RYDER CUP 2016
The 7,600 yards long, Trent Jones designed, Hazeltine GC, the scene of Tony Jacklin’s 1970 US Open win, hosts this event for the first time. The course has been set up with light rough so long hitting will be advantageous. The other key factor lies in accuracy with approach shots to the correct spots on the greens, many of which have steep slopes, undulations or false fronts. With firm and fast greens this track has many of the playing characteristics of Augusta National.
TOP EUROPEAN: Rory McIlroy, 2 pts win 7/2
McIlroy has a strong record in Ryder Cup singles but less good in the pairs matches. So the key will lie in finding him the right partner. Buoyed up by two wins in his last three event McIlroy will be full of confidence and will be the player the Europeans will look to for inspiration this week.
TOP EUROPEAN: Danny Willett, 2 pts win and place 12/1 (1/5 odds 4 places)
Although Willett is a Ryder Cup rookie the indications are that he will cope better than most with the pressures of the event. He is in great form right now, reminiscent of the form he showed in winning at Augusta in April. He showed tremendous mental strength down the stretch there and appears to thrive on pressure. With a few left to right dog-leg holes and greens similar to Augusta this course should suit Willett’ game to a tee so he must be a strong bet to at least place in this category.
TOP US: Patrick Reed, 2 pts win and place 7/1 (1/4 odds 3 places)
Reed was one of the few Americans to show a real stomach for the fight at Gleneagles in his Ryder Cup debut two years ago and impressed greatly in collecting 3.5 points, making him top US points scorer that year. His recent form has been good and if his pairing with Jordan Spieth continues as in 2014 he looks a good bet to excel in this category.
TOP CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN: Martin Kaymer, 1 pt win and place 5/1 (1/3 odds 2 places)
Kaymer has a strong Ryder Cup singles record, less so in pairings. Nevertheless at around 62% winning percentage he is one of the stronger members among the experienced players. In sound recent form as he is Kaymer looks a fair bet in this category.
TOP COMBINED POINTS SCORER: Jordan Spieth, 2 pts win and place 9/1 (1/4 odds 4 places)
Spieth’s pairing with Patrick Reed during his Gleneagles debut in 2014 proved to be a master stroke as the pair went on to win 2.5 out of three points that year. If that pairing is revived this year then Spieth should also thrive on a course with many similarities to an Augusta track he loves so much, making him look somewhat overpriced at these odds.