He’s back! After having not won a Major since the 2008 Open and having recovered from serious back injuries, the golfer with the all-time highest profile is set to grace the greens of Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France this weekend for one of the most eagerly anticipated Ryder Cups of all time. Tiger Woods is in the USA team as a wildcard selection and he will surely be bubbling with confidence after Sunday’s long awaited triumph in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, after coming agonisingly close in The Open and the PGA Championship earlier in the year.
We will assess Tiger Wood’s chances of making a major impact in this year’s Ryder Cup and cast a closer eye at the assembled teams. The betting market is unsurprisingly packed with numerous tempting offers and we will round off by selecting some of the eye-catching betting offers.
But of course, the question on everybody’s mind is can Tiger Woods resurrect the kind of play that made him a household name?
TIGER WOODS: WILL HE MAKE AN IMPACT?
Tiger Woods’ comeback PGA Tour win achieved in Atlanta last Sunday has certainly changed the complexion of this weekend’s Ryder Cup. Now the 14 time Major winner is perhaps under pressure. With two brilliant performances in the PGA and The Open leading up to his Atlanta win, the expectations on Tiger Woods have to be huge. And unlike other tournaments, he cannot hide away. Every player’s shot in this Ryder Cup will be heavily scrutinised, not least Tiger Woods.
Nevertheless, the form is definitely apparent and providing he gets off to a smooth start on Friday, he could be an integral part of this USA line-up. The one big thing in Woods’ favour is the course itself. Le Gold National places favour on those with tee off accuracy and strong approach play and putting. These are the major strengths of Tiger’s game. However, he has a mediocre Ryder Cup record to improve on: 17 losses and 13 wins and 3 halved matches is not exactly in line with his performances in major championships. One thing’s for sure, he has the support and adulation from all of his fellow players on both sides of the Atlantic. 8/1 seems a fair price for Tiger Woods to be the top American player this weekend (Coral, Betfred, Boylesports)
THE EUROPE TEAM
Led by Thomas Bjorn, the Europe team appears versatile but lacking in experience as their line-up includes five rookies. However, I have singled out three players to look out for:
The Italian PGA rank no. 5 is currently playing the best golf in his entire career. The Open Champion has charged up the rankings after his first PGA win in America this year, finishing second in The Italian Open and of course his recent win in the Open, where he saw off the likes of Justin Rose and Rory Mcllroy to claim a stunning victory. Speaking to the Ryder Cup official website, Molinari admits that his current form is considerable but feels that The Ryder Cup is always a level playing field:
"It's different obviously coming in after a season like I've had," he said. "I think I've improved a lot as a player since 2012 and I hope to show that on the course this week.”
"But on the other hand, it doesn't really matter what you've done so far. It's about those three days and the kind of golf that you can produce in those three days. So I'm looking forward to some good prep these next few days and hopefully some good golf at the weekend.”
However, solid form cannot be ignored and William Hill are currently offering a tempting 9/1 for Francesco Molinari to be the top ranked European this weekend.
Paul Casey has well and truly earned his wildcard selection with some great form, having achieved 12 top 20 finishes this year including a victory in the PGA Valspar Championship. He’s had four previous appearances in The Ryder Cup and should account for himself well providing he can remain consistent over the full three days. He’s been known for strong starts but can falter on the final days. 14/1 to be top European with Betfred and Boylesports.
One of the high profile rookies, Tommy Fleetwood has risen considerably in the rankings in the last two years and has a good strike rate on getting onto fairways and greens. Definitely one of the stars of the future and striking up a recent friendship and receiving advice from Pep Guardiola will do him no harm! 2/1 (William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral) seems reasonable odds for him to come up as top European rookie over the three days whilst best overall European is available at 8/1 (Betfair, Betfred).
Tiger Woods is clearly the most talked about player of the entire tournament, however, there are plenty of others in the USA team worthy of a mention. This is a belter of a USA team, with plenty of players in peak form and who as a collective look most likely this year to win their first Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993.
Team USA’s best price as outright winner is 10/11 (Paddy Power, Betfred, Boylesports)
The fact of the matter is that The United States have 11 of the top 20 players in the world, whereas Europe can only boast 6. On paper the tournament looks to weigh heavily in USA’s favour therefore. I’ve picked out the following two players to keep an eye on.
The outspoken current Masters champion is always a fiery weapon to have in your arsenal. Despite criticism of his on and off course behaviour, he has a particular mental strength that will carry him through the tough holes and he responds superbly to pressure and a very powerful hitter. 9/1 with Unibet for top American over the three days.
The current world number one is in scintillating form, having 5 wins and 12 top 10 finishes this year. However, his experience of The Ryder Cup having competed in three previous events has to be highly respected and the 5/1 (William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfair) available as top American for the tournament looks a fair price.
OTHER BETTING OFFERS
- Betfair are offering 50/1 for Europe to win (new customers only, £1 max stake, winnings paid in free bets). Regular customers can also get a top price 13/10 for a Europe win at Betfair.
- Those who are looking to get on the Tiger Woods bandwagon should definitely consider the 3/1 (Coral, Betfred) going about for the American to be top wildcard of the tournament.
- Finally, William Hill are offering something similar to the World Cup (free £5 bets every time outright winner wins) by offering bonuses to combined top scorer bets. Every time your choice wins a match, William Hill will give a free £5 bet.
Best of luck and I hope you enjoy this weekend’s Ryder Cup!