Ryder Cup 2018 - Team USA Overview
From the 28th to 30th September 2018, twelve golfers will attempt to do what no other team from the USA has achieved in a quarter of a century. Those dozen men will bid to become the first Americans to win the Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993.
When a 44-year-old Tom Watson led his USA team to victory at the Belfry 25 years ago, Bill Clinton was still in his first year as American president, Pete Sampras had just won his second US Open title and Frasier was about to make its debut on NBC.
Since then, US Ryder Cup teams have lost matches in Spain, England, Wales and Scotland. This time, they will be seeking victory in France. So who has captain Jim Furyk chosen to represent Team USA and why are Americans so confident that they can defend their 2016 Ryder Cup win at Hazeltine and lift the trophy in Europe this time?
Team USA: The Multiple Major Winners
Team USA has serious pedigree with 31 major wins in their ranks. And if 14 of them come from Tiger Woods alone, the rest of the American haul still dwarfs Europe’s seven.
Tiger Woods may have the greatest career record of his generation, but he has plenty to prove at the Ryder Cup. He didn’t amass enough points to automatically qualify and a year ago he was making a comeback from extensive back surgery. But a sixth and a second-place finish in the last two majors means the revival may be back on. This is Tiger’s eighth Ryder Cup.
Phil Mickelson is the other colossus of the American group with five majors to his name. The 48-year-old has more Ryder Cup appearances than anyone else in this year’s tournament and much is expected of him. His form tailed off dramatically on this year’s Tour, but Mickelson is included for his experience and leadership qualities, especially with the younger players in the squad.
Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth are the others in the USA team with more than one major to their name. Koepka arrives on the back of winning the US PGA Championship to play in his second Ryder Cup while Watson comes in for his fourth and Spieth makes his third.
The American Rookies at the Ryder Cup
Both Woods and Mickelson are included as captain’s picks and it’s been 25-years since an American Ryder Cup team didn’t feature one of the two giants of US golf. The pair join Bryson DeChambeau as this year’s wildcard inclusions.
DeChambeau narrowly missed out on qualifying for the team automatically but proved impossible for Furyk to overlook after a run of form saw him finish just outside of the shoe-ins from the top eight of the PGA Tour. The 24-year-old is one of three golfers to make their maiden appearance at a Ryder Cup this year.
The other two Team USA debutants are Justin Thomas and Tony Finau. Much is made of the impact a rookie can make on the Ryder Cup, but will the American first-timers bring a competitive edge to Furyk's team at Le Golf National?
Justin Thomas is 49/20* to finish as the Top Rookie this weekend with Bet UK's online betting.
Certainly, Thomas has experience on L’Albatros course which plays host to the Ryder Cup. The 25-year-old carded a top-ten finish at the Open de France in July and was the only American to scout this year’s Ryder Cup course under tournament conditions. The 2017 PGA Championship winner has had another fine season with three Tour wins and seven top-ten finishes to his name.
Finau was Furyk’s final captain’s pick and is included for his consistency this year as well as his reputation as a team player. The 28-year-old posted 11 top-ten finishes and broke 70 in each of his fifteen appearances in the run-up to Ryder Cup selection. He is a birdie machine and that alone should give him an edge in the fourballs.
No Surprises, But Where Are The Weak Links?
Furyk’s team selected itself on merit, and the Team USA captain sprung no surprises in his picks. Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson make up the rest of the squad, but where are the weak links in this American line-up?
Furyk plumped for experience in Woods and Mickelson, but the former has a patchy Ryder Cup record while the latter has fared little better in recent matches against Team Europe. It’s six years since Woods appeared at a Ryder Cup and despite his legendary status in the game, he’s only been on the winning side once in seven attempts.
Meanwhile, Mickelson may have won the Ryder Cup three times, but he’s never tasted victory in Europe. The veteran of 11 Ryder Cup matches only has one Tour win in the last five years and has posted just one top-ten finish since tasting victory at the WGC-Mexico Championships in March.
The American rookies look strong with DeChambeau the one to watch, but the Europeans will target two who come with some questionable Ryder Cup showings. Webb Simpson’s two appearances have been shaky, and some fear Bubba Watson simply lacks the mentality to star in a team format having failed to shine in each of his three previous Ryder Cups.
Going into the tournament, the 2018 Ryder Cup odds suggest a potentially close-run contest. But In the pressure cooker environment that will pit Team USA against a European squad backed by a partisan crowd at Le Golf National, as always the Ryder Cup will make stars of those who can best handle the occasion and hold their nerve from the off.
Bet UK's online betting feature has the latest odds for all your Ryder Cup betting. Bet UK's Boosts also has a number of selected markets with boosted golf betting odds, including some of our Ryder Cup betting tips from our golfing expert. Bet UK's Ryder Cup News page will follow all the build up ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
*All odds from Bet UK’s online sportsbook correct at the time of writing.
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