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Ryder Cup Tips & Odds: Team USA can haul back the Harry Vardon Trophy

Ryder Cup Tips & Odds: USA fancied to get revenge at Whistling Straits
Ryder Cup Tips & Odds: USA fancied to get revenge at Whistling Straits

Fresh from tipping up Max Homa to win the Fortinet Championship on the PGA Tour at the weekend, our resident golf tipster Jamie Worsley puts up his picks for the 2021 Ryder Cup plus we have the all important odds for the markets he's tipping in...

It’s been a longer wait than usual with COVID delaying the 2020 Ryder Cup by a year but it’s finally here. Not for everyone but I love the event, one of the events along with The Open and Masters that piqued interest in golf in my younger years and I really can’t wait to see what unfolds at Whistling Straits by Sunday evening. 

Playing as a 7390 yard par 71 this week, the Straits Course at Whistling Straits was built in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on an abandoned airfield and opened for play in 1998. Though you could be forgiven for thinking it a course formed over time due to the rugged, exposed, natural look and feel of the course.

This iconic Pete Dye design has hosted many top events since opening. Most notably the 2004, 2010 and 2015 runnings of the PGA Championship, won by Vijay Singh, Martin Kaymer and Jason Day respectively.

It has more than a sniff of a traditional British Isles links course. Hugely exposed to the elements. The uneven, rolling fairways are tough to find, bunkers are penal and though greens are large, there are so many dramatic elevation changes to test the approaches of even the best iron players. 

With holes bordering Lake Michigan, there’s lots of water in play, particularly on a series of tough par 3s and with some brutally tough, long par 4s, it’s a course that tests every part of your game but particularly the need to strike it well.

The weather could yet play its part. It’s currently forecast to be dry and with a strong breeze, though that can change. I think it will certainly suit the European team if the strongest of that breeze arrives, and they’ll be hoping for something stronger.

Ryder cup odds

There is absolutely no doubt the USA team is the best on paper, and based purely on world rankings, it’s the strongest team ever assembled for the event. With nobody ranking worse than 21st and their team of 12 containing 8 of the world’s top 10. In contrast, Europe have just 1 player from the top 10 in the world, though he does come in the form of world #1 Jon Rahm. 

Team USA also coming out on top in the major champions category, with 6 major champions in their ranks, though Europe hold their own here, containing 4.

Comparisons between the two lineups are a lot more interesting when we look at statistics though.

Of the top 20 players off-the-tee on the PGA Tour last season, only 4 of Team USA feature, compared to 5 members of Team Europe. The exact same is true of the approach stats.

This is reversed for the short game stats, with 3 members of Team USA appearing in the top 20 on the PGA Tour in both around-the-green and putting, with only 2 & 1 appearing for Team Europe respectively. 

It must be said that this course well be setup to suit the Americans and make it more about birdie making than bogey avoiding. This is where Team USA come into their own. With each and every one of their 12 being in the top 25 for birdie average on the PGA Tour last season, compared to 3 for Team Europe, though 2 of those ranked tied first, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy.

Ryder Cup Tips

Golf betting tips

2021 Ryder Cup Odds

Correct Score - USA to win 15 - 13
9/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-20 14:35 Odds subject to change.
Correct Score - USA to win 15.5 - 12.5
10/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-20 14:35 Odds subject to change.

Onto the selections and due to the nature of the event I consider it sensible to not get overly involved and keep stakes low.

I’m not quite on board with the expectation that the U.S team dominate this and win it comfortably. Though they have a clear advantage in terms of quality of golfer, this event is never that simple. Their most experienced player is Dustin Johnson, who has an average record in this event at best, winning 7 and losing 9 of his 16 matches. Six rookies will tee it up for them and there’s the question marks about egos of certain individuals and how it impacts the team.

Compared to the European Team who are typically a much more together group, packed with experience and let us not forget that they’ve won 7 of the last 10 renewals, often with the worse team going into the event. They also possess the best player in the world in their ranks, as well as  the improving form of the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, who was excellent in his first Ryder Cup at Le Golf National and they’re certainly no forlorn hope.

Having said that, I do think the home advantage, combined with the sheer volume of not just quality players, but quality players at a course which fits more of them than the European guys, means the U.S will just have the edge, and I’m dutching the 15 - 13/15 ½ - 12 ½ scorelines in their favour.

Top Combined Scorer - Collin Morikawa
18/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-20 14:40 Odds subject to change.

Always the most interesting market, though plenty complicated enough, as you don’t just have to find who you think to be the best player statistically or based on form, but also try and find a player who will play enough matches to threaten topping this side market. With young phenom, and two time major winner Collin Morikawa, I feel I may have found that person. Who I expect to put an underwhelming run of results behind him and take to this event right away.

Though Morikawa might be a Ryder Cup rookie, he’s by no means new to team golf. Part of the winning USA team at the 2017 Walker Cup, an event that pits the best of the US amateurs against the best of GB & Ireland, in the same format as the Ryder Cup. He had a 100% win record, playing and winning in all four sessions. 

He was also part of two winning Arnold Palmer Cup teams in 2017 and 2018, a similar event where the best college golfers from the U.S and Europe compete. Winning 2 of his 4 matches in 2017 and 3 of 4 in 2018. That takes his record in these amateur events to 9 wins in 12 matches, showing a player who could thrive in this format.

I think a lot of this is down to his demeanour on the course, where he’s a cool, calm and collected character. It also helps that he’s a superb ball-striker. Straight off the tee and a wonderful iron player, he should make an excellent foursomes partner for most and I will be surprised if he isn’t put out in that opening session. 

If he does indeed get selected for that opening session and start fast, his importance to the team could then snowball and hopefully he’ll play at least 4 matches, to give himself the best chance of finishing the event as the player with the most points.

Top Europe points scorer - Sergio Garcia
11/1
Odds correct as of 2021-09-20 14:45 Odds subject to change.

It is hard not to expect Rahm and/or Mcilroy to be the standouts for Team Europe, as the best birdie makers in the entire event and the most likely of anyone to play all 5 sessions. Though they’re not quite for me at the prices in the respective markets and I’m taking a chance on Sergio pushing them both for top Euro honours.

I found it tough knowing how to play Sergio this week, he appealed in top overall scorer and wouldn’t put anyone off that at around 25/1. I also looked at him in the Top Wildcard market, though I think I’ve landed on the most suitable option.

In France 3 years ago, he became the winning-most player in the competition’s history in terms of matches. 41 times he’s squared of against an American opponent(s), winning 22 matches, losing 12 and tying in 7. He’s a stalwart of this team and outside of Rahm, Rory and possibly Hovland, I expect him to play as much, if not more than anyone else.

His appeal isn’t just that of experience though, as he’s been in really good form in this latter end of the year.

From his missed cut at the PGA Championship back in May, he’s played 9 times, missing the cut just once and finishing in the top 25 in 7 of the other 8 events. He’s driving the ball exceptionally, ranking as the 3rd best player on the PGA Tour last season, with only Bryson and Rahm ranking higher. His iron play has been solid and occasionally spectacular, as is so often the case.

With few concerns about him around the greens, it often comes down to the putter with Sergio and if he can hole his fair share, I think he’s one of the players from Team Europe who will trouble Team USA the most.

-------

Jamie Worsley has been producing betting previews of the PGA Tour and European Tour for the majority of the season for BettingOdds.com and pulled out a 55/1 winner at the weekend when Max Homa won the Fortinet Championship. Jamie is very active on Twitter where you can find his account @JamieWorsley89 and he regularly puts up predictions for the minor Tours for both Mens and Women's. He's currently operating at a +451.35 for the year.

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