Now that the Open has concluded, the Ryder Cup seems a lot closer, with only one more major in the PGA Championship left to play before Europe and America go to war at Le Golf National.
There will be extra spice at the showdown in Paris after American president Donald Trump’s outspoken and critical view of Europe ruffled a few feathers during his visit in July.
If ever there was a chance for major diplomatic fallout after a golf event, it will be in France over the last weekend of September in 2018.
No golf tournament stirs up as much emotion as the Ryder Cup, which is why it is arguably the biggest golfing tournament in the world but, undoubtedly, it is the most fiercely fought team competition in any sport.
For only one weekend every two years do 24 multimillionaires gather to play without any financial reward on offer; the only currency that is worth anything is pride at the Ryder Cup and, when that is on the line, all the varying emotions will come out in abundance.
Revenge is often at the forefront of the minds of players but it mostly is with spectators.
Europe were given a tough time in the States two years ago and their fans will be looking forward to welcoming the Americans to the City of Light, where romance may take a back seat in Paris for the weekend.
That won’t bother the Americans, though, as they arrive as the favourites at 13/20 to lift the trophy in Ryder Cup betting. It is up to Europe to win it back and they will need their supporters to play their part.
Golf spectators have always been known for their exemplary etiquette when a professional hits a misplaced shot as well as giving a polite round of applause when acknowledging a fine bit of play.
There is never any overreaction and if there is, the watching fans make sure they err on the side of brilliance rather than despair when making themselves heard. The Ryder Cup, on the other hand, well, all decorum goes out the window.
Both teams are backed by loud and passionate supporters that do everything in their power to give their team the upper hand.
The American supporters are known for being slightly more vociferous and have in the past let the vitriol fly at the Europeans after they have made a mistake. Shouts of ‘get in the water or sand’ can be heard and, at times, it can make for tense viewing.
The needle of the Ryder Cup has even filtered down to the Solheim Cup, which is the women’s equivalent of the event.
Some unsavoury scenes also took place during the last playing of the Solheim Cup in 2017 in Iowa and it seems the bullish American attitude is beginning to rattle of few of the Europeans, both male and female.
America are favourites to win the Solheim Cup in 2019 at 3/5, so the men will be hoping to turn the tide for Europe in 2018.
The Ryder Cup has morphed into nothing like golf has ever seen before. In this day and age of relative peace around the world, it is a battle between nations that is fought with drivers, irons, and putters.
For punters, there isn’t a better week for betting on golf as the match-play format provides endless excitement and reward. For the shrewd bettor, this is an excellent chance to maximise profits, as the games come and thick and fast, with five match-play sessions over three days.
The Formats Available To Bet On
The first of the two formats played over the opening two days is four-balls. Four-balls consists of two players on each team playing their own ball, with the winner decided by which player out of the two teams is able to record the best score per hole.
Punters need to keep an eye out for the pairings that the captains select as this gives good insight into how they plan to beat their opponents. Often captains will match up big hitters with players that have a bit more finesse around the greens.
As far as viewing pleasure goes for punters, there is no better format to watch than foursomes.
Foursomes, or otherwise known as alternative shot, is the ultimate team format in golf as a team of two players complete a hole playing one ball and hitting alternatively until the ball is in the hole.
Tenison can creep into a team if one player is not at his best and keeps making his teammate play from the less desirable places of the course, like the bushes, sand or water.
Once the four-balls and the foursomes are out of the way, it is time for the singles matches to take place on the Sunday and, once that concludes, the Ryder Cup champions will be crowned.
By this time, either America or Europe will be favourites to win before the singles tee of and punters should keep the trend of the match in mind when backing a certain player in the singles.
Ryder Cup Betting Strategies
Avoid Backing The USA On European Soil
When forming a betting strategy for the Ryder Cup, punters need to keep in mind the USA's abysmal record in Europe.
The Americans haven't won on European soil since 1993, so despite them being the favourites for the showdown in Paris, punters should be wary of their favourites tag.
Back The Putters, Not The Bombers At Le Golf National
Le Golf National is a course that doesn't suit the bombers and will punish a player that tries to get too greedy. There also aren't any drivable par fours, so punters should favour players that are good putters rather than long hitters.
The Ryder Cup will be decided on the greens, so don't go gung-ho backing a player that can hit it to Belgium because, if he can't putt, he will probably lose.
Bet On Match-Play Specialists
Don't bet against match-play specialists and do your research on who is coming up against who.
Tiger Woods who has won 14 majors has a woeful record in Ryder Cups, yet Ian Poulter who hasn't won a single major is arguably the finest Ryder Cup player of his generation.
Match play is vastly different to stroke play over 72 holes and punters should back the players that have a reputation for being specialists in the format. Punters often fall for the big players and pay the price for doing so.
Tiger Woods may be 16/1 to win the PGA Championship and Poulter only 125/1 but, in a match play environment, Poulter would be the favourite. Neglect the players with big-match temperament at your peril.
Keep Track Of The Weather Forecast
Keep an eye out for any change in weather conditions as a strong downpour or sudden strong wind can turn the tournament on its head.
Le Golf National is one of the sternest challenges in golf and punters should be wary of any weather changes as the course will begin to play extremely differently and may change the direction the match is going.
The Europeans are more at home in the wind and, if it picks up, they could well extend their 25-year winning streak on home soil.
Use The In-Play Markets
The in-play markets are full of value at the Ryder Cup and punters should monitor them closely. Ryder Cup match play has a habit of changing unexpectedly and punters will find that backing a team in play will make more sense than before they tee off.
Once the players hit the turn after nine holes there will be lots of value and predicting a winner down the stretch could make for some healthy returns given the odds.
Steer Clear Of The Rookies
A few rookies will invariably make their debuts at the Ryder Cup and it's easy to get swept up in the fanfare around them as well as the enticing odds.
The truth of the matter is that most rookies struggle in their first appearances at the Ryder Cup and can be lambs to the slaughter to older, wiser and more experienced players. They are a bit of a lottery and punters should steer clear of them.
Making A Success Of Punting On The Ryder Cup
History has a way of repeating itself and that is especially true in the Ryder Cup, with long and established trends there for all to see.
When the event swings around in late September, punters should favour Europe whenever considering a bet, given it's been two and a half decades since they lost at home.
Records are there to be broken but Europe's strong past performances in their own backyard look to carry on again in 2018.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*