A below par week for most of the guys, but for PaddyPower followers, as per last weeks note, you will have picked up on Richard Bland’s 7th place finish in the European Open, however, we won’t be including these returns in our figures, as I mainly lean towards the highest odds available rather than most amount of pay out places.
Last Week’s Outlay 20 pts Last Week’s Return 0 pts (- 20pts) Year To Date + 358.05
This week sees arguably the most exiting week of all in the golfing calendar, The Ryder Cup, with the European Team going for an unprecedented 4th victory in a row! Please see below for an in depth overview of the weeks events, inclusive of some recommended bets.
The Ryder Cup, USA v Europe – 15 pts Outlay
At Hazeltine National Golf Club, 7,628 yards, par 72 – Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October
Robert Trent Jones designed Hazeltine in 1962 and it was reworked and lengthened in both 2005 and 2008. At almost 7,700 yards long, it's a lengthy, hilly course with narrow fairways and small greens; worth noting is the fact that the home captain Davis Love III, has the final say in how the course is set up each day, and may look to lengthen or shorten each day.
Tony Jacklin won the US Open here in 1970 and Payne Stewart took that title here in 1991. Sky Sports presenter, Rich Beem won the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in 2002 and seven years later, Y.E Yang caused an almighty shock when he edged out Tiger Woods to take the PGA Championship here in 2009, with the infamous final hole hybrid shot from rough.
This will be the first time the Ryder Cup has been staged at Hazeltine – below is a brief summary of each hole we’ll be seeing:
1st, 442 yards, par four: As with many Robert Trent Jones designs, the first is a notable dogleg to the left which sees fairways bunkers present the primary challenge from the tee. Laying back of them leaves a lengthy approach to a multi-tiered green so it'll be driver for post on this downhill opener.
2nd, 429 yards, par four: Another dogleg to the left where driver is a tempting option for the longer hitters. If executed well, this option cuts off the corner and reduces the hole to a wedge - although it does bring in the left-hand fairway bunker which has been moved to keep up with modern golf. Deep bunkers to the left guard a slightly raised green so those who are bold will be best rewarded.
3rd, 633 yards, par five: A three-shot par-five with trees and bunkers guarding the left-hand side of the fairway, which otherwise would be the preferred route. Lay-ups should also favour the left where possible, as any approach coming up short from the right can fall steeply away from the putting surface and indeed the lay-up itself can find thick rough which is well below the level of the green, which is cloverleaf in shape.
4th, 210 yards, par three: A long par three where the green is narrow and lengthy, which means an accurate shot should find its target but anything wayward will not. If the pin is placed at the back, only the highest hitters will feel comfortable carrying their ball all the way onto the top level and others will have to judge how best to flight their ball in order to end up in the correct location. Failing to do so makes three-putting possible.
5th, 352 yards, par four: Arguably one of the best short par-fours in golf, the small, wellguarded greens counterbalances the yardage on the scorecard and provides plenty of drama. In the right conditions, some players may attempt to drive the green but they'll need to be accurate otherwise disaster awaits. A real momentum hole early on, with birdies likely.
6th, 642 yards, par five: A new tee has added length to this brutal hole, which can be especially challenging into the wind. Dramatic bunkering is a key feature - there are in fact 14 traps in total - and like the third, it's likely that most players will be forced to play it in three shots.
7th, 402 yards, par four: Despite being relatively short, this is a properly demanding parfour with Hazeltine Lake in play all the way, along with a creek on the left-hand side of the fairway. Accuracy is therefore a must and anyone approaching this slightly raised green from the rough will do well to hold it. Those missing right will surely find the lake and it's unlikely this hole is halved all that often.
8th, 186 yards, par three: The second shortest par three on the course and a hole which offers up birdies chances, despite the green being among the more undulating on the course. Otherwise, it's very much as you see, with water not really in play and the bunkers not as penal as some. Most should hit the green so this hole is primarily about who can make the birdie putt.
9th, 475 yards, par four: Not unlike the first two holes, this gentle dogleg challenges players with bunkers which must be avoided off the tee. A three-tiered green awaits approaches so it's vital that they're played from the fairway, or else three-putts from distance are very much in play.
10th, 452 yards, par four: A hole which in some way resembles the 18th at Congressional, with the green sitting below the level of the fairway and a serious dogleg to the left demanding an accurate drive. With Hazeltine Lake in the backdrop, this is among the more picturesque holes on the layout and a definite birdie opportunity if players can find the fairway.
11th, 606 yards, par five: Rich Beem made the only eagle of the championship on this hole en route to his victory in the 2002 PGA. Expect to see one or two opportunities this week, as this dogleg right is wide enough off the tee and reachable for the longer hitters. Any who fail to strike their second correctly will likely find sand, however, with a cluster of bunkers acting as front guard. As such, short hitters will have their hand forced into a lay-up.
12th, 518 yards, par four: This is a hole whose difficulty comes from the yardage and fact that it is typically played into the wind. Otherwise, there's not too much disaster lurking as it's straight and wide off the tee. Big hitters will be favoured as the green is flat and shallow, meaning a high ball-flight is much favoured for the approach.
13th, 248 yards, par three: As its yardage would suggest, this is an extremely difficult parthree where accuracy is a must, with water left, bunkers on both sides and trees also playing a part. The green is also fairly small and a back-left hole location is almost impossible to attack, so expect holes to be won in three more often than not.
14th, 448 yards, par four: Another hole where a near tee box has added 50 yards, but one which remains manageable. A gentle dogleg right means the powerful players will attempt a high fade to leave wedge to a narrow, deep green. Those playing from further back will need to find the correct angle with bunkers waiting to catch errant approaches.
15th, 405 yards, par four: Trees left and right make for a claustrophobic tee shot, but big hitters can take most of them out of play and set up a short-iron approach to a green guarded by water. Those taking a more conservative approach risk being blocked out and any shot which seeks to take the water out of play could find bunkers at the rear, leaving a very difficult up and down and bringing the hazard firmly back into things.
16th, 572 yards, par five: New fairway bunkers to the left add to the challenge of this hole, but it should prove the easiest on the golf course. Every player will have the option of going for the green in two should they find the fairway and while it's a small target, eagle chances will still be forthcoming. Watch for long, pulled approaches finding the pond to the left, however.
17th, 176 yards, par three: The shortest par three on the course but not necessarily the easiest, with water and a small green both intensifying the challenge. Bunkers to the left again mean that anything conservative risks producing a very tricky second shot back towards the water, but history shows middle of the green and two putts should be the target.
18th, 432 yards, par four: An uphill par-four which is among the more demanding ones off the tee, with bunkers waiting on both sides of a narrow fairway. A huge bunker guards the right-hand side of the green, which is hard to see from the fairway.
Format of Play
Two teams of 12 play out 28 match-play ties over three days, with 14½ points the total required to take the trophy, or 14 points to retain it for Europe as current holders.
The first session on Friday morning sees European Team captain, Darren Clarke, pick four teams of two from his 12 man squad to take on US Team captain, Davis Love's, four pairs in foursomes match play. Foursomes format is often called "alternate shot" and is a tougher format than fourball. The first player tees off, the second player hits the second shot, the player that hit the first shot then hits the third shot, and so on and so forth until the ball is holed. Players hit alternate tee shots so that the same player doesn't hit every tee shot.
Friday afternoon sees four teams of two from each side play each other in the first fourballs session. In fourballs, each of the four players plays their own ball and a point is scored by whoever plays the hole in the fewest number of shots.
Saturday is a repeat of Friday and then on Sunday, there's no hiding place with 12 singles matches determining the final result.
Rory McIlroy (6-4-4): Yet to experience defeat for Europe having made his debut in 2010. Won two of three singles matches, particularly impressive against Rickie Fowler at Gleneagles. Negative four-ball record a surprise to some.
Danny Willett (debut): Rookie who won the Masters but has struggled for form since. Has played Walker Cup golf for Great Britain & Ireland and has plenty of experience playing golf on US soil.
Henrik Stenson (5-4-2): Holed the winning putt on 2006 debut before playing better than some in heavy defeat for Europe two years later. Formed fine partnership with Justin Rose on return to the side in 2014. Some injury concerns.
Chris Wood (debut): Former amateur team-mate of Willett who qualified chiefly thanks to victory at Wentworth in the spring. Another with some form and fitness concerns but was inside the top 30 at the US Open.
Sergio Garcia (18-9-5): Ryder Cup stalwart with a particularly impressive foursomes record, winning 10 points from a possible 13 and losing just twice. Negative singles record but produced the goods at Medinah.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello (debut): Solid season for this supreme ball-striker whose lack of wins raises concerns over his performance under pressure. Still, has been a big improver over the last 18 months and will be hard to beat.
Justin Rose (9-3-2): The standout record on this European side, bolstered by a superb performance at Gleneagles where he was unbeaten. Also impressed in winning his singles matches in both 2008 and 2012 and now Olympic champion.
Andy Sullivan (debut): Lost his way a little in recent times but qualified on the back of an excellent winter, going close twice in the Middle East to put himself in a strong position.
Matt Fitzpatrick (debut): Two-time European Tour winner with a huge future, who will be by some way the youngest player at Hazeltine. Very accurate off the tee and one of the side's better putters.
Lee Westwood (20-15-6): By far and away the most experienced member of the side and no surprise he was selected. Solid season includes second at Augusta but a long time since his last win and singles record a concern.
Martin Kaymer (4-3-3): Best known for holing the putt which ensured Europe would retain the trophy at Medinah. Only played two matches there and wasn't all that impressive at Gleneagles, but surely set for prominent role and has been reliable in singles recently.
Thomas Pieters (debut): Big-hitting youngster who demanded a place on the side with victory in the Made In Denmark. No doubt he has a big future but pressure to deliver here given competition for wild card places.
Dustin Johnson (4-3-0): Made his debut in 2010 and impressive in singles, beating Martin Kaymer. Also one of the better US performers at Medinah, again winning his singles, and returns having been on a leave of absence two years ago. Lost first three matches but has won last four.
Jordan Spieth (2-1-1): Formed a brilliant partnership with Patrick Reed on his debut in 2014, the pair winning two foursomes matches impressively. Then squandered the lead as he lost to Graeme McDowell in singles but should prove a stalwart in US Ryder Cup teams for years to come.
Phil Mickelson (16-19-6): Nobody has played in more Ryder Cups than Mickelson, whose record is reasonable compared to others to have featured alongside him. 5-5 in singles, losing a critical match to Justin Rose at Medinah.
Jimmy Walker (1-1-3): Solid debut at Gleneagles when paired with Rickie Fowler. Won Sunday singles against Lee Westwood and back on the team as a major champion following PGA Championship success in August.
Patrick Reed (3-0-1): Unbeaten two years ago, three times alongside Spieth and once in singles, beating Henrik Stenson on the final hole. Since re-established himself as a key US player and will likely play with Spieth again.
Brooks Koepka (debut): Still just the one PGA Tour title to his name - which came in early 2015 - but a big-hitting youngster with immense talent and further potential. Inconsistent but likely to be a powerful four-ball weapon.
Brandt Snedeker (1-2-0): Automatic qualifier this time having required a wild card selection at Medinah, where he was involved in two tight pairs matches alongside Jim Furyk, winning one and losing the other. Beaten in singles by Paul Lawrie but better than that and will relish return.
Zach Johnson (6-6-2): Solid Ryder Cup record for a tough, battle-hardened competitor whose only singles defeat in four appearances came on his debut when against Darren Clarke on Irish soil. Could pair up with Mickelson.
Rickie Fowler (0-3-5): Yet to win a full point across two Ryder Cup appearances, albeit both were on European soil. Has avoided defeated in five of eight matches and was brilliant in Walker Cup golf, so expect this record to improve.
JB Holmes (2-0-1): Undefeated on Ryder Cup debut in his home state of Kentucky. Big-hitter was paired with a straight one there for an excellent four-ball pairing; partnership with Bubba Watson in Presidents Cup less successful but did impress of the pair. Dangerous.
Matt Kuchar (4-5-2): Losing Ryder Cup record, both individually and as part of a team - has played in three and lost all three. That said, has lost just one of five four-ball matches and won his first singles at Gleneagles. Solid team player, especially reliable as part of a pair.
Ryan Moore (debut): 11th-hour pick from Davis Love courtesy of a superb performance at the TOUR Championship, where he lost a play-off to Rory McIlroy. Makes his professional team debut for the USA and record representing them at amateur level only modest. That was over a decade ago, though, and is now in-form with a game that has no real weaknesses.
1. Correct Score = 14-14 (12/1 Bet365 & William Hill) 3 pts
2. Top American Points Scorer = DUSTIN JOHNSON (4/1 Bet365 & WilliamHill)
3pts & PATRICK REED (7/1 BetFred) 2pts 3. Top European Points Scorer = Rory McIlroy (7/2 Ladbrokes & PaddyPower) 3pts & Justin Rose (6/1 BetFair & BetFred) 2pts
4. Day 1 Correct Score = USA 5 – 3 ahead (6/1 SkyBet) 2pts
NOTE: Great offer this week by SkyBet, if you place a £10 win or £5 each way single in the overall top points scorer market, you will receive a £5 free bet each and every time your selections wins a match – a potential of £25 worth of free bets, if he were to win all 5 matches
This Week’s Outlay – 15 pts
Thank you all for the continued positive responses over my articles.
Hope you have a nice week, and good luck to all those following,