Still favourites, but for how much longer?
- 11 Sep 06, 11:31 AM
LONDON - As much as I would like to bill this blog as the one that moves markets, I'm not sure I can. What I can say is that my prayers for Europe not to be favourites for the Ryder Cup might have been answered.
Most Ryder Cup-related talk in the last two weeks has been about one of two things: will Ian Woosnam join Hal Sutton in the Mainwaring Museum of calamity captaincy and are Europe really the pre-event favourites?
For what it's worth, I'm plumping for a maybe-maybe double (and no, there is no fence in Christendom too slender for this hack to perch on).
But what I will say with rather less jesuitical ambiguity (you'll have to forgive the religious tone...I went to a wedding at the weekend and it was the full Catholic monty) is that Europe's status as favourites is under siege in the betting markets...and it is a development that neither surprises nor alarms.
Far be it from me to advocate anything as grubby as gambling but a quick look at the spread betting markets will demonstrate the fact that a consensus view is forming - there ain't much between these teams.
Now whether that is because we've got over the shock of seeing so many unfamiliar names on a US Ryder Cup teamsheet, started to get very concerned about the form of Tiger and Furyk, had a crisis of confidence after Woosie's wildcard wobbles or just liked the look of those American odds, I don't know. But then I'm not the only one.
It seems Europe's players can't decide about this whole "who's favourite" thing either. Colin Montgomerie still has Europe as frontrunners (although he doesn't like it and probably has enough loose change in his golf bag to move the odds on his own) but Paul McGinley is less sure.
Speaking to this website's Phil Gordos last week, McGinley said the Americans "will try to play on the fact they are underdogs but that's not the case. It's close to being a dead heat."
Luke Donald is also fairly cautious on the whole issue in an interview with Monday's Independent.
I suppose you could argue that Monty has every right to be confident of Europe's chances in a tournament that has been a major relief to him over the years, and McGinley and Donald have their own equally good reasons to be less bullish. But I think the difference of opinions is just indicative of how close this Ryder Cup is going to be.
That's probably enough on the whole favourites thing for now as it's all just guesswork until 0800 (Straffan time) on Friday 22 September. But before I get back to my crossword there are a few thoughts that struck me this morning (you can almost hear the cogs whirring some days) as I was reading back through last week's blog entries and comments.
- Woosie ain't no Cicero but his pre-wildcard pick behaviour (ie keeping his head down and mouth shut) was no different to the Greatest Ryder Cup Captain of All-Time* Bernhard Langer's. (*copyright of every golf scribe east of Greenland). Let's give the little fella a chance.
- Tiger could well go 100% this time...but even he's going to struggle to play more than five matches. So that's a maximum of three more points to the US total than in 2004. Not bad but I'll take a 15.5-12.5 win every time.
- Just how much of a "home advantage" the K Club is really worries me. If Woosie has any sense (and his recent interview with Golf Digest Ireland, which I can't find online, would suggest he does) he will have a word with the K Club greenkeeper about the state of those areas around the greens. Let's not turn this into a flop-shot competition.
Enough for now. Slainte and all that.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites