Padraig Harrington engages in some shameless self-promotion at Celtic Manor. Tut, tut.
Finally. After two years of waiting, 10 minutes of listening to a Colin Montgomerie press conference and 50 seconds of Wikipedia-ing who the Molinari brothers are, the big day is almost upon us. Without doubt, it’s our favourite clash of two continents that doesn’t involve tectonic activity, deep sea earthquakes and the chance of a tsunami. Yes it’s the Biennial Festival Of Transatlantic Simmering Disdain also known as the Ryder Cup.
Monty is in charge of the Europeans and already his fantastic ability not to be Nick Faldo has earned praise from various quarters. A few eyebrows were raised when he included an out of form Padraig Harrington in his team, but even that decisions looks shrewd after Harrington surprised the world by not playing like a complete tool last weekend. Further praise came his way when he announced a ban on his players using Twitter for the duration of the tournament. Oh how will we ever cope without Graeme McDowell's observations on haircuts or Ian Poulter trying to sell us stuff from his clothing label? Sadly it looks like the ban only applies to ‘team secrets’ but hopefully ‘anything that Ian Poulter thinks’ will fall into the confidential category.
Of all the tasks American Ryder Cup captains have had to face in the history of the competition, Corey Pavin must surely have one of the most difficult. If constantly reassuring Phil Mickelson that America hasn’t ceased to exist just because he can't see it anymore wasn’t enough, he's got the drag of dealing with the Tiger Woods circus. First and foremost he was faced with the thankless ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ dilemma of whether or not to hand him a wildcard. On one hand, Tiger hasn’t been playing at his best, but that’s still good enough to make him a pretty useful player. On the other, with constant prying questions, the possibility that he'll be a lightning rod for anti-American abuse and the high likelihood of him hogging the pick of Ryder Cup groupies, leaving him out must have been tempting. Even when he wasn’t in the middle of a colossal personal crisis Tiger looks forward to the Ryder Cup with all the relish he reserves for the release of the latest issue of the National Enquirer. His record in the Biennial Festival Of Transatlantic Simmering Disdain is poor and they did pretty well without him when he missed out on Valhalla.
And with the snide insults out of the way, it’s on to the golf itself. Only joking, there’ll be plenty more snide insults. Rarely in recent years has the Ryder Cup gone as expected. In 2004 and 2006, the Europeans were supposed to have the weakest team since the Anaemic All Stars, but they went on to record comprehensive ass-whuppings over their much more decorated American rivals. In 2008, the monogrammed air-cushioned Footjoy available at IanPoulterDesign.com for £99.99 was well and truly on the other foot as an American team that looked to be made up of anyone who happened to hanging around the local trailer park recorded a convincing win over Nick Faldo’s ego. We’ve already paid out on Europe winning, but that’s rarely been a guarantee of anything coming to pass. If the trend of (a) the underdog coming good and (b) our early payouts maintaining their amazing lack of accuracy, the US of A have a great chance. Or it might be a draw. We've definitely narrowed the options down to those three choices.
Slightly more complicated but potentially more lucrative are the Top Pointscorer markets. Unless by Top Pointscorer we mean one of those point-scoring contests groups of young men on holiday in Crete have where you get 5 points for a snog, 20 points for a fiddle, 50 points for sex and a million points for catching the trinity of Chlamydia, syphilis and Gonorrhea then you probably shouldn’t consider backing Tiger to be Top US Pointscorer. Or Top Combined Pointscorer for that matter. At this point we should clarify that our bets will be settled in the number of points they accumulate from their matches at the Ryder Cup and not how many STIs they can accumulate whilst in Wales. Big names like Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson are obvious choices, but plumping for NON DESCRIPT YOUNG AMERICAN GOLFER could be the way to go. We don’t know which one €“ go for any of them, they’re all basically the same.
The European picture is equally unclear, but Ian Poulter might be the one to look out for. When not trying to sell us stuff on Twitter or pick out his outfit for his next tournament, we’ll begrudgingly admit that he’s actually quite a good player. He was the star performer for Europe in Valhalla although admitedley it wasn’t the most hotly contested of accolades. And if one thing stands out from his tweets €“ apart of course from an obvious lack of a spell-check option on his phone €“ it’s his passion for the Ryder Cup. Without wanting to name names, other more curly haired members of the team from Northern Ireland don’t have the enthusiasm for the event. In defeating Bowser, the Mario Brothers had a very good season and they're well worth considering. Needless insults aside, the Molinari brothers have been playing some good golf. They’re likely to get paired together for at least a couple of matches and a couple of wins for the brothers in arms would put them in with a great chance of topping the list of European point scorers.
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Sadly the amount of insults we've prepared isn't enough to go through the huge range of betting opportunities we've got on the Ryder Cup, but they're all on the website so why not have a gander or give us your [probably way more researched and considered] tips for the few days at Celtic Manor.
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Ryder Cup Matches
Fri. 7am Sky Sports 1
If your selection loses before the 16th hole, Paddy Power will refund your single match bet. Conditions
RYDER CUP BETTING