As mentioned, few of the Americans make much appeal. Phil Mickelson has rarely produced his best either in this competition or in British bad weather, nor anywhere else recently for that matter. He may well play all five matches, nevertheless. The only other obvious candidates in that respect are last week’s winner Jim Furyk, Valhalla top scorer Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker or of course, TIGER WOODS. Of those, Mahan’s bad weather record does not bode well. Furyk is a decent match player and wasn’t deterred by the rain at East Lake, but has surprisingly disappointing returns from six Ryder Cup appearances, winning only nine-and-a-half points out of a possible 24.
That leaves the strongest pair in terms of rankings. Tiger and Stricker formed a fearsome partnership in last year’s Presidents Cup, winning all four pairs matches, and one must assume Pavin will keep the team together, at least to start with. After everything that has happened in the past year, Woods cannot be considered a banker to play every round as on all his previous appearances, and yesterday’s press conference didn’t bode well for his mood.
Nevertheless so far as golf is concerned, there were some signs of improvement with three straight top 15s during the Fedex Cup, and he will fresh having failed to qualify for East Lake. It would be a brave call for Pavin to drop him at any stage. Even though he’s never produced his best at a Ryder Cup, Tiger did finish as top US scorer on his last appearance in Ireland four years ago. Moreover, in Stricker he may have found the ideal partner.
Likewise, the other two Americans who missed East Lake make betting appeal at decent odds, though not just because they should be fresh. Making his fifth appearance, STEWART CINK will bring valuable experience to a side containing five rookies, and as a former Open champion, should have no concerns about the bad weather. Moreover, he has an impressive matchplay record stretching back several years.
Rickie Fowler may be young, but he is a showman who looks tailor-made for this big stage. Further credentials include impressive performances in the last two Walker Cups, showing a liking for matchplay and performing well overseas. Indeed, he is one of the few Americans who does have pedigree for playing in bad British weather, having played as well as anyone over the last three rounds of this year’s Open debut. For my money, he will be the one of the most significant rookies, making 14/1 in the top debutant market excellent value.
Advised golf bets:
TOP COMBINED POINTS SCORER
TOP US POINTS SCORER
2010 STATS: -58pts
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
5pts MARTIN KAYMER TO WIN THE RACE TO DUBAI @ 9/1