London, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/20/2012 -- Europe have a solid record against their American counterparts ever since 1979 when the GB and Ireland team was extended to include continental Europe. That has made the Ryder Cup a much more competitive affair from the days when America used to dominate.
The three-day event captures the public imagination for a number of reasons. Despite being one of the biggest tournaments in golf it offers no prize purse, even though its value as a commercial venture is huge for sponsors and the local economy of where the competition is held. Billed as an ‘us against them’ battle of nerves and, against a backdrop of incredible history, it is a unique spectacle in world sport.
Of the 16 renewals held since 1979, Europe have won eight and drawn one. However, the Europeans have only twice won on American soil in that period and the brilliant record of the USA at home is why they are marginal favourites with a spread of 13.5 – 15 on Sporting Index. Apart from a crushing European 18.5 – 9.5 win at Oakland Hills in 2004, this year’s visitors have never scored more than 13.5 points in the USA.
From a trends perspective there is a wealth of information to help spread bettors. Every two years pundits and commentators repeat statements that become accepted as facts. Do these have any basis? Tiger Woods is frequently portrayed as having a terrible record in the Ryder Cup and the fact he once said he’d rather win money than the Cup has often been used as a stick to beat him with. While his overall record of 13-14-2 is hardly impressive – likewise an even worse record of only being on the winning team once in six Ryder Cup attempts – he has won six of his last nine ties. Since 1997, of all the major winners competing in the tournament, only three times has a major winner scored 3 points – Woods twice and Paul Lawrie. This suggests the Tiger is warming more to the format as he gets older and that recent run is right up there with the best of them.
Europe always win the foursomes and fourballs, but the Americans always win the singles is another oft-repeated statement. But it is right. Europe have a far superior record in the fourballs, 68.5 – 42.5, and the foursomes, 66.5 – 45.5. America dominate the singles and have won ten of the last 15 singles sessions.
World number three Luke Donald has an impeccable record in foursomes, having won all six he has taken part in. He has won eight of his 11 Ryder Cup matches, taking nine out of a possible 11 points. Lee Westwood has won six of his seven encounters against Tiger Woods. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson lost the most matches at the 2010 Ryder Cup with three each and Francesco Molinari and Jim Furyk earned the fewest points in the 2010 edition with ½ a point each. All of those players will line up again next week.
Typically, as they are picked on current form, wildcards have a brilliant record. The top/joint-top point’s scorer on the European side for the last three Ryder Cups has been a wildcard, while a captain's pick also top scored for the US in the last two Ryder Cups.
Interestingly, the six Ryder Cups Europe have won since 1995 have all been under non-English captains -Bernard Gallacher, Seve Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie - while the two they have lost have been under English skippers - Mark James & Nick Faldo. Spaniard José María Olazábal will hope to extend that run.
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