BetMGM 2023 Ryder Cup Preview
The Ryder Cup has given us its fair share of incredible drama over its 96-year history.
There are hundreds of moments worth examining – Jack Nicklaus’s beautiful sporting gesture that was christened ‘the Concession’ at Royal Birkdale in 1969; ‘the Greatest Shot’ by Seve Ballesteros at Palm Beach Gardens in 1983; Paul McGinley's victory dive into the Belfry Lake in 2002.
However, two arguably stand above all others; one glorious moment for each team, one truly harrowing experience for the other. Before we dive into this year’s tournament, let’s take a look at them both.
Battle of Brookline
Who can forget Justin Leonard crushing European hearts with an incredible 45-feet putt to haul the USA back from a four-point deficit at Brookline in 1999?
At that point in time, no team had ever fought back from that level of points deficit on the final day. Trailing 10-6, it seemed impossible with the Europeans needing just four points for victory.
Then came the onslaught. The Americans won the first six holes of the day, forging into a two-point lead. To their credit, the Europeans fought back with the deciding match going to a shootout between Leonard and the then-Masters champion José María Olazábal.
A seemingly unthinkable sink from 45 feet out by Leonard – who was only picked on a hunch by team captain Ben Crenshaw – sent the Americans completely and controversially wild with the team and supporting staff jumping around the green before Olazábal had a chance to save the match with a 22-footer of his own.
The Spaniard missed to confirm American victory and spark further mayhem. It is, with some lamentation, the general consensus of onlookers that the Battle of Brookline sparked modern-day ‘golf hooliganism’, where audience members invade the playing surface.
Miracle at Medinah
If Brookline was painful for the Europeans, they would get the sweetest of revenge 13 years down the line in a halcyon moment for sport as a whole, never mind golf. On the evening of the third day, Europe were trailing 10-4 and seemed destined for humiliation. Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald overcame Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to claw back one point.
Then an incredible fightback led by Rory McIlroy and, in particular, match-play specialist Ian Poulter saw a come-from-behind win on the final green to haul the scoreline back to a more respectable 10-6 going into the Sunday singles.
There was still a lot of work to do – Team Europe would have to equal some records set over the best part of a century.
They overwhelmed the Americans on their turf with relentless precision and crushing accuracy. To repel the blue tide, US team captain Steve Stricker asked fans to come to the final day wearing red (the colours of his side). Instead, they were overwhelmed as defences crumbled around the entire roster as the gushing blue tidal wave of Europe came crashing down on them.
Europe won eight and tied one of the 12 singles matches. Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all time, missed a putt on the final green to hand an outright victory of 14.5-13.5 to Europe.
Ryder Cup 2023 Betting Preview
Here, we will break down the personnel competing at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome before we look into some available markets and BetMGM prices.
Team Europe: Rory McIlroy (Qualifier, Nir); Jon Rahm (Qualifier, Spa); Viktor Hovland (Qualifier, Nor); Tyrrell Hatton (Qualifier, Eng); Matt Fitzpatrick (Qualifier, Eng); Robert MacIntyre (Qualifier, Sco); Shane Lowry (Wildcard, Irl); Tommy Fleetwood (Wildcard, Eng); Justin Rose (Wildcard, Eng); Sepp Straka (Wildcard, Aut); Nicolai Hojgaard (Wildcard, Den); Ludvig Aberg (Wildcard, Swe).
Captain: Luke Donald (Eng). Vice-captains: Francesco Molinari (Ita), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)
Team USA: Scottie Scheffler (Qualifier); Wyndham Clark (Qualifier); Brian Harman (Qualifier); Patrick Cantlay (Qualifier); Max Homa (Qualifier); Xander Schauffele (Qualifier); Justin Thomas (Wildcard); Brooks Koepka (Wildcard); Jordan Spieth (Wildcard); Collin Morikawa (Wildcard); Sam Burns (Wildcard); Rickie Fowler (Wildcard).
Captain: Zach Johnson. Vice-captains: Stewart Cink, Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Fred Couples
Top European Points Scorer
Our pick: Justin Rose @ 11/1
When in doubt, go with the tried and trusted.
Englishman Justin Rose is reuniting with caddie Mark Fulcher just in time for this year’s Ryder Cup. If this partnership inspires any of the kind of form the two have shown previously, Team USA will be worried.
With Fulcher at his side, Rose secured the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, ascended to world number one in the global rankings, and lifted the US Open title in the same year. The duo split four years ago, with Fulcher undergoing emergency heart surgery, but fans will hope his comeback inspires Rose to a huge performance in Rome.
Only Tommy Fleetwood (63%) has won a greater percentage of Ryder Cup points than Rose (61%) on Team Europe's 2023 roster – though Rose has played over three times as many matches as his compatriot.
He's dependable, he's consistent, he's experienced… and he could be the value pick for the top points scorer for Team Europe at what is a tasty 11/1 price.
Top USA Points Scorer
Our pick: Scottie Scheffler @ 4/1
Look, the FedEx Cup did not go to plan for world number one Scottie Scheffler.
He was, admittedly, in the driving seat but a three-over-par 73 in the third round at the Tour Championship saw him finish joint sixth. His $2 million prize will feel slightly sour compared to the $18 million banked by eventual winner Viktor Hovland.
However, with an excellent record of eight top-five finishes in his previous 11 tournaments, there are no genuine concerns about Scheffler’s underlying form going into the tournament.
He was a rookie wildcard pick for the 2021 Ryder Cup – scraping into the squad by about the width of a blade of green grass – yet he rose to the occasion impeccably by securing 2.5 points from the three available on his debut.
While his rise has been meteoric in a short time (he only turned professional in 2018) Scheffler now has both Tour victory and Ryder Cup experience behind him which merely adds to the notion that he is the player who could carry the USA to victory.
At 4/1, he is a fair price to finish as the top points scorer for those in red.
Ryder Cup Winner
Our pick: Team Europe @ 23/20
They have the home advantage and they haven't lost a Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993 at The Belfry. They have won four of the previous six tournaments. They have three verifiable stars in great form – world number two, three, and four in McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Hovland.
So remind us why they are outsiders again?
We can see Team Europe riding to Ryder Cup victory again in Rome – and perhaps even comfortably so.
All odds correct at time of publication but subject to change
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