The Ryder Cup was first played in 1927, although it only took its present form in 1979 when the former Great Britain and Ireland team became Europe, and players from continental countries took part for the first time. It is played every two years, alternating between courses in Europe and the United States, and since 1979 the overall score is 10-8 in favour of Europe, with one drawn match.
The US is the current holder of the Ryder Cup, after winning 17-11 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota in 2016. The 2018 Ryder Cup will be played on the Albatros Course at Le Golf National in Magny-les-Hameaux, France on 28 – 30 September.
The Ryder Cup is match play i.e., players play against each other on a hole-by-hole basis, and individual scores are not recorded in the way that they are in stroke play. A winning score of 4 and 3, for instance, means that a player has won four more holes than his opponent with only three holes remaining, and so the match ends on the 15th hole. A winning score of 1 up means that after the 18th has been played, a player has won one more hole than his opponent.
Teams are made up of twelve players, with 28 matches played over three days — 16 fourball and foursomes matches on Friday and Saturday, and 12 singles matches on Sunday. A win earns a point, while a match that is drawn (or ‘halved’) earns half a point. To win the Ryder Cup, a team needs to score a minimum of 14½ points, but after the 28 matches, if the overall score is tied, the Ryder Cup is retained by the current holder.
Over the years, the Ryder Cup has produced some extraordinary and memorable moments. From 1991’s War by the Shore when the whole match came down to a single putt by Bernhard Langer, to the accusations of poor sportsmanship in what became known as the Battle of Brookline in 1999, to the Ian Poulter inspired Miracle At Medinah when Europe came back to win after being 10-4 down in 2012, the Ryder Cup is famed for producing intense match play golf in an atmosphere that is unrivalled in world sport.
The 2018 Ryder Cup will be played from Friday 28 September to Sunday 30 September on the Albatros Course at Le Golf National in Magny-les-Hameaux, France. On Friday and Saturday there are four foursomes matches in the morning, followed by four fourball matches in the afternoon. Captains can select any combination of players out of the team of 12 to complete in these matches. On Sunday, all twelve players in each team compete in the singles matches. The challenge for the captains is to match up players against the right opponents, and to find the right place in the order for them to play.
This year’s Ryder Cup captains are Thomas Bjørn (Europe) and Jim Furyk (USA). The twelve players qualify for their respective teams in different ways.
Players qualify for the European team by earning points in tournaments on the European tour and other selected tournaments worldwide. The weighting of points is greater for tournaments that are played closer to the Ryder Cup to help ensure that the players who qualify are in form. The top four points scorers on the European Points List and the top four on the World Points List automatically qualify for the team. The captain Thomas Bjørn also gets four Wild Card picks i.e., players who don’t earn enough qualifying points but who he nevertheless thinks are deserving of a spot in the team.
Although it may change by the time the final team is selected, at the time of writing the following players are likely to qualify to represent Europe: Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey.
Qualification for the US team works slightly differently, in that points are earned for every $1,000 a player picks up in prize money in selected tournaments, with extra weighting given to all four Majors and other leading events. The top eight points scorers are automatically selected for the team, and captain Jim Furyk then has an additional four Wild Card picks at his disposal.
As it currently stands, the US team is likely to include Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson.
Just as the Ryder Cup is a very different golfing experience for the players, the teams format combined with match play produces an array of different betting opportunities for punters.
As well as the overall winner, you can bet on who will lift the trophy — these are slightly different markets, because in the event of a tie, the trophy will go to the US as holders. Currently, the best price you can get on the US winning this year is even money with BetVictor, with Europe at 6-5 and the tie 12-1. The best price currently on the US lifting the trophy is 8-11 at Boyle Sports, with Europe at 15-13. You can also bet outright on the winner of each individual match in all of the pairs and singles matches.
As well as these outright markets, the Ryder Cup also gives you a host of special markets as well, with the odds for these available closer to the match. For instance, you can bet on what you think the points total will be after each day’s play, and the exact number of points won by each side by the end. You can also bet on which combination of players you think will earn the points in the foursome and fourballs, and which player will make the overall biggest points contribution to his team. Another popular market is who will be the player or pair to win the first point each day — as this is match play, matches don’t necessarily finish in order of teeing off.
There are also plenty opportunities for Ryder Cup in-play betting, such as who will win each individual hole, which hole you think the match will end on, or whether you think a player will score a hole-in-one on a par 3.
History has shown us that the fortunes of each team can fluctuate wildly in the Ryder Cup, particularly on the action-packed last day. A golf betting app is the best way not only to keep an eye on your bets, but also to stay in touch with what is happening on the course as the drama unfolds.
The best golf betting apps feature live streaming and replays, comprehensive stats and data visualisations, so you are always on top of the action. You will also get a huge range of markets on the Ryder Cup as a whole and each individual match, as well as in-play markets where you can bet throughout a match as the scores ebb and flow.
A golf betting app is definitely the most convenient and exciting way of betting on the Ryder Cup, as you can keep up with the action wherever you are, especially important on that dramatic last day where, with 12 singles matches being played, the final destination of the trophy can change quickly and dramatically.
Based on the current world rankings and the form guide, picking an outright winner of the 2018 Ryder Cup is far from clear cut. Of the top 20 players in the world after the 2018 British Open, nine are eligible to play for Europe and eight for the USA, and so the depth of each side looks evenly matched. This is reflected in the prices on offer, where at this stage there is not much between them; in fact a number of sports books have both at even money to win the match. If you are going to punt on the outright winner of the 2018 Ryder Cup, it makes sense therefore to hold off until the final teams are announced to get a better idea of who will be the stronger of the two.
When you’re looking at this market, world rankings and earnings do come into it in some respects, but you have to go beyond these when betting on the Ryder Cup. It’s more important to take into account players’ previous Ryder Cup histories and their ability to perform under the pressure of the match play format. Also, don’t discount the importance of a player’s record in foursome and fourball golf, as these also contribute to an individual player’s overall points tally. Ryder Cup history is littered with players who have performed beyond expectations in the cauldron of these matches, and so when you’re looking at the top points scorer market, these types of players can’t be discounted. Take Colin Montgomerie as the prime example — he was never able to win one of the four Majors, but he has a 6-0-2 record in Ryder Cup singles matches and is tied for the most ever singles points won.
Is Tiger Woods back? That’s the question everyone in golf is asking after the former world no.1 was in contention for much of the 2018 British Open, before finally finishing tied for sixth. At times, he looked back to his magisterial best and it is only a matter of time, most observers agree, before he is back to being one of the most feared competitors on the circuit. Now in the top 20 for Ryder Cup qualification, and named alongside Steve Stricker as a vice-captain, Woods could yet qualify the team and, if so, the markets around him will be very interesting — he is currently 2-9 with Betfair to be included. Given his determination to get back to the top and his performances in previous Ryder Cups, Woods could be worth a punt as this year’s top points scorer.