Having already previewed the event itself and given some suggestions as to the overall winner, here I will delve a bit deeper into the different markets available.
First Out on Sunday Singles
I’ll start with Europe. At first glance, there seems to be a fool proof way to profit from this. Not since Paul Casey in 2004 has a rookie lead the Sunday line so we can almost immediately discount the six making their first Ryder Cup appearance. We’re then left with Kaymer, Westwood, Stenson, Rose, Garcia and McIlroy.
Long story short, it surely won’t be Westwood – he was picked for experience in the dressing room. Garcia has some bad memories teeing off first – having been blown off the course by Anthony Kim (whatever happened to him?) in 2008 – and Stenson missed most of the Playoffs with a knee problem. For me, Kaymer is too icy and hasn’t quite played well enough throughout this year to really warrant that berth.
We’re therefore down to McIlroy and Rose. Given what he did at East Lake a few days ago, the smart money says Rory (9/2), but hedged with Rose (5/1). If you wanted to really guarantee a profit you could even back Garcia and Stenson too (6/1 and 13/2 respectively).
The analogous USA selection is more difficult but Phil Mickelson’s comments about the US side copying Europe’s strategy – and their own previous failings – might provide a clue in that we can probably expect one of their big names lead the way.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 28, 2016
On current form, that would mean Dustin Johnson (5/1). Given the course length and set up, though, we could just as easily see Patrick Reed (6/1), he had a poor TOUR Championship but was one of the real form players heading into that event. I also like Rickie Fowler’s (8/1) chance as I think we could see Davis Love handing him the opportunity to reap revenge on McIlroy’s 5&4 singles beating of him four years ago.
Top European Rookie
Danny Willett (11/4) is the favourite for this mini-title but there are questions over who he partners up with, with the logical assumption being Lee Westwood (the two are good friends having signed to the same management company that manage Clarke and Matt Fitzpatrick). They probably will play together at some point, but to assume they play all four doubles matches together is naive. Willett’s been in much better form and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pair up with Justin Rose at some point with Westwood’s playing role limited all weekend. Sullivan (4/1) has also been touted as a good pick because of the likelihood of him pairing up with McIlroy but I can’t see them playing together in the foursomes, the Englishman just doesn’t have the form.
Thomas Pieters (4/1) was the last name on the team sheet precisely because of his form. After finishing fourth in the Olympics he came second in the Czech Republic before winning the Made in Denmark. A 57th last week doesn’t tell the whole story – his astonishing final round contained six birdies, an eagle, two bogeys, one triple and a double. When he shot a 62 in Denmark just a few weeks ago Clarke was, conveniently, one of his playing partners.
— Thomas Pieters (@Thomas_Pieters) September 1, 2016
He later lauded the 24 year old Belgian as being a future, multiple major winner and a player of the Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy ilk – that was after labeling the round he’d just witnessed as one of the finest he’s ever seen. The course also sets up well for Pieters, a long, powerful hitter.
Consensus? Willett, with Pieters as an EW back up.
Top European Points Scorer
McIlroy should clean this up at 7/2.
Top US Rookie
This is a straight shoot off between Brooks Koepka (7/10) and Ryan Moore (11/10). The course is really set up to favour someone like Koepka, who has a decent history on long courses.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) August 27, 2016
Whilst Moore can boast of a strong play-off series, he was only really drafted in as a result of his showing in that Sunday scrap with McIlroy. Davis Love meanwhile will have been making plans for Koepka since the automatics were confirmed.
Top USA Wildcard
Odds of 9/4 for Rickie Fowler look quite favourable even when you consider he’s never won a point in the Ryder Cup with a 0-3-5 record. He didn’t make the TOUR Championship so will have had ample time to sharpen his game before this weekend.
Selected Bets – £30
McIlroy first out on Sunday (9/2) – £5
Rose first out on Sunday (5/1) – £1
Reed first out on Sunday (6/1) – £2
Fowler first out on Sunday (8/1) – £1
Willett for top European Rookie (11/4) – £2
Pieters for top European Rookie (4/1) – £2.50 EW
McIlroy for top European points scorer (7/2) – £3
Koepka for top USA Rookie – £9
Fowler for top USA Wildcard – £2