The United States of America has won seven of the nine previous Presidents Cup events, including the last four straight, and bookmakers are quite within their rights to quote the home team as the long odds-on favourite in 2013.
United States of America captain Fred Couples has got 12 golfers ranked in the world’s top 28 from which to choose, whereas his International counterpart, Nick Price, has only four golfers in his dozen that are ranked above the lowest United States of America squad member. Bill Haas brings up the rear for the United States of America side, with just Adam Scott (second), Jason Day (16th), Charl Schwartzel (19th) and Ernie Els (23rd) ranked above the American.
Statistically, this year’s Presidents Cup at the Muirfield Village Golf Club is a total mismatch. The United States of America side has an average world ranking of 14th and a standard deviation of nine. The International team has an average world ranking of 34 and a standard deviation of 18. The United States of America side has more top-class golfers and fewer weak links than its International opponent.
Unfortunately, Youwin’s odds of 1.36 about the United States of America are not of great interest to the average punter who bets in tens rather than hundreds or thousands. So one must look at the Presidents Cup exotics for better bets.
With 12 of the world’s top 28 golfers, the United States of America team does not have anything that one could describe as a hole. But its ranks do include some golfers who have better match play and Muirfield Village Golf Club numbers than others, with Matt Kuchar having sufficient form in the book to support backing him to be the top United States of America points scorer at odds of 10.00 with a wide range of bookmakers, including Betfred, Sky Bet and Totesport, and also backing the 35-year-old American to be top tournament points scorer at odds of 17.00 with Boylesports.
Kuchar won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February 2013 and, four months later, took out the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at the Muirfield Village Golf Club. Kuchar blitzed the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance field, finishing at least five strokes ahead of everyone except Kevin Chappell, who was two shots off the pace.
Only Tiger Woods boasts a better Muirfield Village Golf Club record than Kuchar and, with Woods trading at significantly short odds and having produced poor results in multi-player competitions, Kuchar is the value pick. Kuchar has played in eight events at the Muirfield Village Golf Club for one win, two more top fives and another two top 10s. Indeed, Kuchar has not finished outside the top 10 in a Muirfield Village Golf Club tournament since 2007 and even then he was 13th.
Unearthing a International top points scorer selection is very tricky because the 12 golfers on the underdog side has played a total of 57 Muirfield Village Golf Club events and Els accounts for 20 of them. Els has made the cut in 18 of those 20 tournaments, recording six top 10s and winning in 2004. One could certainly do worse than back Els at odds of 11.00 with 888sport to top score for the International team. But maybe it is worth Branden Grace, who shapes as the most likely partner for Els, at odds of 17.00 with Spreadex instead. Grace is a product of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation so it would make sense for Price to pair up the South African master with his compatriot apprentice.
Of all the golfers participating in the Presidents Cup, the one whom punters should look to oppose is Brandt Snedeker. The world number nine has failed to make the cut of a Muirfield Village Golf Club competition in six attempts, falling five strokes short of the required number earlier this year after shooting rounds of 72 and 80. It is one thing not to have a played on a course before; it is quite another to have played on it terribly time after time.