Davis Love has selected Ryan Moore to complete his Ryder Cup team which means next Sunday a sportsman with that name could win the Ryder Cup and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe! After Rory McIlroy roared to 10 million dollar glory attention turns to the biennial match between the best golfers from the United States and Europe. The US players generally did not deliver in the final round of the Tour Championship but Moore was beaten by McIlroy in the playoff who secured the FedEx Cup and 10 million dollar bonus.
Justin Rose and Zach Johnson are our picks to be the top scorers from either side and the double pays 146/1 but bookmakers may not accept the bet based on the related contingencies rule. Moore is obviously not the same person as the best jockey in the world but if Moore the rider won the Arc and Moore the golfer was in a winning US team it would be a strange coincidence. I wonder if they have ever met!
In theory the points accumulated by Rose and Johnson are unrelated markets and will pan out independently. This is a bit of a grey area so it’s a question of making the enquiry and placing the bet if it’s allowed. Both players are experienced in the Ryder Cup and proven in major championships. A golfer will probably have to play at least four times to have any chance of top scoring for his team. Four points is usually enough to win this market and five is the most matches that any player can contest.
In the past team captains have picked the best players for the four balls and foursomes which means some team members have not had a chance to play before the singles. The pressure of playing in the Ryder Cup is unique so players are unprepared when they are thrown in at the deep end. Current thinking is to give all 12 players a match before the singles on the final day so they know what to expect from the atmosphere and demands of the competition. Pairing a rookie with an experienced team member is often tried but sometimes if they bond throwing two rookies out together works.
Europe have six rookies paying this week while Moore makes it two freshmen for the US team. British players have more experience of matchplay golf than their American counterparts but nothing compares to the intensity of the Ryder Cup. A great deal of amateur golf at the highest level in Britain is played in the matchplay format which balances somewhat the negatives of having half your team making their debuts in the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods is a non-playing vice-captain and will be the main cheer leader for his country when the Stars and Stripes takes on the flag of the European Union. It is one of the few occasions when sports fans have an affinity with the continent of Europe but the politics are forgotten and it’s very much us against them. Europe have won the last three Ryder Cups and six of the last seven but the US are worthy favourites to win the match at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.
Rose has played in three Ryder Cups and has the best win % in the European team. His game is suited to pairs because he is steady and makes few mistakes. He can churn out the pars while his partner goes for broke and hole winning birdies. He could be paired with Sergio Garcia playing in his eighth match but captain Darren Clarke may want to spread out the experience and send both players out with a rookie. Garcia is no longer the exuberant ‘El Nino’ of old but now one of the elder statesman and sages of Team Europe. Rose has the game and experience to top score for the side.
Zach Johnson is of the same ilk as Rose in being a very steady player but also a solid putter. This is his fifth Ryder Cup and his record is 6 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties from 14 matches. He is only above Ryan Moore in the world rankings of players from the US team. Johnson has won two majors, including the British Open at St Andrews after a playoff last year. If he can hold his nerve to win an Open at the Home of Golf playing in the Ryder Cup is not a problem. Johnson would be an ideal partner for one of the rookies due to his temperament and the reliability of his game when it matters most. He and Justin Rose are our two against the field to top score for the US and Europe.