Considering Europe have emerged triumphant from eight of the past 10 renewals of the Ryder Cup, including two of the last three on American soil, 7/4 about Darren Clarke’s side repeating the feat at Hazeltine seems a little insulting.
Reasons why the hosts hold such dominance in the betting at 4/7 don’t quite stack up, bar the fear of bookies being stung as they were at Valhalla eight years ago, when Paul Azinger’s men went into the event as outsiders before a crushing 16½-11½ victory.
However, the US aren’t quite the united force that swept Nick Faldo’s visitors away, with the claims of Azinger and three-time President’s Cup-winning captain Fred Couples ignored in favour of bringing back Davis Love III, who was in charge for the Meltdown/Miracle at Medinah in 2012.
Five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson’s back is up again, with the world number 15 complaining that conditions at the recent Tour Championship provided poor preparation for the Ryder Cup and mildly criticising Love’s decision to leave his last wild-card pick – Ryan Moore – until the weekend just past.
At least he cares, and there’s an attempt to show Tiger Woods does too by drafting the former phenomenon in as vice-captain. That fact alone should have US backers thinking twice.
Europe’s 12-strong roster may include six debutants in Minnesota, but the rest of Clarke’s team is Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, so not bad all in all.
US Masters champion Danny Willett, now up to 10th in the world, is one of the half dozen making their bow, while Thomas Pieters beat Ryder Cup veterans Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell to a wild-card spot, so Clarke clearly doesn’t see youth and inexperience as a big problem.
With just four wins in the past 33 years, the US Ryder Cup record really is chronic and Love’s side is chock-full of players who lost the last three, including five who played in the barely-believable 8½-3½ defeat in the singles on the last day at Medinah, where they ended up losing 14½-13½ overall.
The fact that the hosts are marginal favourites seems to be based on Europe never winning the Ryder Cup four times on the bounce, which is a crazy reason.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.