The United States will look to win the Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time since 1993, as the biennial competition begins Friday at Le Golf National in the suburbs of Paris, France.
Team USA enters the event as a slight favorite, with William Hill giving the Americans 10/11 odds of winning, while Team Europe is a 6/5 underdog.
Captains Announce Four-Ball Lineups
On Thursday, captains Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn announced their pairings for the first four-ball session on Friday, providing golf fans with a bevy of intriguing matchups to look forward to at the start of the weekend.
The first match will tee off at 2:10 am Eastern time in the United States, making it difficult for fans to enjoy the morning action from France. But from the first match, which sees Justin Rose and Jon Rahm team up for Europe against Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka, to the fourth match of the session, which will pair up Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed against Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering action.
“It’s going to be fun for both of us,” Woods told reporters about playing with Reed. “We’ve been looking forward to teaming up and doing something like this together. We finally have our opportunity to go against two great competitors.”
Woods will be a major focus for many viewers, especially after the 42-year-old won the Tour Championship last week, his first PGA Tour victory in more than five years. But it is the litany of other top players that may make this the strongest Ryder Cup of all time.
Both Ryder Cup Squads Deep, Talented
For the first time ever, each of the top ten players on the World Golf Ranking are part of the competition: six of them playing for the United States, and four for Europe. But while the incredible depth of talent is impressive, players say the true strength of these teams is about a lot more than their level of play.
“I think that the strength of Europe has been we all get behind one another, and even whatever differences we may have, we put them to the side for this week,” Rory McIlroy told reporters on Tuesday. “And that’s the way we try to be.”
McIlroy also said that a similar commitment to team unity has helped the United States improve their Ryder Cup teams in recent years. The United States is the defending champion, winning the 2016 Ryder Cup by a 17-11 score after three consecutive European victories.
“The American team has become more cohesive in the last few years, and I think that’s to do with the younger guys coming on board and really embracing the Ryder Cup and making it a very important part of their careers,” said McIlroy.
The Ryder Cup offers a wide range of betting options for gamblers. Along with the result and the final score, another popular market for bettors is predicting who will earn the most points for each side throughout the competition.
For the Americans, Dustin Johnson (5/1) and Justin Thomas (5/1) are favored to do the most damage, with Brooks Koepka (11/2), Jordan Spieth (6/1) and Woods (13/2) also expected to contribute heavily to their team. Meanwhile, McIlroy (9/2) and Justin Rose (9/2) are seen as the most likely leaders for the European squad.