PATRICK CALLAGHAN PREVIEWS THE RYDER CUP AT GLENEAGLES
STAR SPORTS have dangled a massive carrot for golf fans ahead of the start of the Ryder Cup tomorrow at Gleneagles by going an industry-best 8/11 for new accounts on Europe to land a third successive trophy against the USA.
Europe were the value last year at odds against, but famously made hard work of landing the trophy at Medinah. They are the favourites this time, although 4/6 is the best price you are going to get elsewhere and some layers are as short at 8/13.
A win for Europe would give them eight wins from the last 10 editions and America have it all to do on paper.
Tom Watson was the USA captain in 1993, the last time the team won on European soil, but his wildcard picks have come under scrutiny. The decision to leave behind the in-form trio of Chris Kirk, Ryan Palmer and FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel has baffled many and, compared to a Europe outfit that can boast four of the world’s top-six players, his men look up against it.
Tiger Woods has never enjoyed the Ryder Cup, so his omission is unlikely to make too much difference to the result. But symbolically a team lining up without the 14-time Major winner marks a new era for US golf.
History shows that the Ryder Cup is rarely as straightforward as the odds would suggest, though, and Star Sports haven’t taken any chances, with the USA priced at 7/4. The draw is a 10/1 shot.
Paul McGinley etched his name into European golf history with the memorable ten-foot putt that sealed glory for Europe at The Belfry in 2002.
And Europe’s captain has arguably the strongest European side ever assembled. His men won three of the four Majors this season, headlined by Rory McIlroy’s coming of age act at The Open and the PGA Championship. The Northern Irishman warmed up on the course in fine style on Tuesday, reportedly finding the green on the longest hole in Ryder Cup history, the 618-yard par-five ninth, in just two shots.
Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose are other heavyweights set to make their mark in Scotland, not to mention US Open winner Martin Kaymer and Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter, who is yet to lose a singles match in three appearances.
It was Poulter’s five-birdie streak that inspired the famous ‘Miracle of Medinah’ two years ago and his experience will be crucial.
The Americans have dismissed suggestions they are wrought on revenge after that collapse in 2012, but it will certainly play a part and the event will be closer than many are predicting.
The last two Ryder Cups have been settled by a single point in Europe’s favour and a repeat of that is 9/1 with Star Sports. But, at the same price, I’ll take Europe to triumph 15-13.
Europe at 8/11 with Star Sports
Europe to win 15-13 at 9/1 with Star Sports