Europe will win the 2010 Ryder Cup in a very close contest
Really, this thing is too close to call, but that’ll never stop me from telling anyone what I think. Everything in my head says that the United States team is stronger and deeper. Something in my gut tells me that the Europeans will find a way to win.
“But Shanks,” you say, “aren’t the Europeans favored by the oddsmakers?”
Yes, they are, because the odds are tilted in favor of the way the bookies figure the betting will go. They don’t stay in business by giving away money.
For instance, the general public looks at Graeme McDowell’s win in the U.S. Open and figures he’ll be great this weekend. Fact is, he hasn’t played up to his own standards since. They look at young Rory McIlroy finishing 3rd in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and figure he’ll be great too. Well, he followed that with poor play in the FedEx Cup playoffs and blew a certain berth in the final event for the big bucks. In fact, the last time these 24 players were playing together was during the WGC at Firestone and the PGA Championship in consecutive weeks last month. The American team amassed a total of fourteen top 20 finishes compared to five for the Euros. Even if you allow for Lee Westwood being healthy and finishing in the top 20 in both, the Americans would still have twice as many.
However, you can’t discount the recent wins by PGA Champion Martin Kaymer in the Netherlands and Francesco Molinari in Scotland, even though the fields were relatively weak. They are in championship form. And it may be a wee bit better for the confidence to win a weaker field event (i.e. Ross Fisher at the 3 Irish, Peter Hanson at the Czech Open and Miguel Angel Jimenez in Switzerland) than just contend in a major championship as confidence is all-important in match play.
The Europeans do a very smart thing when hosting the Ryder Cup. They hold it on courses where they are playing a regular Tour stop. That familiarity will play a role in the outcome as the inexperienced Europeans will have the benefit of feeling at home. And that comfort level in this pressure cooker of a match could very well be the margin of victory.
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