As Rory McIlroy took on Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in the playoff of the Tour Championship, the crowd at East Lake Golf Course did their best to support his two American rivals. Chants of “USA! USA!” rang out but they were in vein. The Northern Irishman proved too good and eventually saw Moore off to win both the tournament and the FedEx Cup.
Sunday’s win was massive for McIlroy personally but also a potentially important one for European golf. Darren Clarke will hope that his European Ryder Cup team will gain great confidence from the sight of a European star holding off the challenge of home favourites on American soil. That’s because Europe go into this week’s Ryder Cup as the underdogs against Davis Love III’s Americans.
When you compare the two teams it is clear why the USA are the odds on favourites with the bookies. There are no weak links in Love’s team, there are five major champions in the ranks and a number of talented players who do not carry the baggage of previous defeats. There is no doubt that the Americans will take some beating but there are reasons to suggest that this European team could well be up to the challenge.
Underdogs Europe Can Win Against the Odds
The 2014 Ryder Cup was not exactly a classic. Paul McGinley deserves a lot of praise for the job he did preparing Europe but the Americans were never really at the races. It was also one of only four times in the last 10 renewals that the favourites before the event went on to win. That trend is good news for Darren Clarke.
Clarke’s European team are the underdogs with the bookies and can be backed at a best price of 2/1 with Betfair. That has to be considered value. There are certainly some huge challenges for Clarke and his vice captains. Firstly, they have to carefully manage the six rookies in the team. They’ll have to be careful with Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose who have had injury concerns over the past few months. Clarke will also have to rely on a little bit of hope when it comes to the likes of Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Rafa Cabrera Bello who are not in great form.
However, Europe have two current major champions, the Olympic champion and the FedEx Champion. Hazeltine shouldn’t hold too many concerns for the European players and they’ll all be desperate to win for their very popular captain. For those reasons, have a bet on Europe to win.
Fowler Could Be the Bright Spark for America
Rickie Fowler’s form tailed off quiet considerably towards the end of the PGA Tour season. Fowler did not make it to the Tour Championship but there was never a question about his inclusion as a wildcard. Fowler is incredibly popular in the locker room, he relishes the chance to play in a team and will be able to whip the crowd up into a near frenzy. Fowler is the sort of patriotic team player who the Americans so badly need in their team and he looks a good bet to bet the top American at odds of 12/1 with Sky Bet.