Updated January 24, 3:49 PM CT
Europe wins back Ryder Cup, beating US 17 1/2-10 1/2
The Ryder Cup belongs to France.
Two years after the Americans thought they had their Ryder Cup problems figured out, Europe reminded them Sunday why it practically has owned this shiny gold trophy for the last quarter-century.
British Open champion Francesco Molinari was just as good on his own as he was with Tommy Fleetwood. The best year of the Italian's golfing life got even better at Le Golf National when he became the first European - and only second player since the current format began in 1979 - to win all five of his matches.
Europe already was assured the 14 1/2 points it needed because it was guaranteed halves in two matches. Molinari made it official. He was 2 up and safely on the green at the par-3 16th green when Phil Mickelson hit into the water, removed his cap and conceded the match.
The celebration and singing had already begun. The Europeans were treated like rock stars before more than 50,000 fans. All that remained was Alex Noren in the anchor match. He was 1 up on the 18th hole when DeChambeau stuffed his approach to 2 feet for a conceded birdie. Noren hit the final shot in this Ryder Cup, a 40-foot birdie putt to win the match, and the stoic Swede hurled his cap.
Europe won, 17 1/2-10 1/2, the most lopsided victory since consecutive 18 1/2-9 1/2 victories by Europe more than a decade ago when the Americans looked utterly lost. They formed a Ryder Cup Task Force, spearheaded by Mickelson, after the 2014 loss. The idea was to build continuity and momentum, and it seemed to work when they won at Hazeltine in 2016.
Mickelson was desperate to make this team because the 48-year-old saw it as his last chance to win a Ryder Cup on European soil. He wound up losing both his matches. He started the week by setting a record with his 12th Ryder Cup appearance. He ended it by setting a more dubious Ryder Cup record with 22 losses.
He wasn't alone. Tiger Woods went 0-4, the first time in his eight Ryder Cups that he failed to contribute a single point.
2018 Ryder Cup Betting Preview
The Ryder Cup is one of the best golfing events to watch every two years as the excitement is palpable and it's refreshing to see the best players in the world show so much pride in playing for something else other than big time money. That tended to be the knock on the US side for years as they were never really a “team” and were just a bunch of individual, big money hunters, but the US was able to squash that narrative with their impressive win in 2016 and now look to defend that crown on foreign soil.
But betting on which side will end up hoisting the trophy on Sunday afternoon isn't the only way to wager on this contest as there are plenty of different prop bets as well. I'll get to plenty of prop plays in a minute, but interestingly enough, with the entire golf world on a high after Tiger Woods got back into the winner's circle at the Tour Championship, it's interesting to point out that the nationality of the Tour Championship winner (typically the week before the Ryder Cup) in a Ryder Cup year has not seen his country claim the Ryder Cup since the inception of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
In 2016 it was Irishman Rory McIlroy who won the Tour Championship (USA won Ryder Cup), while the 2014, 2012, and 2010 Tour Championship's were all won by Americans (Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk) and the Ryder Cup's in those years were all won by Team Europe.
The only real outlier here was back in 2008 when Colombian Camillo Villegas won the Tour Championship, but it wasn't an American, and that was the last time the US team won the Ryder Cup prior to 2016. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues here, and with Team Europe (+135) being the slight home underdog , it may not be a bad idea to ride that trend at those plus-money odds.
But this piece is all about various prop bets and there are plenty of them to get to, so let's get on with it and hopefully we can add some units to our bankroll by Sunday night.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Prop Bets – Day 1
Day 1 Winner: Team Europe (+125)
Day 1 Fourballs Winner: Team Europe (+160)
Day 1 Foursomes Winner: Team Europe (+160)
These three plays are extremely correlated and there is quite a bit of history on Europe's side. To start, the host team has held the lead after Day 1 in five of the last six Ryder Cups, with the lone one not to see that happen coming in 2010 when weather delays forced Day 1 to be stretched out over Friday and Saturday. We've seen numerous times that a Day 1 lead doesn't always mean a Ryder Cup win at the end, but home field advantage has tended to mean something early on and with Europe being the underdog in this scenario it's tough not to see the value here.
Obviously if Europe is to lead after the first day they are going to have to win at least one of Friday's sessions. Since both of them are priced the same at +160, even a split there becomes profitable, regardless of how each Captain decides to send out their respective rosters. Some bettors may prefer to see the pairings/matchups before making this wager and rightfully so, but I've got no problem taking a leap of faith that European Captain Thomas Bjorn has a good handle on his guys and will send out a quality Day 1 roster regardless.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Player Props - Points
Henrik Stenson Under 2.5 points (-175)
Rickie Fowler Under 2.5 points (-165)
Alex Noren Over 1.5 points (+150)
The firs two plays are rather chalky by backing Stenson and Fowler to not have great events, but both have struggled with injuries on Tour this year and haven't played anywhere near their high standards of late. Rickie Fowler appeared to be over the hump with his torso injury after a strong weekend at the BMW Championship and a great opening round at the Tour Championship, but he fell off a cliff after that and you've really got to be wondering about his health affecting just how effective he could be here. He's got a career 2-4-5 SU record in three previous Ryder Cups and has never earned more than two points in any of those previous three outings.
Stenson is similar in that he's played in the Ryder Cup four times in the past and only eclipsed this number once (2014). Stenson was in much better form then than he's showed in 2018 though, and while he was a Captain's pick for his experience and veteran leadership, Bjorn can't ignore current form and potential health concerns with Stenson, and probably can't rely on him to be a consistent performer through the entire weekend.
Conversely, Alex Noren has had a solid campaign on both the PGA and Euro Tours this year and while he's a rookie, his number is a full point lower here and still getting plus-money on the 'over'. Not only that, Noren won the HNA Open de France at this very course earlier this summer, and that's tough to ignore here. He may be a rookie, but course history and good vibes at this venue should work in his favor this week, and I do like him to succeed with at least two points for Team Europe.
Odds per - Sportsbetting.ag
Player Props – Top Euro Rookie
Alex Noren (+450)
This play goes hand-in-hand with the one above as Noren has to feel very comfortable at this course having won here back in late June. He's obviously not the favorite to claim this bet at +450 and it was a tough pick between him and Jon Rahm (+185) considering Rahm finished T5 in that same tournament, but it's tough to turn down the +450 price. Of the other three guys involved in this wager, Tommy Fleetwood (+200) and Thorbjorn Olesen (+600) both missed the Cut here back in late June, while Tyrrell Hatton (+600) came in with a T16.
Again, this may come down to just how much playing time Thomas Bjorn gives these guys the first two days, but Noren shouldn't be left in the clubhouse as much as say Olesen or Hatton will be if you ask me, as the steady Swede could prove to be Team Europe's unsung hero if they end up reclaiming this title. At these odds, he's definitely worth the risk.
42nd Ryder Cup matches
Date: Sept. 28-30.
How to watch: Television (all times EDT): Friday, 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. (Golf Channel), 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. (NBC).
Where: Le Golf National will play at 7,183 yards as a par 71. It was designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin. Located southwest of central Paris, it has hosted the French Open 26 times.
Format: Four matches of fourballs (better ball) and foursomes (alternate shot) on Friday and Saturday, 12 singles matches on Sunday.
Points: The United States needs 14 points to retain the cup. Europe needs 14+ points to win the cup.
Series: United States leads 26-13-2.
Last time: In the first Ryder Cup since U.S. players had a stronger voice in the structure of its team, the American won 17-11 at Hazeltine for their biggest Ryder Cup rout since 1981. For the first time since 1975, every American player contributed a point. Patrick Reed led the Americans with a 3-1-1 record, including a leadoff singles victory over Rory McIlroy.
Captains: Jim Furyk (United States), Thomas Bjorn (Europe).
Tiger Tales: Tiger Woods, a vice-captain in 2016, is playing for the first time since 2012. He has not won a Ryder Cup match since singles at Wales in 2010.
Key statistic: The Americans have not won the Ryder Cup away from home since 1993.
Noteworthy: Phil Mickelson sets a Ryder Cup record by competing for the 12th time. He has had 55 teammates and 15 partners in his Ryder Cup career.
Quoteworthy: ''We wanted to have a winning record in 10 Ryder Cups over 20 years. That math is pretty simple. You have to win on the road. Eventually, we're going to have to do that.'' - U.S. captain Jim Furyk.
RYDER CUP '18
A look at the 12 American players
The United States team for the 42nd Ryder Cup matches on Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National in France. Players are listed in the order they made the team.
World ranking: 2
Ryder Cup teams: 2016
Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0
Ryder Cup partners: Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson.
Ryder Cup moment: Came within inches of holing out with a wedge on the first hole he played in a Ryder Cup.
Career victories: 7
Majors: U.S. Open (2017, 2018), PGA Championship (2018)
Outlook: Three-time major champion, including back-to-back U.S. Opens and a record performance at the PGA Championship, is enough to get anyone's attention. He also went 3-1 in his Ryder Cup debut and tends to play his best golf in the biggest events. He's familiar with Le Golf National from his time on the European Tour.
World ranking: 3
Ryder Cup teams: 2010, 2012, 2016
Ryder Cup record: 6-5-0
Ryder Cup partners: Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka.
Ryder Cup moment: After losing all three team matches in debut at Celtic Manor, had the shortest singles match in beating Martin Kaymer, who a month earlier won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in a playoff that Johnson famously missed because of grounding his club in a bunker on the last hole.
Career victories: 19.
Majors: U.S. Open (2016).
Outlook: One of the most dominant figures in golf but has a cold putter that's kept a very good year from being a great one. His power might be negated at Le Golf National. Key will be finding the right putting stroke. Formed an intimidating partnership with Brooks Koepka at the Presidents Cup.
World ranking: 4
Ryder Cup teams: Rookie
Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0
Ryder Cup partners: To be determined.
Ryder Cup moment: High-fiving Phil Mickelson at Valhalla in 2008 during U.S. victory that Thomas attended as a 15-year-old when his father was on the PGA of America board.
Career victories: 9
Majors: PGA Championship (2017)
Outlook: Made his team debut at the Presidents Cup, and much like Jordan Spieth, now has to learn by experience that Ryder Cup intensity on the road is another matter. He was the only American on the team who played the French Open this summer at Le Golf National.
World ranking: 14
Ryder Cup teams: 2014, 2016
Ryder Cup record: 6-1-2
Ryder Cup partners: Jordan Spieth
Ryder Cup moment: Going toe-to-toe, scream-for-scream with Rory McIlroy in a singles victory at Hazeltine
Career victories: 6
Majors: Masters (2018)
Outlook: In two Ryder Cups has been dubbed ''Captain America'' because of his performance at Gleneagles and Hazeltine. Might not be the best American, but will have as big of a target on his back as anyone. He shushed the crowd in Scotland as a rookie and showed early that he doesn't back down from anything.
World ranking: 13
Ryder Cup teams: 2010, 2012, 2014
Ryder Cup record: 3-8-0
Ryder Cup partners: Jeff Overton, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar.
Ryder Cup moment: Setting a trend at Medinah by asking the crowd for more noise as he was teeing off in 2012.
Career victories: 13
Majors: Masters (2012, 2014)
Outlook: Has only one top 10 over the last three months and doesn't have a great Ryder Cup history in the three times he played, including a 0-3 mark at Gleneagles in the last one he played. Worse yet, had a rough time at the French Open in 2011 when he complained about the crowds and didn't know the names of historic places, such as the museum that starts with an ''L'' (Louvre). Crowd is sure to remind him.
World ranking: 10
Ryder Cup teams: 2014, 2016
Ryder Cup record: 4-3-2
Ryder Cup partners: Patrick Reed
Ryder Cup moment: Still trying to win his first singles match.
Career victories: 14
Majors: Masters (2015), U.S. Open (2015), British Open (2017).
Outlook: Spieth was the only American player who didn't qualify for the Tour Championship and endured his worst year in five seasons as a pro. He hasn't won since the British Open last year and struggled with his putting most of the year. It might help to have some of the attention on other players.
World ranking: 9
Ryder Cup teams: 2010, 2014, 2016
Ryder Cup record: 2-4-5
Ryder Cup partners: Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker.
Ryder Cup moment: Coming back from 4 down with four holes to play to earn a halve with Edoardo Molinari at Celtic Manor in 2010.
Career victories: 8
Outlook: Fowler hasn't won this year and his Ryder Cup record is hard to figure out. He didn't earn his first victory until paired with Phil Mickelson at Hazeltine, and then he beat Justin Rose in singles at the end of the week. He's a great team player, though, and paired well with Justin Thomas in the Presidents Cup.
World ranking: 17
Ryder Cup teams: 2012, 2014
Ryder Cup record: 2-3-1
Ryder Cup partners: Bubba Watson.
Ryder Cup moment: Hitting a shank in Sunday singles against Ian Poulter at Medinah and still taking him 18 holes in a loss.
Career victories: 5
Majors: U.S. Open (2012).
Outlook: Simpson was the final captain's pick in 2014 when he lobbied Tom Watson, and then played only twice. He lost badly in his one team match and halved with Ian Poulter. Simpson is playing like he has something to prove, won The Players Championship in a landslide and has been on good form in recent months.
World ranking: 8
Ryder Cup teams: Rookie
Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0
Ryder Cup partners: To be determined.
Ryder Cup moment: Going to the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine as a spectator to see what it was like.
Career victories: 4
Outlook: Has a reputation as the ''Mad Scientist,'' but he has figured something out by winning three times this year, all against some of the strongest fields. Tiger Woods has taken him under his wing and is likely to play with DeChambeau. He at least has Walker Cup experience, going 2-0-1 in 2015 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
World ranking: 25
Ryder Cup teams: 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016.
Ryder Cup record: 18-20-7
Ryder Cup partners: Corey Pavin, Jay Haas, Davis Love III, Tom Lehman, David Duval, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Tiger Woods, Chris DiMarco, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar.
Ryder Cup moment: In a match featuring 19 birdies, with both players posting 63 in medal play, earning a halve with Sergio Garcia at Hazeltine.
Career victories: 46
Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), British Open (2013), PGA Championship (2005).
Outlook: Sets a Ryder Cup record by playing for the 12th time, and this might be the greatest testament to his career. This was the first time, at 48, that he required a captain's pick. Won a World Golf Championship this year to end nearly five years without a victory. Usually delivers at team events, and value can't be overstated in the team room.
World ranking: 21
Ryder Cup teams: 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012.
Ryder Cup record: 13-17-3
Ryder Cup partners: Mark O'Meara, Justin Leonard, Tom Lehman, David Duval, Steve Pate, Paul Azinger, Mark Calcavecchia, Davis Love III, Chris Riley, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker.
Ryder Cup moment: The look on his face when Mickelson hit a tee shot next to a fence in the second losing match of their partnership in 2004 at Oakland Hills.
Career victories: 90
Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002, 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).
Outlook: Woods was appointed a vice captain in February when he was coming off back surgery and finished 11th in the standings, making him an easy choice as a pick. He has rarely shined in the Ryder Cup, but his presence is big. He was a vice captain in the last two U.S. team events and will be looked upon as one of the leaders on the team.
World ranking: 16
Ryder Cup teams: Rookie
Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0
Ryder Cup partners: To be determined.
Ryder Cup moment: Being invited on a scouting trip to Le Golf National this summer.
Career victories: 1
Outlook: His year began with a grotesque ankle injury during the Par 3 Tournament at the Masters, and he still tied for 10th. Played some of his best golf in the biggest events, and his confidence is soaring for a guy with only one PGA Tour victory. Set the PGA Championship record with 10 birdies in one round.
Woods returns to Ryder Cup as a wild card
For Woods, it's the culmination of a comeback that began in January after a fourth surgery on his lower back. For Mickelson, more than setting a record by playing his 12th Ryder Cup, the 48-year-old gets what he believes will be his last chance to capture that gold trophy away from home.
U.S. captain Jim Furyk added them to his team Monday evening as wild-card selections, along with Bryson DeChambeau.
Woods agreed to be a vice-captain in late February, and he set a goal to be in Paris on Sept. 28-30 as a player.
Woods: "It's incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and now to have accomplished a goal like that. To be a part of this team, and now to be a player is just ... beyond special."
Mickelson had qualified for every team since 1995, a streak that ended this year when he finished No. 10 in the standings. His 12th appearance breaks the Ryder Cup record held by Nick Faldo.
Mickelson has only been on three winning teams - at Brookline in 1999, Valhalla in 2008 and two years ago at Hazeltine. His last time overseas was at Gleneagles, where he infamously closed out a losing press conference by questioning captain Tom Watson and the direction the PGA of America was taking the U.S. team.
That led to sweeping changes in the U.S. structure, mainly by giving players a stronger voice.
Mickelson: "This is mostly likely my last chance to go over to Europe and to be a part of a winning U.S. team in Europe. We haven't done that in 25 years. I set out this year on really a strong commitment and journey to get on the team. I got off to a great start this year. It's been a really good year, and although I fell just shy of making it on points, it feels great to be a part of this team and serve this team in any way I can."
Woods and Mickelson were logical choices. Woods briefly had the lead Sunday in the British Open until he tied for sixth, and he shot a career-best final round of 64 to finish second in the PGA Championship. Mickelson won another World Golf Championship in March, though he hasn't seriously contended since then.
DeChambeau narrowly missed out on one of the eight automatic spots by missing the cut at the PGA Championship, and the 24-year-old Californian knew he had to show Furyk some form in the three weeks before the picks were announced.
He won the first FedEx Cup playoff event by four shots. He won the next FedEx Cup playoff event by two shots.
Tony Finau is believed to be the leading candidate for 12th and final spot. Furyk invited him as part of a small group that played Le Golf National on the weekend before the British Open. Finau tied a PGA Championship record with 10 birdies in the second round while playing with Furyk.
During the FedEx Cup playoffs, he was runner-up at one event and tied for fourth at the other.
European captain Thomas Bjorn announces his wild-card selections on Wednesday, with Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey among the likely picks. Still to be determined was whether former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, gets a nod.
The eight Americans who qualified on their own were Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed. Add Woods and Mickelson, and that gives the U.S. team a lineup that has combined for 31 majors.
That doesn't mean as much in foursomes and fourballs, on a European course before the singing and chanting of Europeans fans.
"We're heading over into foreign soil," Furyk said. "It's going to be an interesting crowd. They are boisterous, I have a lot of respect for them and we are looking for players that we thought would handle that situation well and would thrive, love the challenge. And naming these three players, that's what we've done."
Woods will no longer be a vice-captain, though Furyk said he would continue to lean on his advice. Woods was an assistant at Hazeltine and at the Presidents Cup last fall at Liberty National in a U.S. route.
Furyk picked former world No. 1 David Duval to replace Woods. Furyk also said Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar would fill out his lineup of vice-captains, joining Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.
Here is a rundown of how both teams are coming together for the matches that will be played Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National outside of Paris.
Automatic qualifiers: Eight are decided following the PGA Championship on Aug. 12.
How points are earned: Players get 1 point for every $1,000 earned this week; next week it's 1.5 points for every $1,000 earned, with the winner getting 2 points for every $1,000 earned.
At-large picks: Captain Jim Furyk has four; the first three will be announced Sept 4., the day after the conclusion of the Dell Technologies Championship. The final pick will come following the BMW Championship.
The PGA of America announced on Monday that Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed have clinched spots on the team. Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth hold down the next three spots and are all but certain of qualifying. Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson occupy the seventh and eighth automatic positions, with Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson in the ninth and 10th positions.
Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods are among a big pool of players that Furyk will consider to round out his team, with most expecting Mickelson and Woods to get picked.
That means DeChambeau, Kuchar, Schauffele, Kisner, Finau, Johnson and perhaps someone who gets hot over the next few weeks would be in the mix for two spots.
Things will get interesting if Simpson falls out of the top eight. He won the Players Championship, has been top 20 in all three majors including a tie for 10th at the U.S. Open and is ranked 20th in the world.
But in Ryder Cup play, Simpson -- who partnered with Watson in 2012 and 2014 -- is a pedestrian 2-3-1, has not won a singles match and was benched at Gleneagles in his last appearance. Watson, for that matter, is 3-8 in the Ryder Cup and has never won a foursomes or singles match in the competition.
If Simpson makes the team, you can obviously put him with Watson in a best-ball match and hope for the best in singles. But if he fails to make it, Furyk has plenty of options with veterans Kuchar and Zach Johnson along with Schauffele, Finau and Kisner.
Automatic qualifiers: Eight are decided on Sept. 2 following the Made in Denmark European Tour event. Four players come from the European points list, the other four from a world list.
How points are earned: For the European points list, players earn points based on Euros earned at European Tour events, with more points awarded since May. For the world list, world ranking points are compiled for any worldwide event except those going up against a European Tour Rolex Series tournament, with more points awarded since May.
At-large picks: Captain Thomas Bjorn has four and will make them on Sept. 10.
Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood lead the way in the European points list, which is comprised of results from European Tour events only. Those players are then excluded from the world list, with the top four at this time Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren and Paul Casey.
It is a formidable group of players, with only Hatton ranked outside of the top 15 in the world -- and he is 24th.
Among those not qualified are the likes of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Knox, Henrik Stenson, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thorbjorn Olesen.
Although Garcia is having a poor year -- he's missed the cut in all three major championships -- it is hard to imagine him being bypassed. Same with Poulter -- who won the Houston Open earlier this year -- and Stenson.
That would leave just one spot for the likes of Oleson, Cabrera Bello, Knox and Fitzpatrick, and it's worth noting that Cabrera Bello -- who along with Fitzpatrick played for the Europeans at Hazeltine two years ago -- is the highest ranked among them.
How strong are the two teams?
If you go by the rough outline put forth, all but two players would be ranked among the world's top 30 -- with Woods the lowest at No. 50
Ryder Cup Rosters
Captain: Jim Furyk
Captain's pick TBA
Captain: Thomas Bjorn
c-Paul Casey, England
Tommy Fleetwood, England
c-Sergio Garcia, Spain
Tyrrell Hatton, England
Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland
Francesco Molinari, Italy
Alex Noren, Sweden
c-Ian Poulter, England
Thorbjorn Olesen, Denmark
Jon Rahm, Spain
Justin Rose, England
c-Henrik Stenson, Sweden
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