No official PGA Tour tournament this week but instead the biennial Ryder Cup competition between the United States and Europe.
The Americans are -145 favourites on the golf odds with the Europeans +137 and a draw +1300.
The Ryder Cup started in 1927 and was played in odd-numbered years until the 2001 event was pushed to the next year due to the 9/11 attacks in the USA. It was played in even-numbered years going forward but was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Now, it will again revert to odd-numbered years.
It’s the first time that Whistling Straits in Wisconsin will host. The course also has hosted three PGA Championships, last in 2015. It is modeled after the seaside links courses of the United Kingdom and Ireland so that may benefit Team Europe. It’s a par 71 at around 7,400 yards but par obviously doesn’t much matter in a match play format.
Both teams have 12 players, some from points qualification, some from captain’s picks – Steve Stricker is a first-time captain for Team USA and Padraig Harrington is a first-time captain for Team Europe. Two American golf/Ryder Cup legends, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, aren’t playing, although Lefty is serving as a vice-captain.
Unlike like a typical PGA Tour event, this starts on Friday and is three days – each of the first two days includes one four-match session of fourball (each team member plays his own ball and lowest score is counted on each) and one four-match session of foursomes (alternate-shot). The final day is 12 singles matches. The team with the low score on each hole wins it and if the scores are tied, the hole is halved – ditto in singles.
The first team to reach 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup. There can be an overall tie as there was in 1989; if that’s the case here, the Ryder Cup reverts to the previous winner, which is Team Europe. In 2018 in France, it crushed Team USA 17.5-10.5. The Europeans have won seven of the past nine Ryder Cups, but the two American wins were in the USA (Minnesota in 2016 and Kentucky in 2008).
Ryder Cup Golf Odds
Team USA appears much better on paper with nine players 11th or higher in the world rankings and an average ranking of ninth. Team Europe has world No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain but an average world ranking of 30.08 and six players ranked 34th or worse. American players have combined to win 11 tournaments worldwide this year and Europeans six.
Rahm is the +342 leader to be the top European points scorer. In 2018, Rahm had a record of 1-2-0, going 0-2-0 with the lone point in singles. Justin Thomas is the +623 leader as top American. He went 4-1 in the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Jordan Spieth has the most career Ryder Cup points on Team USA with eight and is +627 to lead this time. Sergio Garcia leads Europe with 25.5 points and is +1000 to lead the country in points. It’s his 10th appearance. The only player at this event with more is teammate Lee Westwood, who makes his 11th. The average age of the U.S. Team is 29.1, while Europe’s is 34.6.
Team Europe has three Ryder Cup rookies in Viktor Hovland, Bernd Wiesberger and Shane Lowry. Hovland is the -126 favourite to be the highest-scoring European rookie. The Americans have six rookies: Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele and Scottie Scheffler. Schauffele is the +300 leader to be highest-scoring American first-timer.
There are a couple of props on American players Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka – of course, they have a notable feud going. That captain Steve Stricker pairs them together at all is +800 with no at -4425. It would be truly shocking if Stricker did it. That Bryson and Brooks sit together during the opening ceremony is +495 while sitting apart is -984.
Ryder Cup Golf Predictions
Team USA wins the Ryder Cup by a score of 15.5-12.5. Sergio Garcia leads Team Europe in points and Dustin Johnson (+728) does for the Americans.