Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:29 23/09/2014
One of the best competitions in any field of sport is held at the Jack Nicklaus designed PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles. It usually plays to about 7,250 yards, and will be set up to help the Europeans play to their strengths, and the supposed weaknesses of the American side. That means that greens will have shaved run offs, to test the chipping prowess, the greens themselves will undoubtably be at a much slower speed than the usual American courses and fairways will be narrower than usual also. It's all supposed to help the Europeans, but it may not be as advantageous as in previous encounters as most of the European team live and play their golf in the USA now. I actually think the weather will be a massive positive to us this week, as it will be quite windy and the Europeans have past knowledge of playing knock down shots and using the wind, whilst some of the Americans have limited experience of a good Scottish breeze.
The betting odds are heavily in favour of the Europeans this week, and whilst we are worthy favourites I will not be having any money on us at the prohibitive odds of 4/6. I think we will win, but I'm wary of the USA team being unified by believing they were robbed in 2012 (and they were!), redemption is a word that is used a lot by the USA, and also that they are playing for Tom Watson. He may just be a motivating force to them that is almost the equal of the legendary Seve to us. Mr Watson is a perfectionist and will not be down to poor captaincy if they lose. Paul McGinley will not do a bad job either, and is served with plenty of experience and advice from his deputies, such as Messrs Torrance and Olazabal.
For a betting perspective I will put up three bets for the top American and European. To be honest it's a hard nut to crack, and I will be looking for some value in my bets. Basically we need to look for players who will most likely play 4 or 5 matches, and that usually means players that are in form, have multiple Ryder Cups under their belts and have delivered in the past. I feel that Sergio Garcia fulfils those requirements, and I think his game will be ideal for Gleneagles. I'm also going to have a little on Graeme McDowell, as he will probably play with Rory, but even if he doesn't he will play lots of matches, and is a fine matchplay exponent.
Rickie Fowler is sure to go well this week, and has such a good solid swing now that I would think Old Tom will play him in the fourballs and foursomes. His putting has definitely progressed this year, and he has become a birdie machine. Probably the most improved player this year, and if the USA are to win, he may just become their talisman.
There are plenty of other questions to be answered this year. Will the USA miss Jason Dufner's charisma, will Tommy Bjorn grow his beard back for that down and out Danish vagrant look he favours? Will Poulter become the darling of the crowds again, and be thoroughly disliked the rest of the year? Will Bubba and Zach have a terrible week, and blame God for being useless and not helping when they needed him? All and more will soon be revealed. Can't wait.
Sergio Garcia 7/1 E/W Top European William Hill
Graeme McDowell 10/1 E/W Top European bet365
Rickie Fowler Top American 11/2 Win Betway