Thomas Bjorn chose experience over youth with Wednesday’s four Ryder Cup captain’s picks. But even going with a quartet of tried-and-true players in the biennial event didn’t do much to impress oddsmakers.
With the two squads nearly complete — U.S. captain Jim Furyk will make one more pick on Monday — the U.S. is a solid favorite, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. Team USA has -210 odds (Risk $210 to win $100) of lifting the trophy, while Europe is a +175 underdog (Risk $100 to win $175). Having won the previous Ryder Cup in 2016 at Hazeltine, the U.S. just needs 14 of the available 28 points to retain the cup.
In a three-way result (Win, lose or tie), the U.S. is listed at -175 odds to Europe’s +175 with a tie between the teams fetching +1200 (12-to-1) odds.
Bjorn had a bevy of options to round out Europe’s squad, but he went with Ian Poulter, Paul Casey Henrik Stenson, and Sergio Garcia, four players with a combined 20 Ryder Cup appearances. Garcia’s selection has drawn most of the attention. A European team stalwart for nearly two decades, Garcia missed the cut in all four majors this year and has fallen to No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking despite winning his first major (the 2017 Masters) since the last Ryder Cup.
Those four joined Europe’s eight automatic qualifiers: Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren, and Thorbjorn Olesen. Of those eight, those latter five are all Ryder Cup rookies.
Meanwhile, the Americans, who won the Ryder Cup in 2016 for the first time since 2008, appear to have gotten even stronger on paper. World No. 3 Justin Thomas and World No. 7 Bryson DeChambeau will be making their U.S. debuts, and Tiger Woods will play in his first Ryder Cup since 2012. Woods, DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson were Furyk’s first three captain’s picks on Tuesday. Tony Finau is the presumptive leading candidate to grab the final spot.
Team USA’s eight automatic qualifiers were Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and Webb Simpson.
Despite a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine and a dominant Presidents Cup performance last year, the U.S. will be trying to win a Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time since 1993 as the event heads to France for the first time. The 2018 Ryder Cup will be held Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National outside of Paris.