Team USA will head to Gleneagles for the 2014 Ryder Cup without Tiger Woods in tow and for anyone thinking of having a punt on the Americans this is great news indeed.
The Europeans have since shrunk in the betting to 4/9 from 8/13, while the USA have lengthened to 7/4 from 6/5, but this is actually the reverse of what should have happened as Tiger’s absence is a massive boon to American chances.
The biggest name in golf has cut a shadow of his former self since returning from back surgery, missing the cut at the recent PGA Championship after posting his lowest professional finish of 69th at the British Open.
Even so, given Woods’ iconic status Team USA skipper Tom Watson was still under some pressure to make the 14-time major winner one of his three captain’s picks.
That Tiger has now made that decision for him, is sure to come as a huge relief to the elder statesman who can now concentrate on picking form players instead of a man completely shod of his once untouchable game.
There’s also the feeling that Woods’ superstar status has prevented him from properly integrating as a true Ryder Cup team player over the years.
Some have evened questioned his commitment to turning out for his country before now.
Interestingly, the stats are not favourable either. In seven outings for his country at golf’s most prestigious intercontinental tournament Tiger has only contributed to overall victory once.
Perhaps even more tellingly, though, the last time the former world number one missed the biannual matchplay event was the last time the US claimed the Ryder Cup back in 2008.
Without the misfiring megastar in their ranks, Watson can look to the likes of 2012 cohort Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker or one of the up-and-coming rookies such as Brendon Todd or Chris Kirk.
The nine automatic picks already in for Gleneagles are Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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