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Ryder Cup Preview + Free Pick

   by Matt Fargo - 09/30/2010

With the FedEx Cup firmly in the hands of Jim Furyk, we turn our attention to the final big event of the season, the 2010 Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe. Betting the Ryder Cup is a tricky undertaking as the matches are not lined out for us the entire weekend which brings in a lot of guessing on who will be playing and when. The veterans will surely be in every match with the rookies being matched up with some of those as the week progresses.

When looking at pairings, we have to see who has played well together in the past, who compliment each other well or who can have a calming effect on another player. On the United States side, one sure paring is Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker after going 4-0 in last year’s President’s Cup. In the European side, the one sure pairing is fellow countrymen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who are close friends as well. These are likely confirmed by playing together in the practice round Tuesday.

After that, the pairings could go anywhere. For the Americans, Phil Mickelson has played with three current teammates and is a combined 0-3-1 in those matches so the likelihood of him playing with Woods, Hunter Mahan or Furyk is unlikely. He went out with Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson in the practice round, so he is likely going to be put with one of the rookies. Placing veterans with rookies has worked in the past, especially with a veteran like Mickelson who has so much experience.

The Europeans are pretty heavy favorites to regain the Ryder Cup as it is being played on their home soil at Celtic Manor in Newport Wales. While that is a legitimate reason for them being favored, another reason being thrown around is based on talent and that really isn’t the case. A few short months ago, the Europeans were heavier favorites but the injury to Lee Westwood and the omission of Paul Casey has really cut down on any advantage. The latter still makes n o sense as Casey is currently seventh in the OWGR.

Team Europe has four players ranked in the Top Ten as does Team USA. The difference is that the United States holds down four of the top five positions. One of those is obviously Tiger Woods who is playing nowhere near like a number one player and his less that stellar history at the Ryder Cup does not help matters. However, because of the huge disappointing season that Woods had, a big weekend in Wales would more than make up for it. The rest of this team has some pretty hot players as well.

Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson are arguably two of the hottest players in the world right down. Jim Furyk has three top 15 finishes in his past five events including winning THE TOUR Championship last week. Steve Stricker has finished outside of the top 10 just once since the Open Championship while Zach Johnson has finished outside the top 25 just once since the PGA Championship. Three rookies, Fowler, Watson and Jeff Overton are bombers that can take advantage of a soft course in Wales.

Experience plays a role in these matches and the Americans are the more experienced of the two. Team USA has five rookies on the roster while exactly half of Team Europe has never played in a Ryder Cup. For the Americans, current veteran players have competed in 26 Ryder Cups while for the Europeans, current veteran players have competed in 19 Ryder Cups. For the Europeans, only Westwood and Padraig Harrington have competed in more than three while Mickelson, Furyk, Woods and Stewart Cink have done it for the Americans.

Before it is even mentioned, being biased, being a homer or whatever you want to call it is not played into this wager. Betting on one side and rooting for the other in a sporting event, golf especially, has happened before and it will happen again. This one comes down to dissecting the teams and seeing an edge and that edge is aided even more with incredible value. Home turf cannot be downplayed in the Ryder Cup but it is not worth the price being asked for here.

Free Play: 10* Team USA +170

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