The European victory: Henrik Stenson at evens against Jordan Spieth
Europe need blue on the board early and I’ll be betting they get it with Henrik Stenson. With only a point to show for his troubles so far, the Swede will be burning to have an impact at Hazeltine and I think he’s got a decent draw in Jordan Spieth.
It’s a good job USA skipper Davis Love III cut down the Hazeltine rough. Spieth’s driving has been all over the place and, in the latter part of the Saturday fourballs, he looked physically and mentally frazzled.
Fairways and greens, which is what we’re guaranteed from Stenson, can ratchet up the pressure on the fatigued American. We know he’s the best putter in golf, he’s going to need to be if he keeps spraying it all over the state of Minnesota.
The American success: Brandt Snedeker at 10/11 against Andy Sullivan
Had it not been for a dunked tee shot into the drink at the 17th in the opening foursomes, Andy Sullivan would probably have been a big feature at this Ryder Cup.
Instead, he’s been kicking his heels ever since and there is a danger that he is woefully undercooked going into the singles.
That’s a huge problem for Europe because Davis Love III’s faith in Brandt Snedeker has revitalised the American.
In indifferent form for much of the year, Sneds has come alive with Brooks Koepka and has shown his class on the greens on his way to bringing home two valuable points.
Sullivan doesn’t lack courage. He’s going to need all of it to prevail on a course he’s barely seen in competitive action. I won’t be betting that he does.
The price that’s too big: Patrick Reed at 15/8 against Rory McIlroy
I can’t wait to see this game. The two talismen of their respective Ryder Cup teams going head-to-head. Whoever wins is going to give their side an enormous boost.
Patrick Reed has just been ridiculously good at Hazeltine – the way he dismantled Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson single-handedly in the Saturday fourballs was one of the great Ryder Cup performances.
Rory has stepped up as the beating heart of this European outfit and his desire to silence the raucous crowd has brought out the best in him. Add in that he’s never lost in the singles and it starts to look good for the Europeans.
It’s not that I think McIlroy will lose. Far from it. But, given what we’ve seen over the past two days, I can’t fathom why Reed should be a shade under 2/1.
In betting, you are often looking for the price that’s wrong. If you can find it consistently, then you will make a profit. This price looks too big.
The one to leave alone: Lee Westwood vs Ryan Moore
Both these players should be watching the action today at home. Darren Clarke’s faith in Westwood has been blind, while Moore’s performance this week has shown the folly of the USA’s fourth wildcard.
Westwood’s miss on the last in the fourballs was an absolute shocker, and nothing new, but does that mean Ryan Moore should be an odds-on shout in the singles? Don’t be daft.
The American was a passenger as JB Holmes guided the USA to a point. And whatever you want to say about Westwood – and we’ve talked a lot about his putting over the years – he doesn’t lack heart.
That said, his Ryder Cup singles record – three wins and six defeats in nine outings – doesn’t breed confidence either.
It’s tempting to put Westwood into a Ryder Cup acca, given his huge price of 13/8 and Moore’s mediocrity, but do so at your own risk.
The halved match: Zach Johnson vs Matt Fitzpatrick
They play out games to a conclusion at the Ryder Cup but there’s little appetite for it once the result has been assured. When you’ve been in the heat of battle all week, it can be hard to get into that anchor role.
The crowds are watching the crucial matches further round the course. Only if the Ryder Cup gets tight will they flock back to this final clash.
Zach Johnson was stuck at the bottom of the order at Gleneagles. The result? A half with Victor Dubuisson. At 6/1, I’m going to be betting that history repeats itself.