How To Bet On The Ryder Cup
Betting on the Ryder Cup can prove to be profitable if you have a firm understanding of the competition format. Our detailed Ryder Cup betting guide will show you how to identify value and which betting strategies to implement when betting on this biennial golf tournament.
Betting On The Ryder Cup: An Introduction
The Ryder Cup is a team match-play golf event played every two years between the best golfers of the United States of America and Europe. The two teams take it in turn to play at home, with the Americans due to host the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota.
Venues differ greatly, but the one common theme is that each course selected must be able to house tens of thousands of spectators. The 2014 Ryder Cup saw over 250,000 spectators attend over the course of the three days of play. Whereas golf is traditionally a sport which is far from raucous, supporters of both the American and the European team are renowned for vocally getting behind the golfers of their preferred side, often chanting and cheering encouragement as though they are at a football match.
Given the excitement and hype around the event, not to mention the great swings of drama that can take place, this is a great event to watch and bet on!
Ryder Cup 2016 Dates
The 2016 Ryder Cup will be played at Hazeltine National Golf Club, September 30th to October 2nd.
- How Is The Ryder Cup Played?
- History Of The Ryder Cup
- Ryder Cup Betting Explained
- Ryder Cup Betting Strategies
- Ryder Cup Bookmakers
- Ryder Cup Free Bet Offers
- Ryder Cup Live Streaming
- How To Bet On The Ryder Cup: Summary
1 - How Is The Ryder Cup Played?
Each Ryder Cup side is led by a captain who is usually a recently retired or senior champion golfer, whose main job is to choose who and where each of his twelve players will compete in the event. The captain is ably supported by several vice-captains, who offer assistance, tactical advice and encouragement to both the captain and the golfers taking part in the event.
Ryder Cup Format
The current Ryder Cup playing format has been in place since 1979. The event is held over three days between the twelve best golfers in Europe and the twelve best golfers from the USA. Over the course of these three days, the sides battle it out to take a share of the 28 points on offer, with the winning team naturally the one that gets to the magic figure of 14.5 points first.
Match Play Format
Whereas golf is played throughout the year as stroke-play format, the Ryder Cup differs in that games are played as a format known as match-play. In stroke-play every single shot matters and a golfer must play the ball until the ball goes into the hole. In match-play it is all about winning each individual hole. At the end of each hole the player/players with the lowest score win the hole and go either one-up or one-down depending on whether they bettered the other player/players score on that particular hole. A player can concede a hole at any moment if he feels there is no chance of him beating his opponent. On the next tee they start again. This means you can win, lose or halve a certain hole whether you make a birdie or a bogey, just so long as you better your opponents score on that hole in question.
Days 1 & 2: Four Matches, Foursomes and Fourballs
The Ryder Cup has three different forms of match-play golf played out over the three days. Days one and two sees four matches of fourballs and four matches of foursomes carried out on each of the two opening days, giving a total of 16 points on offer over the course of the first two days of the Ryder Cup.
Fourballs is where two players from each side both play their own golf ball with the lowest individual score out of the four players winning a hole. Matches can go on for a full 18 holes, unless one side becomes dormie – this is where either Europe or USA take an unassailable lead that cannot be tied or overtaken by the opposition – such as five up with four holes to play. Matches can be won by either side (if they win more holes than the opposition) or halved (if after 18 holes each side has won the same amount of holes)
Foursomes is similar to fourballs in that the matches are played as two golfers from Europe taking on two golfers from the USA over 18 holes until again, one becomes dormie. The only difference is that each side plays just one golf ball, with each player taking alternate shots. Matches can be won by either side (if they win more holes than the opposition) or halved (if after 18 holes each side has won the same amount of holes)
Both the fourball and foursome partnerships are decided by each of sides captains, with tactics playing a big part in not just who is selected to play with who, but also which match they are picked to play in. For instance, you would want a really hardened golfer that doesn’t get too worried about hitting the first tee shot of a Ryder Cup when selecting your first team of two golfers that play in the opening fousomes match-up.
Day 3: Singles Matchups
Day three sees all twelve players from each side taking match in twelve singles match-ups. Again, the captain decides the order in which he sends his players out in. When Europe infamously won in 2012 during the Miracle at Medinah, captain Olazabal pulled off a tactical masterstroke by sending his big-name, in-form players out first. This ensured that Europe could get some early singles points on the board to close a 10-6 overnight deficit.
Since 1979 a player can play a maximum of five matches (2 fourballs, 2 foursomes and a single) and there is no ruling that every golfer has to play a match on days one or two. Obviously it makes sense for a captain to get every player involved before their singles match on the Sunday, and it is almost unheard of for a player to just be used once throughout any Ryder Cup.
The twelve players on each side are selected in different ways depending on if they are European or American. The European side is put together courtesy of the leading four players on the Race to Dubai, the next leading five players on the official world ranks list and finally the captain gets to select three players of his choice. The USA team is drawn up through the leading eight players from points earnt on PGA Tour and major events, plus the captain selects four players of his choice.
2 - History Of The Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup dates back to 1927 and was originally a contest between USA and Great Britain. This was changed to its current format in 1979 to include the best of Europe taking on USA. Since then the Europeans have won ten Ryder Cups, the US have managed seven wins with one edition ending in a tie.
The Europeans are currently on a roll, having been crowned Ryder Cup winners of the last three editions, including the memorable Miracle at Medinah victory in 2012. During this 39th staging of the Ryder Cup, Europe found themselves 10-4 down, only to win 10.5 points of the remaining 14 on offer to complete the most remarkable of Ryder Cup results.
Some of the great names in golf hold some of the most points in Ryder Cup history records.
Nick Faldo currently stands top of the tree with 25 points won in his 11 Ryder Cup appearances. 5 players have won 7 singles points, including household names such as Colin Montgomerie, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer. Bernhard Langer holds the record for the most foursome points won (11.5) whilst Ian Woosnam and Jose Maria Olazabal have each accumulated the most fourball points (10.5) Spanish legends Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros have the best record as a pairing having won an incredible 12 points out of a possible 16.
Great Britain & Ireland
3 - Ryder Cup Betting Explained
Ryder Cup Winner Odds
The most obvious market that most punters have a pre-event or in-play flutter on is of course the ‘Who will win the Ryder Cup’ market. The title of this bet gives a big clue as to what you have to do to win the bet – pick the side that gets the most points, Europe or the USA.
Ryder Cup Exact Score Odds
Think you can go one better than merely naming the winning side? Why not place a Ryder Cup bet on the exact score line from the 28 points on offer. As an example bet, if you think the Ryder Cup 2016 might be really tight, you can back a 14-14 Tie at 11.0 at the time of writing.
Want to break the Ryder Cup up into daily markets? You can do this as well with most bookmakers who offer correct winning and exact score line markets for each of the three days.
Ryder Cup Top Points Scorer
Next up is the top points scorer market. Here, you can place a bet on a golfer that will either be the top overall points scorer over the three days of the Ryder Cup for both sides combined, or alternatively bet on who will top score for Europe and who will top score for the USA. Most bookies offer EW terms of ¼ odds for top 3, meaning you can still make good profit for a player that finishes second or third in that said groups top point scorers.
Ryder Cup Fourballs, Foursomes and Single Matches
Each day you can place bets on the fourballs, foursomes and single matches and who will win out in each individual match. If you are feeling greedy (lucky) then why not try and win big from a small stake by backing several winners in an accumulator?
Who Will Win The First Full Point
Other betting markets available include the ‘Who will win the first full point’ market. Here you can bet on whether it will be Team Europe or Team USA that will get that first win and point for their side.
Star players such as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth often get their own individual points market in which punters can place a bet as to how many points that player will win over the course of the three days.
Ryder Cup Specials
There are specialist markets out there as well including the ‘What will happen to the first tee shot’ section. This is a great bet to have as players can be so nervous on the first tee, literally anything can happen. In 2014 Webb Simpson infamously hit the first tee shot of the Ryder Cup at Gleaneagles and hit the ball 190 yards off the first tee with a driver – some 120 yards short of what would be expected! This market offers the obvious such as will the player hit the fairway, will they find deep rough or will they hit a hazard such as a bunker or water.
What about betting on the likelihood of a hole-in-one? In the history of the Ryder Cup there have only ever been six holes in one, so current Ryder Cup betting odds of there being a hole-in-one during the 2016 edition of 5.50 might seem generous, but history is stacked against an ace being made during the event.
If you fancy a bet post Ryder Cup, most bookies will offer an ante-post market in which you can place a bet on who will be the next European or American captain. Likewise, a great ante-post Ryder Cup betting market is betting on whether a certain golfer will make the final cut of twelve for either the European or American team. There are always one or two golfers that make the squad from nowhere, such as Jamie Donaldson or Stephen Gallacher in 2014.
4 - Ryder Cup Betting Strategies
First things first, let us consider the recent history of this fine event.
Think twice before backing the USA
The Ryder Cup results in recent years have gone the way of Team Europe, winning the trophy from the most unlikely of positions at times. When Paul McGinley lead Europe to comfortable a 16.5 / 11.5 victory at Gleaneagles in 2014, the Europeans won the Ryder Cup for a seventh time from the previous nine editions. This is some record, and even though the US side often appears on paper to be just as strong as the European side, there is clearly something in match-play golf that sits more comfortable with modern-day golfers from Europe than America.
Despite winning two dramatic late points to turn a 10-4 six-shot deficit into a 10-6 four-deficit, Europe were 34.0 with many bookies to win the 2012 Miracle at Medinah Ryder Cup before Sunday’s single matches. Whilst such huge swings in matches don’t always happen, it is always worth remembering the old adage it’s not over to the fat lady sings when it comes to match-play golf. Some excellent value can be had waiting to back a favoured side in play as opposed to before the off.
Secondly let us consider that certain golfers such as Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed appear to excel at match-play. Whether it is because the simply love the idea of going into battle against an individual or they get more of a kick than others by competing as part of a team (very rare in golf which is such an individual sport), some golfers simply love this format of the game.
Do you research before betting on individuals
This website is the most comprehensive for all golfer’s historic match-play records - not only does this site list a basic overall record for any golfer in match-play tournaments, it also lists the individual matches, scores, courses and opponent for any listed golfer. This can be a great way to identify if a golfer appears to enjoy this format of the sport, plus can also give guidance as to whether or not he is a good partner in fourballs and/or foursomes.
Be wary of taking on certain partnerships
Olazabal and Ballesteros. Clarke and Westwood. Poulter and Rose. Some combinations have simply mouth-watering records and are well worth avoiding when it comes to taking them on in a match-bet. In recent times Reed and Spieth have combined for the US in both Ryder Cups and President Cup match play fourballs and foursomes and look a great partnership that could break all records for Team USA in the future. Whether it be certain partners gee each other up or their individual games strengths cancel out the others perceived weaknesses, certain match-play partnerships can be at times unbeatable.
Individual points market
It’s a pretty obvious thing to say, but the more matches your chosen player is likely to play in, the more chance he has of winning any individual or team highest point scorer bet you might have placed pre-Ryder Cup. A debutant rookie is highly unlikely to play any more than 3 or 4 matches throughout the Ryder Cup if the rest of the squad is made up of experienced golfers, who have already featured in multiple past Ryder Cups. Is your chosen player likely to be partnered with an in-form player in a foursomes or fourball match giving you a better chance of your player winning a point than say if he’s partnered with an out of form golfer? Whilst this can be tough to predict, take a look at the many pre-event interviews the captain might give which can sometimes give clues as to who is likely to partner who in certain foursome or fourball matches.
Best Sites For Golf Stats
If you're looking to deepen your Ryder Cup betting analysis, here are our top five best sites for golf statistics:
5- Ryder Cup Bookmakers
At the time of writing, Skybet certainly seem to be the bookmaker that offers the most pre-event markets for the 2016 Ryder Cup. Paddy Power are the place to go if you fancy some more wacky, longer oddsbets such as in-play hole in markets by certain players or total points scored on a certain day markets.
It's also important to consider a bookmaker's reputation. Are they trustworthy? Are you able to withdraw winnings in quick time? Do they have numerous deposit methods? It's important to do your research before selecting a bookmaker for golf betting. It's also important to consider their welcome bonus when signing up. Some bookmakers offer very generous sign up bonuses that are well worth taking advantage. But remember to read the welcome terms and conditions as what may appear an attractive offer at first glance, may not be so attractive when you consider the conditions that must be met in order to withdraw your bonus as cash.
If any doubt which bookmaker to go with, take a look at our detailed bookmaker reviews.
6 - Ryder Cup Free Bet Offers
There is arguably no other golfing event that takes as such money from punters as the Ryder Cup. As such, competition is fierce between bookmakers and many well-known reputable online sports books offer some great Ryder Cup special offer bets.
Betway had a free Ryder Cup bet off during the 2014 edition in which they refunded any losing bet as a free bet if your player was winning a match after 12 holes, but failed to convert to a victory. Paddy Power had exactly the same offer!
Skybet were giving out free bets throughout the Ryder Cup in 2014. All you had to do was place a £20 bet on any Ryder Cup market on any day, and the said bookie would reward the punter with a free £10 bet, no strings attached.
Betfair were even more generous – existing customers of their sportsbook were given a free £10 bet to enjoy on the Ryder Cup 2014 without the need for a bet to be placed at all!
Keep an eye out for all Ryder Cup free bet offers in the lead up to the 2016 event on our dedicated free bet page here. We will list every Ryder Cup free bet and promotional offer available for the 2016 tournament.
7 - Ryder Cup Live Streaming
Due to Sky Sports total ownership of golf coverage in the UK, there is no Ryder Cup free live streaming on any bookmaker site. Of course, Sky have their own streaming service which broadcasts for free for any Sky Sports customer through SkyGo. This is a platform in which golf fans and punters can watch Ryder Cup free on their laptops, phones and tablets – providing of course they are already a Sky Sports subscriber.
Keep an eye on the official Ryder Cup website which could follow the lead of the PGA Tour and show featured groups or matches for free on any given day. The Ryder Cup schedule as outlined above is over three days, so there is ample opportunity for punters to come up with a Ryder Cup betting strategy and use SkyGo as a base to watch the action unfold if they are unfortunate enough to be away from the television! Be aware that coverage is usually on a one-minute delay when streamed – so should be used with extreme caution if betting in play on the Ryder Cup or any other sporting event.
8 - How To Bet On The Ryder Cup
To summarise, The Ryder Cup is one of the great team sporting events to not only watch, but to also have a bet on. Whether you just fancy backing a certain side to win the historic trophy outright, or if you want to back a favourite champion golfer such as Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy to score the most points over the course of the three days, there is a bet out there for everyone.
Remember as with any bet, do your research before placing and only stake what you can afford to lose. With a well thought out strategy and a hint of good-luck, you can make your Ryder Cup viewing experience not just an enjoyable one, but also a profitable one!