Ryder Cup – betting

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A look back at the odds going into past Ryder Cups. Has the betting market proved a reliable guide for picking the winner?

A look back at the odds going into past Ryder Cups. Has the betting market proved a reliable guide for picking the winner?

1991 – ODDS-ON AMERICANS WIN WAR


The bookies install the USA as 4/5 favourites to win the “War on the Shore” at Kiawah Island with Europe 11/10 and the tie 12/1. The outcome remains in the balance all the way until Bernhard Langer agonisingly misses a four-footer on the last which gives the US a thrilling 14½-13½ victory. Langer’s missed putt on the final green – which would have tied the match and kept the trophy in European hands – costs Hills over £100,000 as the 14-14 scoreline hadn’t been popular with punters. “If Langer’s putt had gone in we would have paid out just £38,000 to those punters who had bet on the tie. As it was we had to pay out over £150,000 to punters who bet on the Americans to win,” says Hills spokesman Graham Sharpe.

1993 – US OUTSIDERS FOIL EURO GAMBLE


Europe are made favourites for the first time in Ryder Cup history. After a flood of money for the home side the bookies, who had offered the Europeans at 6/4 before the previous week’s Lancome Trophy, install Europe as 10/11 favourites to win at The Belfry. The United States, who had been 4/5 shots, are pushed out to evens at the off with the tie 10/1. The most popular winning margin is 15 points to 13 for either side, on offer at 8/1. Europe are 5/6 favourites after they take a 4½-3½ lead at the end of the first day’s play, with the US quoted at 6/5 and the tie 8/1. Europe maintain their one-point advantage after sharing the eight points on offer on day two and go into the final day as 4/5 favourites, with the Americans at 6/5. Despite the closeness of the game, the tie remains an 8/1 chance. But it’s the odds-against Americans who win the day and prove the bookies wrong as they win the singles 7½-4½ to win the match 15-13. There’s a three-way tie in the top US points market with Corey Pavin (12/1), Ray Floyd (14/1) and Payne Stewart (14/1) all banking three points. Ian Woosnam racks up an almost perfect 4½ points to finish top Euro scorer at 9/2.


1995 – 15/8 OUTSIDERS EUROPE RECLAIM CUP

Hosts America go into the Ryder Cup at Oak Hill in New York as 1/2 favourites, with Europe 15/8 and the tie 10/1 as Sky win the TV rights for the first time. Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo are joint 3/1 favourites to top score for Europe with 7/2 Corey Pavin heading the US lists. With the Americans taking a 9-7 lead into the singles, those who took the 15/8 on Europe aren’t hopeful but the visitors produce a stunning display to overturn the odds-on favourites. Pavin justifies favouritism by top scoring for the US with four points but on the European side three relatively unfancied players tie for top spot with three points apiece – David Gilford (25/1), Costantino Rocca (20/1) and Sam Torrance (8/1).


1997 – 3/1 EUROPE UPSET FORM BOOK
With Tiger Woods – a sensational 12-shot winner at The Masters earlier in the year – making his debut and the Europeans fielding five rookies, Seve Ballesteros’ men are as big as 3/1 in the build-up to the battle at Valderrama. By the off, they have been cut to a top-priced 9/4 but still remain big outsiders with America quoted no better than the Tote’s 8/15. But inspired by Seve, the home side lead 10½-5½ after day two and go into the final day singles as 1/5 shots. The Americans are available at 7/1 and so nearly pull it back but Europe hold on to win by a point – the 14½-13½ winning scoreline a pre-tournament 10/1 shot. 4/1 Colin Montgomerie (3½pts) rewards favourite backers on the top Euro points scorer market and his decision to shake hands with Scott Hoch at the last when the Cup is already won decides the top US scorer market. Hoch, who faces a 20ft putt before Monty signals for him to pick his ball up, is gift-wrapped a halve that takes him to 2½pts and out of a seven-way tie on 2. His lucky backers land a 20/1 touch while backers of the 15-13 scoreline in favour of Europe are left cursing their misfortune.


1999 – LATE CHARGE RESCUES 1/3 US

The star-studded US team are as short as 2/7 to win back the Cup at Brookline in Massachusetts, with Europe available at 11/4. But Mark James, who two years earlier had been quoted at 3/1 to be the next skipper, almost guides his team to a brilliant victory. Europe carve out a 10-6 lead after day two but once again the US thrive in the singles and fight back superbly to win 14½-13½ – a 12/1 chance at the start the week. Tiger Woods is the 11/4 favourite to be top US scorer but it’s 14/1 chance Hal Sutton who comes out on top with three wins and a halve. 3½pts is also the magic number on the European side but four players share top spot – Colin Montgomerie (11/4 favourite), Sergio Garcia (6/1), Jesper Parnevik (7/1) and Paul Lawrie (22/1).


2002 – 15/8 EUROPE’S SUNDAY BEST


With the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York forcing the Ryder Cup to be put back a year, both teams stick with the original line-ups chosen 12 months earlier. The perception is that the European team contains more players that have lost form so the USA are sent off as red-hot 1/2 favourites to retain their trophy with Europe as big as 15/8 to delight the home fans at The Belfry. Yet again Europe make a good start and take the first day lead. It’s the seventh time in the last eight they’ve led after day one so it’s surprising that odds-against quotes were available for them to do so again. The US rally on day two and the scores are levelled at 8-8. Given their traditional superiority in the singles – the Americans had won the singles in six of the previous seven Ryder Cups – it’s no surprise that the bookies make the US 2/5 to lift the trophy ahead of Sunday’s play. Europe have other ideas though and with Sam Torrance putting his big guns out first they gain unstoppable momentum and win the singles convincingly to secure the match 15½-12½. Colin Montgomerie top scores for Europe with 4½ points out of five and rewards backers who took the massive 9/1 – a price inflated by rumours of Monty having a bad back. Rookie David Toms, with 3½ , is the top US points scorer and is also a 9/1 chance.

2004 – UNDERDOGS MAUL AMERICANS


After years of nail-biting finishes, 13/8 underdogs Europe turn the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Detroit into a one-sided rout. The tone is set on day one as Bernhard Langer’s meticulously prepared side race into a 6½-1½ lead against a US team which had started as 4/7 favourites. The ‘dream team’ of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is turned over not once but twice and the bookies slash Europe to just 1/3 to win the trophy again. Europe edge further in front on day two and

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