Tom O’Hare looks ahead to the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles
The 2014 Ryder Cup staged at Gleneagles is the 40th instalment of a biennial event that keeps growing in size and prestige all over the world, not just in America and Europe. What makes this year’s Ryder Cup so fascinating is Team USA’s obsession with gaining “redemption” for the 2012 Medinah choke, add to that the fact it is Tom Watson who has been charged with winning the Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time since he himself lead USA to a 15-13 victory at the Belfry in 1993 and it has all the ingredients to be one of the most exciting Ryder Cups of all time.
When trying to identify the winner of this three-day match play event, on a course all about making lots and lots of birdies, it is important to remember that each format played, whether it be fourballs, foursomes or singles, is as close to a 50/50 contest as can be. Europe are favourites because they are at home and they have to score 14 points, whereas USA have to score 14.5 and it is how much importance you give to these factors not the player ratings to determine who is the most likely winner.
Even though Europe have four out of the top six from the world rankings, this (as Europe have proved) is not what the Ryder Cup is about. Ultimately it is an event where the winning side unifies and competes as a team because of a balance to pairings, singles line ups and a dressing room atmosphere that provides a platform to perform as a team not on an individual level. The last time the USA won the Ryder Cup was the last time Tiger Woods didn’t participate.
The most significant factor when golf betting is the player to course match up. This week’s tournament is played on a Jack Nicklaus designed layout with its famously steep run off areas and deep greenside bunkers surrounding four scoreable par 5s which plays to the Americans’ strength, and although missing Dustin Johnson and Billy Horschel, who would of undoubtedly made the USA team stronger, the birdie machines Fowler, Bubba, Mickelson, Bradley, Walker and Reed will take this course to pieces paving the way for a USA victory.