Golf’s biggest team event reaches France for the first time this week, as Le Golf National in Paris plays host to the Ryder Cup.
It’s not inconceivable to claim this could be the best edition yet – or at least the highest quality, with all of the world’s top 10 in action for either Thomas Bjorn’s Europe, or Jim Furyk’s USA.
Our golf betting expert has taken a look at the best bets for what should be an absorbing weekend.
Europe tough to beat on home soil
It’s been 15 years, and five matches since Europe were defeated in the Ryder Cup on home soil.
The continent’s grip on the trophy this side of the Atlantic will give Bjorn and his side plenty of confidence in Paris, even if the betting makes them outsiders for the trophy.
Fittingly for a tournament played on mainland Europe for just the second time, it‘s an international team, with Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark all represented alongside the usual English and Irish suspects.
Despite fielding five rookies, Europe have some real Ryder Cup heavyweights in their ranks, with Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson amongst the best European points scorers in this competition’s history.
They’re joined by a number of exciting first-timers who’ll be hoping to make an impact – with Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, and Alex Noren all sitting in the world’s top 20. They won’t be fazed by the occasion in Paris.
USA’s ‘dream team’ the best ever
Despite European dominance at home, there is a reason the Americans are favourites – the frankly obscene side that Furyk is able to call on.
USA have six of the world’s top 10, with an average world ranking of just over 11.
When your worst ranked player is 11-time Ryder Cup veteran, and five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson in 25th, you know it’s a good team.
Only three of the USA side haven’t won majors (compared to seven Europeans), and Furyk will be out to end that 15 years of away hurt.
Reed it and weep
The beauty of the Ryder Cup is that world rankings or previous form means nothing on the first morning – it’s a pure shootout between two teams, and can often be down to which of the sides can hold their nerve the best.
Ian Poulter has long been Europe’s match play specialist, with a remarkable record of 14 points from his 18 Ryder Cup matches, and despite his poor form over the past couple of years, a pumped up Poulter will be a player no American will want to face.
However, in Patrick Reed, he may have a competitor to his crown.
The fiery Texan, like Poulter, wears his heart on his sleeve – and isn’t against using some underhand tactics to get the win if needed.
He comes alive at the Ryder Cup too, winning seven points from a possible nine, and could be a shrewd bet as the top points scorer at 16/1.
Thriller on the cards in France
Whatever happens, we should be in for an electric few days near Paris, with the identity of the winners unlikely to be known until deep into Sunday afternoon.
If I had to stick my neck out, I’d err towards home advantage just doing the business for Europe – but I can see this being a very close one.
Back Bjorn’s boys at 6/5, and get ready for a thriller in France.