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Seven Tips for Betting on the Ryder Cup

Jim Furyk of the U.S. team practices at Scotland's Gleneagles golf course on Sept. 23
Jim Furyk of the U.S. team practices at Scotland's Gleneagles golf course on Sept. 23Photograph by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

The Ryder Cup starts on Friday in Scotland, where the European team will look to win for the sixth time in the past seven matches. Here’s what you need to know before watching.

This U.S. team is a huge underdog. According to most betting outlets, the Europe squad has about a 2-to-1 edge in the probability of winning. That spread is the widest it’s been in more than a decade, meaning a Europe win (and a U.S. loss) this year would be the least surprising outcome. Conversely, a U.S. win would be the biggest surprise of any result in the past six cups. (If the teams tie, Europe retains the cup.) The spread, already wide last week, has only grown in the past several days.
The absence of Tiger Woods may benefit the Americans … Despite his reputation and great career in tournaments, Woods’s record in the Ryder Cup is poor. He’s won only 44 percent of his matches, putting him third-worst among the 14 most experienced players in U.S. history. It’s important to note the only time the U.S. team has won since 2000 was in 2008—when Woods didn’t play.
… But don’t count on Jim Furyk. The highest-ranked American player on this squad is Furyk, who is fourth overall in the world. But if the U.S. team relies on him to deliver a trophy, they are in trouble. Though Woods’s Ryder Cup record is the third-worst in history among the 14 most experienced U.S. players, Furyk wins even less often: just 37 percent of his matches.