The Ryder Cup Is Up For Grabs
As if Scotland has not had enough excitement in the last few months, this weekend the Ryder Cup is rolling into town and there is every suggestion that this is going to be something to grab the attention as well. The statistics indicate that Europe are likely to be the winners, but that doesn’t really count for anything.
They may have clinched 7 of the last 9 tournaments and the Americans may not have triumphed on this side of the Atlantic for over 20 years but the last two Ryder Cups have been thrilling affairs. In 2010, a written-off American side nearly caused a big shock at the Celtic Manor and of course, 2012 was the year that has been recorded as the Miracle at Medinah. Hardly anyone gave Europe a prayer of winning when they were 10-4 down but we all know what happened next. It would be unfair to look ahead to this year’s Ryder Cup with the hope of something similar happening but if we have paid any attention in recent times it is that it extremely difficult to confidently predict what will happen at the Ryder Cup.
The margins of victory have been tight
Just under half of the 11 previous cups have been clinched by a single point margin. There isn’t much between the two sides, with most bookmakers being cautious and giving Europe the nod because of home advantage. There is also the fact that most punters this side of the Atlantic will be placing money on the European side to win, which will also impact on the odds that are offered.
With respect to the matchplay element, the records of Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, both in the high 60s for win percentage (for a lot of games) stand out as being impressive.
To win a tournament like the Ryder Cup, you need your big players to play well and going by the formbook, these are likely to be two key players for the European team. For the Americans, the records of Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan, again with both in the highs 60s after a lot of games, indicates that these are the players that the American side will be looking towards with the hope of finding a leader or inspiration.
Ian Poulter is a Ryder Cup legend
Of course, the Ryder Cup brings its own unique sense of pressure and tension, so it may be that the individual record of players in the tournament is worth looking at. Ian Poulter is a legend of the Ryder Cup with an 80% record. Keegan Bradley for the US, with 75%, and Justin Rose for Europe with 67% have a lot to be proud of as well but it is the form of Poulter that stands out. You may ask if the player can keep coming up with the goods at this event but there is nothing to suggest that he will let his team-mates down this weekend.
While home advantage may well be an advantage for the European side, there is also the fact that the European team is likely to be fresher. This isn’t to do with where the tournament is being held, most top golfers are accustomed to the travel pressure associated with the sport but the US side, to a man, has played in more tournaments over the last few months. Since the US Open, which took place in June, the European team has, on average, played a whole tournament less. In what is sure to be a tight affair, aspects like this could be the aspect that makes a difference in the final shakedown.
Although there are plenty of individual arguments that side with the European team winning again, one factor that has been constant with the 5 previous Ryder Cups is the fact that the winning team has had the best average ranking in the world. For 2014 at Gleneagles, this team is the US team and it may be that the slight underdogs will shock the home crowd and take the Ryder Cup glory back to America. There is not a lot between the two teams and any number of variables could come into play, making it extremely difficult to pick a winner. Lovers of value may find that this is all the encouragement they need to support the American side.