Next week see’s the start of the 2018 Ryder Cup at The Albatros Course at Le Golf National. The much-loved Europe vs USA competition is the last order of business before the 2018-’19 PGA Tour campaign gets underway. We’ve compiled a list of the five top players to keep an eye to inform your bets.
A return to the Ryder Cup stage for the Englishman. One he has craved, one he has worked incredibly hard to earn, and one all of Europe is pleased about because it is not only passion and energy he brings to the team, but precious points. In fact his record book reads 12 points, 2 halves and just 4 defeats.
You would think that his experience and love of the big stage would demand a Friday morning start and if he gets on a roll it would be pure folly for his captain to rest him in the afternoon.
With injury concerns hovering over fellow wildcard picks Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey their workload could easily be managed. Whilst Sergio Garcia's most recent Ryder Cup record is not as strong as his stunning early efforts. It means Poulter looks interesting at +1200 as Europe's top finisher with SugarHouse. Another option is SugarHouse's +333 to be the top Englishman.
What about Europe's first timers? Unless they catch fire early Tyrrell Hatton and Thorbjorn Olesen would, you imagine, be the most likely bit-part players. Alex Noren is a quarter- and semi-finalist in the last two WGC World Match Play events and a winner at Le Golf National this summer.
Tommy Fleetwood is another course winner, yet his other five visits all reaped missed cuts. The big Spaniard has finished T10th and T5th on his two course visits, only once failed to break par for 18 holes and he made the final of the WGC World Match Play on debut last year.
The ingredients are strong and he'll be feted for the famous Spanish flare which has traditionally fuelled Europe's Ryder Cup successes. Perhaps his biggest challenge is his fearsome temper. Yet could playing for a team harness that rage? He's 2/1 with Ladbrokes to be Top European Rookie or +188 with SugarHouse to be the same.
Few will arrive in Paris with more confidence than the newly crowned world number one and if we know one thing about Rose it is that representation brings out the best in him.
In fact he more or less single-handedly rescued golf's inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics Games by first embracing it and then winning the gold medal for Team GB. He's also repeatedly starred for Europe, amassing 11 wins, 2 halves and just 6 defeats, and proved himself at Le Golf National with two top tens including a third place in 2003.
Throw into that mix spectacular form and he's a pretty compelling case to enjoy a great week. Is his case too compelling? Some will think so, but there are five rookies in the team, four veterans whose fatigue might be monitored and Francesco Molinari has great form and a superb course record, but a less than dazzling Ryder Cup log book.
Rose will be asked to contribute much to the cause by his captain and he has it in him to deliver. He's +400 with SugarHouse to be Europe's Top Scorer and +1100 with SugarHouse to be Top Combined Scorer.
Golf's stick-in-the-muds could barely stop chuckling when DeChambeau showed up on tour, brazenly dreaming up new ways to prepare and play the game. The sniping from the commentary box from ex-players has been embarrassing, yet the good news is that DeChambeau's success is answering them in style.
The big question this week is how the American whizzkid transfers that form into team play. One proclamation he made proves he doesn't lack for confidence, announcing that he thinks he'd make a good combination with Tiger Woods with whom he has struck up a friendship.
He's rated a +200 shot in the Top American Rookie market by SugarHouse where he is up against Jim Furyk's final wildcard pick Tony Finau and also Justin Thomas. The latter has course experience, but he is also nursing a wrist injury.
The history of the Ryder Cup (and indeed the Solheim Cup) is full of players who have thrived for two or three matches, torching their opponents and building fierce reputations, only find an element of regression to mean hits them hard in the face.
It's tough to keep winning, especially when everyone expects you to and your opponents are desperate to take you down. Reed has a weakness in foursomes (1 win, 2 defeats), but has compiled 3.5 points from 4 in fourballs and two wins in the singles.
He loves the aggro and he adores the noise; it brings the best out in him. If you believe Captain America trumps the law of averages then the +900 at SugarHouse to finish Top American Scorer has to appeal.
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