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Ryder Cup 2018

What to watch for in 2017 for the 2018 Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is considered one of the greatest events not just in golf but in all sport across the world. Every 2 years, 12 of the best golfers from Europe face off against 12 of the top golfers from the USA. Right from the first Ryder Cup in 1927 the competition has been fierce and head-to-head. The next edition of this prestigious event will be at the Albatross Course of Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris, France, from 28th to 30th September, 2018.

Ryder Cup 2018: Things to Watch Out For
There are quite a few things to watch out for when Ryder Cup 2018 gets underway. For starters, this is only the 2nd time the Cup will be played in Continental Europe; the first time was when it was in Valderrama in 1997. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for.

Keeping an Eye on the Albatross
The first thing to look out for is the course itself. The Albatross at Le Golf National is 7,315 yards and quite shorter than the one in Hazeltine where the US team won last. However, this course has a lot of water in it and has also been home to the French Open, which makes it interesting.

What is Team Europe Going to Do?
Team USA won the Ryder Cup in 2016 adopting a strategy that the European team has followed for a while. It will be interesting to watch if Team USA can repeat its Ryder Cup heroics in 2018 as well, and what team Europe is likely to do to negate the American threat.

For the record, the last 3 times the American team has won a Ryder Cup the European team has gone on to win the next three editions. However, the record for the most consecutive Ryder Cup triumphs is held by the USA – 7 consecutive wins between 1935 and 1955 and again between 1971 and 1983.

The Choice of Captains
The captains for both the teams are chosen: Jim Furyk has been designated the captain of the US team, while the honor of leading the European team goes to Thomas Bjorn.
Bjorn, the first Danish player has made 3 appearances in the Cup as a player – in 1997, 2002 and 2014 - and each appearance has resulted in victory. He has also been an assistant captain 4 times, and has an enviable overall record of being part of 6 European Ryder Cup winning teams in all.
The American team captain Jim Furyk has been part of 9 consecutive American Ryder Cup teams as a player – from 1997 to 2014. He was also one of the 5 vice-captains to Davis Love III in 2016.

ryder cup jim furyk

Jim Furyk and US Team Captain Davis Love III after winning the 2016 Ryder Cup at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota

Player Selection
The most exciting thing to keep track of is the list of American and European players likely to make it to their respective Ryder Cup teams. This is how team selection happens in the Ryder Cup for the Americans:
·         The top 8 players in the points rankings are automatically selected as team members.
·         The next 4 spots are captain’s picks.
·         3 spots will be announced after the Dell Technologies Championship on 3rd September, 2018.
·         The 4th spot will be announced after the end of the BMW Championship on 9th September, 2018.
·         Points are awarded for performance in PGA tournaments starting with the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship – in 2017. The other events that contribute towards ranking points include:
o   All 2017 World Golf Championship events: The players get 1 point for every $2000 earned.
o   The Players Championship: The players get 1 point for every $2000 earned.
o   2017 Major Championships: The players get 1 point for every $1000 earned in the Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship
o   Regular PGA Tour events in 2018 from 1st January to 12th August: Players get 1 point for every $1000 earned. Points are not awarded to players in Opposite Field PGA Tour events.
o   2018 Major Championships: The winner is awarded 2 points for every $1000 won, while those who make the cut are awarded 1.5 points per $1000 earned.

The selection to the European team is almost the same, except for a few major changes announced for the qualifying process.
·         Greater weightage for points earned in tournaments in the second half of the selection process to enable players who are in form then to make it to the list.
·         No points awarded for participation/wins in tournaments conducted during the same week as the Rolex Series in 2017 and 2018.
·         Eligibility option for Captain/Vice-Captain roles only for players who have:
o   Not declined membership to the European Tour
o   Fulfilled all their minimum event obligations in a season
·         From 2018, players need to compete in only 4 tournaments sanctioned by the European Tour, apart from the Major Championships and the World Golf Championships.

Betting on Player Selection for Ryder Cup 2018
The other side to the amazing event that the Ryder Cup is the amount of betting that goes on when it comes to:
·         Choice of captain
·         List of players likely to make the team
·         The likely winner of Ryder Cup 2018

A number of online betting websites are already accepting odds on the chances of the various players from USA and Europe making it to the respective teams.

Ryder Cup 2018: US Players to Look Out For
The one thing that the world will look forward to are the players featuring in the competition. Among the American players currently in the fray and looking to get a spot in the team based on points scored are:
·         Dustin Johnson
·         Matt Kuchar
·         Bill Haas
·         Kevin Chappell
·         Ryan Moore
·         Phil Mickelson
·         Brooks Koepka
·         Jordan Spieth

Interestingly, a few names do not feature on this list yet. Of course this will most likely change over time and the final 12 may not exactly be along the same lines given the number of PGA events available for players to make a mark and take a step towards qualifying. The following are 3 US players to watch out for.

Patrick Reed
He has cemented his reputation as a top-flight golfer after the American Ryder Cup triumph at Hazeltine in 2016. Called Captain America by his teammates, he was the last man standing in his epic battle with Rory McIlroy with a victory in the final hole and coming up with a 3-1-1 show at the end of the competition. He stands currently ranked 27 but that can all change come 28th September 2018.

Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth is another name to look out for, one that is likely to make it to the US team. He is young and can be paired with any one of a galaxy of US stars; his pairing with Patrick Reed has proved phenomenal. With 2 top-3 finishes in the 2 starts he has had this year, this young man is up for great things, and a selection to the Ryder Cup team for the 2018 battle is likely to be one of them.

Phil Mickelson
At 48, Phil Mickelson is a veteran golfer and one who has made every US team for the Ryder Cup since 1995. He has never had to go the captain’s pick route to get on to the team and that is most likely to remain unchanged. Team USA will definitely benefit from his skills and also his gargantuan experience if it is to try and repeat its 2016 success story in Paris.

Ryder Cup 2018: European Players to Look Out For
Europe has in recent times boasted of a strong record in the Ryder Cup. Here are 3 players to watch out for as we head to Ryder Cup 2018.

Rory McIlroy
Talk Ryder Cup and the first European player’s name that springs to mind is Rory McIlroy. He has put in some superlative performances, one standout set being his pairing with one of the newest stars on the European golfing horizon, Thomas Pieters, in the 2016 event.

Rory McIlroy in action during the 2016 Ryder Cup

Thomas Pieters
With a 4-1-0 performance at Hazeltine in 2016, Thomas Pieters stitched together the best performance by a player on debut in the Ryder Cup. He became the best rookie in European history apart from being the top points-scorer outright; the only other person to achieve this feat was Larry Nelson in 1969.

Justin Rose
One of the things that has stood out for Justin Rose over the years has been consistency. An Olympic Champion and a winner at the 2013 US Open, Rose has played in 4 Ryder Cups and scripted one of the greatest comebacks in golf history to beat Phil Mickelson and get Europe from being 10-6 down to emerging eventual winners in the 2012 edition of the competition.

Now that you know what to look out for, you can truly enjoy watching one of the hottest golfing events in the world.