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International And Local Golf News And Tournaments


21 September 2018, by: BET Editor


The Ryder Cup transcends golf. It is golf. And war. And the biggest party for spectators no matter your allegiance or location.

The fact that it captivates the South African audience is just one sign of its immense popularity and seemingly never ending ability to reach new followers. The growth seemingly knows no bounds as every two years Europe’s best and America’s strongest gather to compete for the golden trophy with bigger grandstands housing louder fans.

And the players love it too. Hazeltine in 2016 had Patrick Reed, the un-nominated Captain America, responding to everything Rory McIlroy could deliver in one of the best Sunday singles matches ever. And that epic was followed by Sergio Garcia holding his nerve against Phil Mickelson in a match just as good. The Americans finally got back to winning ways which tees up this year’s edition perfectly.

The hostile American crowd will be replaced by a partisan European gallery with both sides arguably stronger than their predecessors.

The USA have had a grip on the Majors largely on the back of Brooks Koepka’s powerful game and the addition of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson via captain’s picks makes them formidable visitors.

The American press have been rampant and have backed little old Europe into a corner. No-hopers. Underdogs. Written off.

Exactly the position they love.

Much of their success will hinge on McIlroy and Justin Rose. Sure Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm will play a big role but the destination of the trophy will be centred on their leaders points tally when the dust settles late next Sunday.

Captain Thomas Bjorn will no doubt have his pairing plans almost finalised but a couple of first day losses could have him scrambling. Thomas Pieters was a unknown entity last time out but bolted from the pack and brought home the most points. The excluded Belgian was paired with McIlroy, does fellow Dane Thorbjorn Olesen fit that role?

Rose and Henrik Stenson are an obvious combination but the latter’s season hasn’t gone anywhere near according to plan. Bjorn’s also got to account for temperamental stars Poulter and Rahm. And then there’s explosive rookie Tyrrell Hatton to factor in.

An educated observer wouldn’t be chastised for throwing form and history out of the window because in truth, no one knows how both sides will line up on Friday morning. Will Sergio Garcia be let out early? What about Stenson, who’s been injured on and off for much of the year? Who partners Justin Thomas and how do you get the best out of Bubba Watson?

Equally undecided is how Koepka and now former world number one Dustin Johnson will perform when country is placed before prize money in the priorities.

USA last won on European soil in 1993, since then Europe have won eight from 11 encounters including two nine point margins, the Miracle at Medinah and a five point triumph at Gleneagles.

Looking for a bit of value – you’d best go for USA to win the foursomes (1/1) with Europe bringing it back in the afternoon fourballs (13/10) but not enough to overtake the holders who may just be 5-3 ahead (it’s 6/1 on that exact score).

A week out from the game’s biggest event, and there’s not a fan out there who doesn’t have their colours nailed down. Europe for the win (at 13/10).

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