Are Team Europe a Dangerous Underdog at Ryder Cup 2023?

Are Team Europe a Dangerous Underdog at Ryder Cup 2023?

Whether you’re a club hacker or a scratch handicapper, there’s no doubt that golf can be a lonely sport. When things aren’t going well out on the course, you have to find the answers within yourself – nobody is going to help you out of your funk.

While golf is individualistic in nature, there’s no doubting the excitement and anticipation that greets the sport’s premier team-based competition, the biennial Ryder Cup, which pits Team America against Team Europe.

The 2023 edition, to be played at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, will see the Americans look to defend the title they won so comfortably in Wisconsin back in 2021.

But on their travels, the reigning champions rarely have things their own way.

Home Comforts

As far as the Ryder Cup golf bets are concerned, America are a firm favourite to successfully defend their honour as they are 8/15 to retain, with Europe the outsider at 2/1. However, this is surprising considering the Europeans have won the last six editions of the competition played on their home continent.

There’s no doubt that being selected to choose the host venue makes a huge difference in the outcome of the Ryder Cup. Europe have, for the most part, chosen Links-based courses like Le Golf National, Gleneagles and Celtic Manor as their host because these conditions give the home contingent a major advantage as the wind blows and the ground gets firmer and faster.

Perhaps they have missed a trick in 2023, then. The Marco Simone club is found on the inland side of the city of Rome, in contrast to the European’s typical ploy of picking coastal venues. It will be interesting to see if they rue that decision come October 1.

The away contingent are likely to get a frosty reception from the home support, as is customary in the Ryder Cup, so it will be interesting to see how they handle such a cauldron-like atmosphere. In Paris back in 2018, a raucous crowd cheered Europe on to a 17.5-10.5 victory – some of the American team of 2023 will have bad memories of their last trip to the continent.

LIV and Let Live

Make no mistake, Team America captain Zach Johnson will want LIV Golf rebels Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson on his team, while Talor Gooch and even Patrick Reed would be in the discussion for wildcard picks.

But at what cost? Golf’s civil war has shattered friendships and divided the sport like never before, so would Johnson want to risk team harmony by picking the LIV contingent in his team?

There’s no such problems on the European side, as captain Luke Donald has confirmed that LIV talents like Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood will not be considered for selection.

He has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal anyway. Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Matt Fitzpatrick reside in the top 10 of the world rankings, while Tyrrell Hatton (16), Tommy Fleetwood (22) and Sepp Straka (27) are not far behind.

Justin Rose and Shane Lowry are experienced campaigners with major wins and past Ryder Cups to their name, while Seamus Power’s consistency could lead him all the way to the PGA TOUR’s money-spinning seasonal finale, the TOUR Championship.

Add into the mix talents like Thomas Detry and Adrian Meronk, who impressed in the WGC Match Play event earlier this season, and you can see why so many are bullish about Europe’s chances on home soil.

Sometimes, an easy case can be made for the underdog…


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