Predicting the Top Pointscorer in the Ryder Cup could be said to work in the opposite of trying to find the winner of a strokeplay tournament. While in the strokeplay format of the game massive prices can regularly become of the order of the day as one offs (even though they are incredibly are at the highest level) can come thanks to four, or even just one day of spot on golf. The Ryder Cup’s selective process – no player is outside the top 44 in the world – means we are picking only the best of the best here, and the process is narrowed down even further by the format.
In six Ryder Cups this century, all 12 top scorer markets were won by players that missed no more than one round, with 10 playing the maximum. At this extremely late time of writing, we have the advantage of knowing who is playing in the morning’s fourballs, as below.
Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson v Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson
Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer v Rickie Fowler & Jimmy Walker
Stephen Gallacher & Ian Poulter v Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed
Sergio Garcia & Rory McIlroy v Keegan Bradley & Phil Mickelson
Now while playing all the matches isn’t a guarantee of success – even starting here doesn’t mean so – both captains have been open in their intention for a strong start and neither will be afraid to rely upon their leading men to take an early advantage which is not everything but so crucial; If Europe get it then the crowd morale will begin to rise instantly and any early advantage for the USA will bring out the best in a squad that is high on confidence.
Of those playing early, it is obvious that Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy are likely to be kept together and play a full set of matches. There isn’t anything left to say about Rory; His driving power and accuracy has reached perfection not seen since the days of Tiger Woods – a major positive for this wide open course designed by Nickalus – and his approach play, combined with a steely reserve that pulled him through a nailbiting USPGA finale, has seen him take two majors along with his eighth in the Masters.
Garcia has sometimes been known for temperamental issues, but thrives upon the team format of the Ryder Cup, has a wealth of experience upon which he can call with 16 wins and 6 previous tournaments to his name and he has a fine win ratio in foursomes and fourballs, 72% and 68% respectively. It helps that this season he has also been playing superb golf – he was runner up to Rory in the Open and WGC Invitational – and he tuned up well in the Fed Ex.
He’s never played Gleneagles, but ranks ninth for driving distance and is the ideal mix of player required for this course, with fantastic accuracy around the greens being another strongpoint of his, and he boasts several excellent efforts in Britain to his name previously.
They should form a fearsome foursomes combination in particular given their similar gamestyles and both would fancy themselves for a single success, so both should be upto going very close. Consider dutching them for the top honours as far as Europe goes, with Garcia each/way value for the overall market.
The other candidates that make major appeal are Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer. Rose’s victory over Mickleson in the Singles was so important 2 years ago and he has since won a US Open to break the major duck; This year he won the Scottish Open after taking the AT&T National, while he also finished fourth in the Tour Championship. He strikes the ball with prime accuracy and showed his colours with his links game in the summer, and looks sure to get plenty of gametime. He should go well through the tournament for those looking to take on the top 2. Martin Kaymer has plenty of juice in his price and is interesting as a Matchplay finalist in 2011 for those seeking some extra value, while at his best Henrik Stenson should surely aim to go quite high.
Elsewhere, Victor Dubission looks to be a fantastic bet in the Top European Rookie. The young Frenchman has exploded onto the scene this year, winning the Turkish Airlines Open last October before jumping to the top table with aplomb this season.
Ninth at the Open, he was then seventh at the USPGA, both times mixing it with stellar casts in the top 10, but crucially he has also proven his matchday prowess with a runner up finish in the World Matchplay, whee he beat Graeme McDowell, Bubba Watson and Ernie Els on his way to a 23 hole final with Jason Day. The young Frenchman has an exceptional short game that has progressed rapidly over the last 2 years, and should be favourite.
Stephen Gallagher has a well-earned dream chance to play infront of his home crowds on a local course, and that advantage cannot be undestimated. A winner od the Dubai Desert Classic in each of the last two years, he can make a bold showing and crucially he does start today but he is 12 places behind Dubission in the world rankings and doesn’t boast anything like the major, or matchplay, record.
Jamie Donaldson, very much from the same mould, his in a hot streak of form with three top 10’s in his last 4 events – and a top 20 in the USPGA for good measure – but it is debateable whether he should be shorter given what the Frenchman has shown so far.
Justin Rose should also be backed to be the leading Englishman – he is simply in far better shape than Ian Poulter (priced as if he is in form)_ and Lee Westwood (who has much to prove).
1 pt win Rory McIlroy top European Pointscorer (4/1 Paddy Power)
1 pt win Sergio Garcia top European Pointscorer (11/2 Betway)
1 pt win Rory McIlroy top Pointscorer (13/2 Boylesports)
1 pt win Sergio Garcia top Pointscorer (10/1 Corals)
3 pts Victor Dubission top European Rookie (5/2 Sportingbet)
1.5 pts Justin Rose top Englishman (6/4 general)