Ryder Cup Preview

The top 24 players in Europe and America will go head-to-head in the 42nd Ryder Cup this week, with Le Golf National in Paris the venue.

The United States go into the clash as defending champions and with arguably their strongest team in Ryder Cup history, but Europe have home advantage and have lifted the trophy in six of the last eight meetings.

USA start as strong favourites

European captain Thomas Bjorn admitted in a recent press conference that the visiting American team is “one of the strongest of all time” and that’s why they are the 1.74 favourites.

US captain Jim Furyk has six of the world’s top 10 in his team and another five of their 12-man party are currently inside the top-20.

The shining light going into this match is the resurgent Tiger Woods, who claimed his first tournament victory in eight years last weekend. The 14-time Major winner – who gained a Captain’s pick – looks to be getting back to somewhere near his best form and is 7.50 to be the Top USA Points Scorer.

In stark contrast though, another of the Furyk picks – Phil Mickelson – looks to be struggling for form going into the match.

Lefty ‘ (5.00 to be Top USA Wildcard) has won just one tournament in the last five years, has failed to finish inside the top-eight in his last eight Major Championships and finished last, on +13, at the Tour Championship.

Both Woods and Mickelson have lost more matches than they have won at the Ryder Cup and that is something that hangs over them heading to Paris.

Dustin Johnson has moved back to the top of the world rankings although his Ryder Cup record is mixed. The 34-year-old has won six and lost five of his 11 matches, although Johnson has won all three of his singles matches.

In Brooks Koepka, the US team have a player who has won two Majors this year and he will have fond memories of his first Ryder Cup experience, two years ago. The two-time US Open champion won three of his four matches and is 6.00 to be the USA top points scorer.

There are nine Major winners amongst the American team and you can understand their favourtism, but they will have to end a horrible record away from home soil. The USA have not won the trophy away from home since 1993.

English core look crucial for Europe

Their stats might not look as impressive as the American players on paper, but the European team looks as strong a line-up as they have had since the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012.

Five of them are Major winners and seven of them have enjoyed Ryder Cup success in the past. However, a lot will depend on how the rookies perform on the big stage.

Europe have no fewer than five first-timers in their 12-man team and previous Ryder Cup’s have shown that some will step up to the plate, while others will find the pressure too much.

Jon Rahm is the 2.75 favourite to be Europe’s ‘Top Rookie’ and few would argue with that, considering he has been sat in the world’s top-10 all year and already has five tournament wins at the age of just 23.

There are no fewer than five Englishman in the team and their form over the three days could be crucial to Europe’s chances of winning back the trophy.

Justin Rose (5.50 Europe’s Top Points Scorer), Ian Poulter and Paul Casey all hold plenty of good memories of the event – with all three lifting the trophy at least twice.

The other two Englishmen are experiencing the team tournament for the first time, with Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton two different characters.

Fleetwood showed his capabilities at the top level, when finishing second at this year’s US Open and a string of consistent performances have seen him move up to 12th in the world rankings.

The firey Hatton may not be as well known as Fleetwood, but the 26-year-old has two top-10 finishes in the Majors this year and will have benefitted from outings in the WGC-Match Play event in the last two years.

The concern for many golf punters would be the lack of form shown by captain’s pick Sergio Garcia – who hasn’t won a tournament since his Masters success in 2017 and has missed the cut eight times on the PGA Tour this season.

The Spaniard (8.00 to be Top Wildcard) though has an incredible Ryder Cup record, losing just seven times in his 37 matches and lifting the trophy in five of his eight appearances.

Water feature for Le Golf National

This year’s venue was only created in 1990, but has already become a regular course on the European Tour – hosting the Open de France on 25 occasions.

At 7,331 yards in length, Le Golf National is not one of the longest Ryder Cup venues, but it has more than enough hazards to make it a fierce test for even the world’s best golfers.

Only one of the US team, Justin Thomas, has played a competitive round at the course and that will surely give Europe an edge. Francesco Molinari has a particularly good record at the venue, with the Open champion finishing runner-up at Le Golf National on three separate occasions.

Water will certainly feature, with a water hazard coming into play on 10 of the 18 holes – with the 18th green sporting an island green.



European Team  –  Captain – Thomas Bjorn


                                                                     Appearances                                  World Ranking


Francesco Molinari                                             2                                                              5

Justin Rose                                                           4                                                              2

  Tyrrell Hatton                                                      0                                                             26

Tommy Fleetwood                                             0                                                             12

Jon Rahm                                                             0                                                              8

Rory McIlrory                                                      4                                                              6

Alex Noren                                                          0                                                            18

Thorbjorn Olsen                                                 0                                                            45

Paul Casey                                                           3                                                            21

Sergio Garcia                                                      8                                                            28

Ian Poulter                                                          5                                                            34

 Henrik Stenson                                                   4                                                             24



USA Team   –   Captain – Jim Fuyrk


                                                                           Appearances                                  World Ranking


Brooks Koepka                                                     1                                                         3

Dustin Johnson                                                    3                                                         1

Justin Thomas                                                      0                                                         4

        Patrick Reed                                                          2                                                         15         

 Bubba Watson                                                     3                                                         14

   Jordan Spieth                                                        2                                                         10

Rickie Fowler                                                        3                                                         9

 Webb Simpson                                                     2                                                         16

Bryson DeChambeau                                          0                                                          7

 Phil Mickelson                                                     11                                                        25

Tiger Woods                                                         7                                                         13

 Tony Finau                                                            0                                                         17