s but unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. The American’s went on to win the tight affair 14 ½ - 13 ½, after a remarkable comeback on the last day singles, coming from 10-6 down and taking the singles 8 ½ - 3 ½ . 

But, it was what ensued on the 17thgreen in a match between Justin Leonard and Spaniard, Jose Maria Olazabal. Both players had a putt for birdie on the final green. If Leonard were to make his and Olazabal miss, the game and the Ryder Cup would be won by the USA. However, as the game was all square, I putt that matched Leonard’s would mean they went down 18 to battle it out.

Leonard went on to make his putt which triggered huge scenes of celebration from the American team, fans and wives, many of which encroached onto the putting surface. This was all before Olazabal had taken his putt to halve the hole. 

After players had cleared the green, Olazabal went on to miss his putt and so, they secure the half point they needed to win the Ryder Cup. The fallout from the American’s reaction prior to Olazabal taking his putt was not greeted well with players and representatives from Europe.

The majority of the American players have since apologised about their behaviour, but it was definitely an event where the bad blood between the two teams scaled to new heights. 

Miracle at Medinah

The Miracle at Medinah was in stark contrast to Brookline for the European team and more specifically Olazabal who captained the team in 2012. Europe found themselves 10-6 down after the first two days, leaving America needing just 4 ½ points on the final Sunday to win the Ryder Cup.

A late fightback on Saturday left Europe with 6 points rather than what was looking like 4 points and, in the end,, sparked what was a momentous comeback.

Europe won the final day 8 ½ points to 3 ½, with German Martin Kaymer sinking the winning putt. Ian Poulter was the standout player in 2012, winning all 4 of matches he was involved in. 

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