2012 Ryder Cup Betting Preview

Tiger is the odds-on favorite for the US team’s best score.

Ryder Cup Championship
September 28th, Friday, at 7 AM EST
Europe +120
USA -140
Betting Odds from Bovada

The Medinah country club will be the home of the 2012 Ryder Cup. The course was designed by Rees Jones, who has been responsible for fixing up several of the courses on the U.S. Open.

One hole that will be of particular interest is the 15th. It’s a 391 yard hole with a two-acre lake running through the fairway. Expect it to present a lot of problems. It could play as short as 280 yards from the tee, which will enable most of the golfers to get a good drive on it, but a poor shot off the tee will definitely go ker-plunk. A lot of the golfers in this event will likely try to favor the left side of the fairway, but there’s a bunker there…Accordingly, PGA fans and bettors alike are going to want to keep a close eye on this hole as deciding factor in the winner of the Ryder.

Phil Mickelson said that the “15th hole is …a reachable par-4, but it’s not really drivable…most guys are going to lay up..it’s an easy birdie laying up…and the lowest score will be by laying up.”

Mickelson’s take has merit given his experience with difficult holes, but long hitters like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson may not lay up; they may not play it safe at all. Johnson said it “depends on the wind,” and added that if it’s not into the wind he’ll probably use a 3-wood.

So, keep an eye on the 15th. This course isn’t an easy one to play.

Fans are going to want to see the golfers play for birdies, but the winners of the event may be the ones who plays this hole the safest (in addition to having solid scores on the other 17 holes!). A birdie here as opposed to a bogie, or even a double bogie, is a two to three point swing in any golfer’s favor.

That said, we’ve discussed some of the vicissitudes of playing this hole on a Rees Jones course, and now we’ll take a look at handicapping this event.


Europe comes into the Ryder cup at +120 to win it. As I said, home course advantage plays a bigger role than most casual bettors may think. The lack of roughs on the course will aid both US and Team Europe golfers alike, and Rory McIlroy should be in top form. On team USA, expect the lack of roughs to most favor Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.

What the course lacks in rough, it makes up for in water, though, so it will require accurate drives more than anything for golfers to shoot good scores on this course.

Ewan Murray of the Guardian — predicts the European team to pull the slight upset. He feels the number of question marks surrounding some of the U.S. golfers in pressure situations off-sets the advantage of playing on a US course in Illinois.

McIlroy, at just 23 years of age, is the number one ranked golfer in the world and performed well at the Ryder cup in 2010. His clinching of the 2011 U.S. Open, when he won by eight shots, set his lead as one of the best young golfers in the game. He won back to back Tour events, and won the PGA Championship last month. Needless to say, a great score by McIlroy will only go further towards enabling the slight underdog European team to pull what could barely be deemed an upset.

The other golfers on Team Europe include, Luke Donald (No. 3 overall world ranking), Lee Westwood (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5), Graeme McDowell (No. 18), Sergio Garcia (No. 19), Peter Hanson (No. 25), Ian Poulter (No. 26), Paul Lawrie (No. 28), Francesco Molinari (No. 31), Martin Kaymer (No. 32) and Nicolas Colaserts (No. 35).

Donald has a Ryder Cup record of 8-2-1, and his short game should be useful on this course given the amount of water on it. Donald became the first player to win the money-list crowns in both Europe and the U.S., and he’s one of the European golfers most comfortable playing on Rees’ courses.

Westwood is 16-11-6 in the Ryder cup, and has finished in the top-five nine times in major championships, but did not net a victory in any of those events. This could be a breakthrough performance for the 39 year old from England.

Team U.S. features none other than Tiger Woods (World ranking No. 2 overall), the aforementioned Watson (No. 7), Jason Dufner (No. 9), Keegan Bradley (No. 14), Webb Simpson (No. 8), Zach Johnson (No. 17), Matt Kuchar (No. 15), Mickelson (No. 16), Dustin Johnson (No. 13), Jim Furyk (No. 23), Brandt Snedeker (No. 10) and Steve Stricker (No. 12).

Woods is starting to get back on track after the fourth swing change of his career, and the number of injuries he suffered in the last few years. He hasn’t won a title since 2008, but is continually one of the favorites as you have seen in my past previews. Though he clearly isn’t at the peak of his game, as he was when he first entered the circuit, he is still an elite golfer who will give the US a huge edge. He’s ranked No. 2 overall in the world, and has been in the Ryder cup six times (1997, ’99, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’10).

Watson, as I said, will have to be careful with his long drives on this course, and hasn’t fared well at the Ryder cup in the past, with a 1-3-0 record. He loved it in 2010 when he made his debut, so perhaps the experience will elevate his mood and put him in the mindset to play some great golf.

Dufner’s distinctive swing makes him noticeable off the tee, with his little pre-shot maneuver, and he won twice on the PGA tour the year. He’s been consistent, but this is his first Ryder Cup appearance, so we’ll have to see if nerves come into play. I doubt they will, given Dufner’s casual approach to life and the game of golf, but jitters affect even the best golfers, so Dufner’s composure will be elemental, as he is ranked No. 9 in the world.

Kuchar has been a chic pick for handicappers week in and week out in PGA events, and the 34 year old has been golfing as a pro since 2000. He won the Players Championship this year and is still a golfer on the rise. His Ryder cup record is 1-1-2.

The Ryder cup will offer a lot of excitement, as usual, and I’ve highlighted some of the key members of both the Euro and US squads. 57.1 percent of bettors on Bookmaker are picking the Euro team to win it, as of Thursday (Sept 27th) night at 7:30 PM EST. 37.5 percent are picking the US. Only 5.4 percent of bettors are predicting a tie.

Woods and McIlroy are expected to be the top scorers for both squads, with Bookmaker setting the odds at +425 for Woods and +450 for McIlroy.

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