RYDER CUP: For my money, the Ryder Cup is one of the greatest spectacles in all of sport. The competition is intense, but both sides are generally respectful and the event itself elevates the game of golf. Europe has been the dominant side for much of the past 20 years, but the American side ended their long drought two years ago at Hazeltine, and they now take the Cup to Paris– to Le Golf National, site of the European Tour’s Open de France– where they’ll look to become the first U.S. team since 1993 to hoist the Cup on European soil.
BETDAQ is offering a wide range of markets leading up to Friday’s start, and of course there will be individual markets for each match as they are announced. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
TOP EUROPEAN SCORER
Justin Rose has been in brilliant form over the past few months, so it’s no surprise that he heads this market at 6.2, and if you want to back him I certainly wouldn’t argue with you. The key here is finding someone that will not only play well, but play often– you’re looking for someone who will play all five matches. So, Rose, Rory McIlroy (6.2), Tommy Fleetwood (9.0), and Jon Rahm (8.2) are the top four candidates in my opinion, and I think I’ll creep away from the shortest prices and also Fleetwood, who did win the Open de France in 2017 but has fared poorly every other time he’s come to Le Golf National, missing the cut four times in five career appearances.
But then I look at a guy like Rahm– yes, it’s his first Ryder Cup, but over the past couple of years he’s accrued plenty of experience on golf’s biggest stages, so I don’t think he’ll be intimidated by the moment. And while he hasn’t had any splashy finishes since his 4th-place showing at the PGA Championship, it’s not like he’s been playing poorly– he’s broken 70 in 7 of his past 8 competitive rounds, finishing T24 at the BMW Championship and T11 at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s an accomplished match play player dating back to his amateur days and made it all the way to the final of the WGC Match Play in 2017, and he has a great record at Le Golf National, finding the top-10 at the Open de France in each of the past two years. Recommendation: Jon Rahm at 8.2
TOP AMERICAN SCORER
Again, we’re looking for guys who captain Jim Furyk is likely to put out there for all five possible matches. So, that certainly leaves out the lower-rung guys like Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, and Bubba Watson (not a bad “lower rung”, eh?), but also probably Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who will likely be rested for at least one afternoon wave regardless of how they’re playing. We’re then left with a handful of possible candidates, and I think the likeliest four are Dustin Johnson (7.0), Justin Thomas (7.8), Jordan Spieth (8.2) and Patrick Reed (9.0)— I leave out Brooks Koepka because his game has been trending in the wrong direction over the past couple of weeks and Le Golf National is a course that rewards accuracy over length.
Reed is one to watch– “Captain America” will certainly get every chance to shine and has shown that he thrives under these conditions, with the spotlight on him and the gallery firmly in the other man’s corner. He’s decent value here at a price like 9.0, but I think the player most likely to do the most damage for the U.S. side is Thomas, who comes in fresh off a T7 at the Tour Championship and top-25s in each of his past six starts. Like Rahm, Thomas is a Ryder Cup rookie, but he’s one of the more accomplished “rookies” that either side has had in quite awhile, so I don’t view it as much of an issue. Thomas came over the play the Open de France this year, the only member of the American team to do so, and raved about the course after his 8th-place finish. He’ll be out there for all five matches and has the potential for a really big week. Recommendation: Justin Thomas at 7.8
Let’s get all the disclaimers and admitted prejudices out of the way: yes, I am an American who has a rooting interest in the outcome beyond what I decide to do with my bets.
That being said, I haven’t been shy about backing Europeans or the European side in this event over the years, and I can see why that’s an attractive side this time around: a nice price (2.36) to fade an American side that is perpetually overrated and hasn’t hoisted the Cup on European soil in 25 years. I understand it, I just don’t agree with it.
The U.S. roster is absolutely stacked– everybody but Bubba Watson is in good form, they’ve got 3 of the top-4 ranked players in the world and 11 of the top-17, and even the new guys who could be considered “weak links” going in– Finau, DeChambeau, etc.– seem just as likely to win all their matches this week as to lose them all. Plus, though these things are hard to quantify, there seems to be a different vibe among the Americans this time around– a lighter, looser vibe maybe. You can certainly see it in Woods and Mickelson, the formerly frosty rivals who have been seen yukking it up these past few days. At any rate, this American side feels primed for a big week– they’re going to be awfully tough to beat. I’m a little stunned the price isn’t shorter, frankly. Recommendation: U.S. to win outright at 1.99