Ryder Cup week is upon us, finally!
There’s nothing more infuriating in golf than when someone shouts, “in the hole” about a millisecond after a tee shot, right?
Yet, when the Ryder Cup rolls around once every couple of years, and those “in the hole” shouts are delivered with even more bluster, it somehow doesn’t seem so ridiculous. In fact, it feels apt.
To my mind, the Ryder Cup gets nationalism just about spot-on. It ignites a good healthy rivalry between the two sides and it almost always remains respectful throughout.
The spirit the competition is played in makes it all the more fun as a spectator. It truly is great to watch, and has delivered us some spectacular moments over the years,
And, of course, it’s bloody brilliant to bet on.
The event will be held at the Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Chaska, Minnesota.
Robert Trent Jones designed the course and it was opened 54 years ago in 1962. It has since been reworked and lengthened in both 2005 and 2008.
It has hosted the US Open twice, in 1983 and 1991, and the PGA Championship twice as well, in 2002 and 2009. This will be Hazeltine’s first Ryder Cup event.
At almost 7,700 yards long, it’s a lengthy, hilly course with narrow fairways and small greens.
The tournament will be a Match Play Competition between two teams of 12 Players who play 28 match-play ties over three days.
On both the first and second days there will be a series of four foursome matches and a series of four four-ball matches, and on the final day a series of 12 singles matches.
14½ points is the required total to win the trophy, or 14 points to retain if you’re the current champions.
Ryder Cup TV coverage
The event is televised live on Sky Sports Ryder Cup channel on all three days – starting at 12.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.
There are also highlights shows on BBC Two throughout the weekend.
Europe have been dominant in recent memory, having won eight and lost two since 1995.
Their two defeats did come on American soil, in 2008 at the Valhalla Club in Kentucky, and in 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline.
It must be said that Darren Clarke exudes all the confidence we’ve become accustomed to with successful European Ryder Cup captains in recent years.
Clarke always loved playing this event and that natural enthusiasm should bode well in leading his team as captain.
The Ryder Cup holds some emotional memories for Europe’s captain. In 2006 he made a big contribution to the win at The K Club in Ireland with the competition coming just six weeks after the death of his wife, Heather.
He’ll be desperate to make it four wins on the spin for Europe but his team will start as 19/10 outsiders with most bookmakers.
Unsurprisingly, Rory leads the way in the top European betting market at 10/3. Justin Rose is 11/2, Stenson and Garcia are 6/1, with Lee Westwood and US Masters champion Danny Willett at 12/1.
The European team
Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia,Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters.
The Americans are 4/7 favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday, having been closer to evens earlier in the year.
Home advantage is always an important factor in this competition and although it may prove key once again, it’s worth noting that many of the European players play much of their golf on the PGA tour.
With the world golf rankings suggesting the Americans also have the strongest team on paper, you can see why they’re red-hot favourites to win it.
Dustin Johnson heads the top American market at 4/1, closely followed by Jordan Spieth at 9/2. Patrick Reed, who won this market two years ago is third in the betting at 6/1.
Fans’ favourite Phil Mickleson is tempting at 10/1, with Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar both at 11/1.
The US team
Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker, Ryan Moore.
If I had to pick the two most important factors that typified this competition over the past decade or so I’d choose ‘team-spirit’ and ‘momentum’.
I believe that is why Europe have fared so well. It seems to mean more to them, and they have a togetherness that has helped pull them over the line. For this reason I do see value in Europe at 19/10.
Big players bring big moments and that gives you momentum, and in Rory McIlroy they have the perfect talisman to get things going.
Top combined point-scorer
Rory and Dustin are both shortest price 7/1 to win that accolade this year. Jordan Spieth is 8/1, Justin Rose at 12/1, with Reed, Stenson and Garcia all 14/1.
Patrick Reed is in great form and was a revelation at Ryder Cup 2014, forming a great partnership with Spieth at Gleneagles which the Americans will surely want to keep going.
Rookie Danny Willett is an interesting price at 25/1, I have a feeling he’ll relish this competition and could perform well this week.
Lee Westwood has a good Ryder Cup record can be backed at 28/1, with his good friend Darren Clarke as captain he’ll be up for this one.
Even further back is recent major winner Jimmy Walker, who could prove good value at 33/1, and indeed so could Andy Sullivan who’s had a strong season, at 40/1.
Ryder Cup 2016 betting tips
Europe to win the Ryder Cup – 19/10 @ Paddypower (bet now)
Patrick Reed to win top combined point scorer – 14/1 @ Betfred (bet now)
Lee Westwood to be top European point scorer – 12/1 @ Bet365 (bet now)
All the best enhanced odds, price-boosts and new sign-up offers for the Ryder Cup. We’ll update this section as and when the new offers roll-in.
Ryder Cup 2016 betting offers
Skybet: Bet £10 on top overall point scorer & get a free £5 bet for every point they win (all customers)
Ladbrokes: Bet £10 on the Ryder Cup and get a free £5 bet (all customers)
Betfair: 5/1 USA to win or 10/1 Europe to win (new customers)
Betfair: Bet £25 and get a free £5 bet on Saturday & Sunday (all customers)