Ryder Cup - Team Europe Profiles
US Open champion Graeme McDowell has hailed 2010 as a ‘special year' for European golf and has every confidence that he and his eleven team mates can regain the Ryder Cup from the United States of America.
McDowell's confidence certainly doesn't seem misplaced. The European team are 4/6 to win the biannual tournament at the expense of their American counterparts, who incidentally, are priced at 6/4 to defend the trophy they won at Valhalla in 2008.
Indeed , Monty's men come into the Ryder Cup in fantastic form. The last five events on The European Tour have been won by a player from Montgomerie's team, with Martin Kaymer winning last week's KLM Open, Miguel Angel Jiménez clinching the Omega European Masters, Edoardo Molinari triumphing at the Johnnie Walker Championship, Peter Hanson winning the Czech Open and Kaymer, again, sealing his first Major at the US PGA Championship.
Monty himself has happily said "I'm very happy with the form of all the players, the form of Luke Donald, the form of Edoardo Molinari, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Martin Kaymer is superb, really."
The most experienced member of the 2010 European team is Lee Westwood. The 37 year old will be participating in his seventh Ryder Cup and despite that first Major title still eluding him, the Worksop born star has played some of the most consistent form of his career this season. Westwood is priced at 6/1 to be the leading European points scorer and 21/10 to be the Top Englishman.
Westwood's experience will be much sought after by the six Ryder Cup rookie's in Europe's ranks. Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson and the Molinari brothers will be donning the European polo shirt for the first time.
McIlroy may be a rookie in terms of the Ryder Cup but in terms of quality he's right up there with the best on show at Celtic Manor. The Ulsterman tied for third place in both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2010 and currently sits in ninth place in the official world rankings. The 21 year old can be backed at 4/1 to become the Top Debutant in this year's competition and is the 5/1 favourite to be Europe's top point scorer.
Another player making his Ryder Cup bow despite his undoubted talent is the German Martin Kaymer. 25 year old Kaymer became only the second German, after Bernhard Langer, to win a Major after outplaying the field at the 2010 PGA Championship. That win has rocketed him up to sixth in the world rankings. The price for Kaymer to finish as Europe's Top Rookie is 3/1 and is 8/11 to win his singles match in Wales.
Ross Fisher earned his place in Newport by qualifying through the European Tour points list along with Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari. Fisher has odds of 9/2 of being Europe's Top Rookie in comparison to the 5/1 of Molinari and 10/1 of Hanson.
When it came to naming the wild card picks for this year's edition of the Ryder Cup, it could be argued that Montgomerie faced the toughest decision of any European Captain in history. Eventually he named Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari as the three men to complete his line-up.
Three time Major Championship winner Harrington was a somewhat controversial choice after a poor season by his own high standards but Monty could not ignore the Irishman. The only player in the European team to win three Majors could be a major player in the match play with few of the Americans relishing the prospect of teeing off against him. The experienced pro is 13/8 to finish as Europe's Top Wild Card and is the 8/1 joint favourite to be Tiger Woods singles opponent at Celtic Manor.
Luke Donald has lost only one of seven Ryder Cup games, has a perfect four wins out of four in foursomes and was third at The Celtic Manor Resort in June's Celtic Manor Wales Open. That's not a bad couple of reasons to have included the talented 32 year old. Donald is 1/3 to be selected as part of his favoured foursomes and we also have a special market for Luke named ‘Donald Duck'. This is a price of 10/1 for Donald to score 0 tournament points, surely he'll avoid this?
Edoardo Molinari completed the Captain's wild card choices and could play alongside his brother Francesco. They won the Omega Mission Hills World Cup together last November and Edoardo, winner of The Challenge Tour last season, also staked his claims by winning the Dunlop Phoenix title in Japan and the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond - as well as coming second to Ernie Els in the US PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational. The ‘Brothers Grim' special could prove disastrous for Europe if it does occur. Both Molinari brothers to lose their singles matches can be backed at a special 10/3.
Two of the most experienced players at Monty's disposal are Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Making their third and fourth appearances respectively, these are two players that Montgomerie will be looking to for some points on the board.
Poults' overall record at the Ryder Cup reads an impressive played 7, won 5 lost 2 and was one of the only players to come out of the defeat at Valhalla with their reputation intact.
Jimenez has a slightly less convincing Ryder Cup record with just two victories in twelve matches. The Spaniard comes into the tournament in possibly the best form of his career and will be looking for an upturn in fortunes here.
Poulter can be backed at 9/1 to be Europe's Top Points Scorer in comparison to the 16s on offer for Jimenez.