The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held at Le Golf National September 28-30 and all of golf’s best will be on hand as Team United States looks to defend its title against the Team Europe. The US team hasn’t won in Europe since 1993, but this is arguably the best team in US history. The US is -140 to win and Europe is +162 to win per 5Dimes Sportsbook, with a draw at +1250.
Tons of prop bets are available for the Ryder Cup and there will be a lot of matchups posted as the tournament goes along. We’ll start with a look at the course and then take a look at the format, the teams, and some picks to keep in mind along the way.
Le Golf National
Le Golf National is in Guyancourt France, which is just outside of Paris. This course will also be the home of the 2024 Olympics, but it is hosting the Ryder Cup for the first time. This is the home of the Open de France, which could give an advantage to the Europeans, as this is an annual stop on the European Tour calendar.
The Albatros Course is the track in question and it is a lush and beautiful venue for this tournament. The course will play around 7,200 yards for this weekend’s festivities and will challenge the players at every turn. Accuracy is critical here, as the rough is virtually unplayable with lots of hills and valleys and thick grasses. Many of the greens have multiple tiers or large surface areas, so it should come as no surprise that the winning score at the Open de France was just 7-under. Certainly pin placements will be different and there will be some added wrinkles to the course, but this is a feisty track.
Hole 17 and Hole 18 are long par 4s, which should add a lot of drama coming down the stretch. This is a great backdrop for this tournament and will also be stellar for the Olympics in 2024.
This is a match play event with three different types of games. On Friday, players will play in foursome matches in which the teammates will alternate shots. They will also play fourball matches in which the better ball is played. That will also be the format on Saturday. Pairings have not yet been announced for the foursomes or the fourballs.
On Sunday, there are 12 individual matches and that could very well decide the tournament.
Team USA is led by non-playing captain Jim Furyk. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Webb Simpson all made the roster based on points. Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Tony Finau were the captain’s picks. This is the first Ryder Cup for Woods since 2012. Finau, DeChambeau, and Thomas are all Ryder Cup rookies.
Back in 2016, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were paired together throughout. Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson played together in foursomes, but Fowler was kept off of the fourball roster. Mickelson played with Matt Kuchar in the Saturday afternoon fourball. It will be interesting to see how Furyk deploys Woods, who just won the Tour Championship, as well as Finau, who is a real bomber off of the tee.
Normally, pairing two rookies together is a scary proposition, but it will be easy to avoid. We’ll likely see Reed and Spieth stay together and Koepka and Johnson paired together, as the two are close friends. DeChambeau and Woods seems to be a popular guess among golf insiders. Thomas and Fowler seem like a natural fit as well, though Thomas and Spieth are good friends and could end up paired together at some point. That would likely leave something like Finau and Mickelson and then Watson and Simpson.
Here are the Ryder Cup records for Team USA:
The US team features nine of the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, so this team is absolutely loaded.
Team Europe is similarly loaded, with a tremendous mix of young and old. There are five rookies on the European team, but the other seven players have 124 combined matches worth of Ryder Cup experience.
Thomas Bjorn is the captain, with Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, and Henrik Stenson on this year’s team. Noren was the winner at Le Golf National in the Open de France earlier this year.
Molinari is winless in six Ryder Cup matches, but the other six players have a combined record of 61-36-21, led by Poulter with a 12-4-2 record. Rose is 11-6-2 and just won $10 million as the FedEx Cup champion.
Rose and Stenson were together at Hazeltine in 2016. McIlroy and Garcia are the only others that were part of the 2016 team, so there are a lot of fresh faces, including a brand new set of rookies. Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Thomas Pieters were the rookies in 2016.
Expect Rose and Stenson to be together again. A superstar tandem of McIlroy and Rahm seems fairly likely, as both guys play with a lot of intensity and can feed off of each other. We all recall Rory and Reed going head-to-head at Hazeltine in a very spirited affair. Casey and Fleetwood were paired up in the EurAsia Cup, so it seems only logical that they would be together again. Poulter will draw one of the young Englishmen in Hatton or Fleetwood, who won at Le Golf National in 2016.
It would be interesting to see Noren and Stenson paired together as the two Swedish players on the roster. It will also be interesting to see who draws the pairing with Molinari, who had a great season, but has struggled in his two previous Ryder Cup appearances. Molinari, though, is a three-time runner-up in the Open de France.
The pairings look a lot easier to come up with for the Americans.
Here are the Ryder Cup records for Team Europe:
The US *should* win, but it won’t be easy. The Americans are in a tough spot with so many of their Ryder Cup participants in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, so they won’t have a lot of time to get acclimated to the course and the time change, but they have more upside on the roster. The Europeans only have five players in the top 17 of the OWGR, but their players do also play more European Tour events, which feature weaker fields.
The US players just have more experience across the board. Even “rookie” Justin Thomas is quite accomplished at 25 and was in the Presidents Cup last year.
But, the US team hasn’t won in Europe since 1993 and a lot of the key players were not in good form down the stretch. DJ got back on track and finished third at East Lake, but that was his first top five since the Bridgestone. Jordan Spieth only had five top-10 finishes. Thomas didn’t have a top-five finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Patrick Reed hasn’t finished higher than 19th since the US Open.
As far as Americans to bet against, the Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson potential pairing would qualify. Watson is extremely inconsistent and can be very erratic off of the tee. The best part of his game is improvisation, but if he’s the one spraying it into the thick stuff, he can’t scramble because that falls on Simpson. Rickie Fowler has also struggled in this space and on the big stage, as we know because he doesn’t have a major. He didn’t play the fourballs last year and may not be an option this time around either.
Dustin Johnson didn’t play very well down the stretch. Brooks Koepka was great in majors, but he went several weeks without being on the first page of the leaderboard at various points this season.
As far as Europeans to bet against, as great as Rory McIlroy is, he’s 9-6-4 in Ryder Cup matches. Sometimes his emotions can get the best of him and he may be paired with a rookie in Jon Rahm. That is a tandem to be wary of if those two are in fact paired together. Henrik Stenson battled injuries this season, but Justin Rose is plenty capable of carrying him. The pairing with Francesco Molinari will be at a bit of a disadvantage. With five rookies, it is tough to protect all of them, so that is an angle to consider.
In terms of prop bets, Justin Thomas top US scorer at +650 (5Dimes) is one that I like. Thomas is a really terrific player that doesn’t seem to have as many weaknesses as some of the others out there. Patrick Reed is +800, but Captain America really hasn’t played all that well of late. Thomas shot 4-under at Le Golf National earlier this year. He was the only player on the American team to tee it up in that event. The fact that he went over there is a sign of how serious he is taking this tournament and that knowledge of the course should help him.
For top European scorer, it’s hard to argue with Justin Rose, who has been great at the Ryder Cup and also has $10 million dollars from the FedEx Cup, so he’s in great form. He’s +450. If you wanted to gamble a bit, Jon Rahm at +750 seems interesting. He has a good chance to piggyback off of Rory or maybe fellow countryman Sergio Garcia in the team events and played well at Le Golf National earlier this year. The rookies were really good for the Europeans in 2016 at Hazeltine, as Thomas Pieters had the most points overall and went 4-1 in his matches. Rafael Cabrera-Bello went 2-0-1.
There’s a chance that this is also the coming out party for Tommy Fleetwood, who was in terrific form a few months ago, but hasn’t done a whole lot down the stretch. Nobody questions the talent. This could be a Thomas Pieters type of situation for the Europeans and it would be an enormous lift.
Because of the upside and the ceiling of the US roster, they’d be the pick at -140, but this is a tournament best attacked by playing matchups and props.