Ryder Cup Odds Favor United States Over Europe in Golf’s Marquee Team Event

Posted on: September 28, 2016, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2016, 12:01h.

Ryder Cup odds Rory McIlroy
Fresh off winning the $10 million FedEx Cup, Rory McIlroy is ready to overcome the Ryder Cup odds favoring Team USA over his European squad. (Image: Getty Images/golfweek.com)

The Ryder Cup odds in Las Vegas say the smart money is on Team USA. That’s perhaps surprising to some sports fans, considering Team Europe has won eight of the last ten competitions.

The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf event that brings together the best players from the PGA Tour to square off against the best the European Tour has to offer. The PGA Tour is the dominant worldwide tour, but players from Europe represent their home countries in the game’s marquee team rivalry.

The 2016 tournament is being held in the states at Minnesota’s Hazeltine National Golf Club. The three-day event kicks off on Friday, September 30, and concludes on Sunday.

Led by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Phil Mickelson, with Davis Love III serving as captain, the US is favored at the Westgate SuperBook in Vegas at -175. Europe is listed at +190, and a tie comes in at +1200.

Paddy Power has the US at 4/7, and Bovada has them at -185.

In the unlikely event of a tie, Europe would retain the Ryder Cup. McIlroy and Henrik Stenson, with Darren Clarke in the captain’s chair, lead Europe.

Love feels confident of his squad’s ability. In a radio interview last week, the 21-time PGA Tour winner said the US team was the “best maybe ever assembled.”

Fighting Words

Week in and week out, golfers play for themselves. The game is an individual sport of course, but for three days every two years the game’s biggest stars battle for their homelands together.

Northern Ireland superstar Rory McIlroy, the game’s third-ranked player in the world, quickly responded to Love’s comments. “I don’t think it’s hard for us to find motivation,” McIlroy explained. “The comments that are made in the media by the US team or by the captain, that gives us so much motivation.”

On paper, the US seems to have the stronger roster. A comparison of world rankings per position highlights the strength discrepancies

Team US (world ranking) vs. Team Europe

Dustin Johnson (2) — Rory McIlroy (3)

Jordan Spieth (4) — Henrik Stenson (5)

Patrick Reed (8) — Danny Willett (10)

Rickie Fowler (9) — Justin Rose (11)

Phil Mickelson (15) — Sergio Garcia (12)

Jimmy Walker (16) — Rafael Cabrera-Bello (30)

Matt Kuchar (17) — Chris Wood (32)

JB Holmes (21) — Thomas Pieters (42)

Brooks Koepka (22) — Matthew Fitzpatrick (44)

Brandt Snedeker (23) — Lee Westwood (46)

Zach Johnson (28) — Martin Kaymer (48)

Ryan Moore (31) — Andy Sullivan (50) 

While the competition will certainly be fierce, the looming recent loss of Arnold Palmer will also be felt on both sides.

Tiger’s Return

Though he won’t be playing, Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive golf at the Ryder Cup in a vice-captain’s role. Woods last played on the PGA Tour in August of 2015, and has since undergone two back surgeries and extensive physical rehab.

Golf’s second all-time major winner, Woods was once heavily expected to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. But with four more just to tie, today that seems unlikely.

Paddy Power lists Woods of winning a major in 2017 at 25/1. The golf great turns 41-years-old on December 30.