WELL the wait is nearly over — yes the long awaited Ryder Cup stats on Friday when the USA will be trying to win in Europe for the first time since 1993.
This renewal takes place at Le Golf National in Paris and is probably the closest matched in all time.
The USA are slight favourites at 10/11 with Betfair and Paddy Power while the European team can be backed at 11/8 with Betfair. The draw is generally 12/1 which would mean the USA would retain the Ryder Cup.
Not a lot of value in this market but I expect a close contest with the USA winning.
The Captains picks have been controversial on both sides of the Atlantic, Thomas Bjorn chose Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. Poulter and Stenson didn't qualify to play in the Tour Championship while Casey finished tied 11th in the elite field at 4 under par but was certainly in contention of a higher finish up to the final round.
Sergio Garcia played in the Portugal Masters and must have given Bjorn a boost as he finished tied 7th at 15 under par and if his putter had been hotter he would have gone close. The final round on Sunday saw him shoot a six under par 65.
Jim Furyk's four picks all took part in the Tour Championship at the weekend with mixed fortunes. Tony Finau finished tied 15th and Bryson Dechambeau finished tied 19th.
Phil Mickelson finished last of the elite 30 with a miserable 13 over par, however on the positive side was the form of Tiger Woods who won the Tour Championship by two shots having lead the field after 36 holes. Considering the back surgery and the problems he had earlier this year it was truly a remarkable performance. The return of the Tiger to form will surely be boost to the USA team.
There is very little value in the overall winners market so I hope to have found value elsewhere.
Tiger leads the betting at 3/1 but doubts as to whether he will play 5 matches makes this poor value.
Two players I expect to play 5 matches are Stenson and Poulter. In previous Ryder Cups Stenson has partnered Justin Rose (recent FedEx Cup winner and recent No.1 in the world) while Poulter has partnered Rory McIlroy.
Rory is blowing hot and cold at the moment and with Rose in fine form I recommend Stenson to be Top Wildcard, available at 6/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
The USA have three rookies in their team; Dechambeau, Finau and Justin Thomas while the European team has five, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjorn Olesen.
The key to this market is who is going to play the most matches, by far the most solid performer is the selection Justin Thomas to be Top Debutant available at 10/3 with Skybet.
Top English Player
Only 5 players in this section; Rose, Poulter, Casey, Fleetwood and Hatton. I believe Rose will play all five games whilst the other four will probably not.
Of the four, Poulter and Casey are wildcards and Fleetwood and Hatton are rookies. Rose is by far the most experienced player in this section and is clear value at the 2/1 on offer at Betvictor. The selection is Justin Rose to be Top Englishman.