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Ryder Cup 2014: A dummies’ guide to the Gleneagles festivities

| 25.09.2014

Two captains, 12 blokes on either team and three days of fist-pump inducing golf is what the by-annual Ryder Cup is all about as Europe and the USA’s finest players get all patriotic for three days.

However, for those punters who are taking their first tentative steps into the world of Ryder Cup betting we’ve broken down the format and running order so you know exactly what’s going on when Gleneagles comes alive to the sounds of raucous crowds.

In case you missed it, home advantage and a two-tournament winning streak have seen Europe installed as the 4/9 favourites to lift the trophy (remembering a draw would see them hoist it aloft too), while USA are the 13/8 outsiders to wrestle it back.

For a selection of betting previews on the event to help you spend your pennies wisely, click here.

Match Play

The most important thing to remember is points win prizes. Unlike strokeplay where the numbers of shots taken per hole are counted against par, match-play is an accumulation of points.

In simple terms, if an individual or a pair shoot lower than their opponents on a given hole, they will win that hole, thereby earning a point, while if the same amount of shots are taken the hole is halved.

For a more detailed analysis, it’s worth checking out this dedicated match-play page courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia.

Fourballs (also known as ‘better ball’)

Played in teams of two, each player plays their own ball throughout the round. Each hole is won by the team whose member has the lowest score on that hole, and that team is awarded a point for the hole. Bingo.

In 2012 USA cleaned up on the first day in this format, winning 3-1 from the four matches. Tom Watson’s boys are 7/4 shots to win the first day’s fourballs at Gleneagles. Another 3-1 scoreline can be backed at 5/1.


Golfers compete in teams of two, using one ball, and taking alternate shots until the hole is completed. Team members also take turns in teeing off on each hole. Still there?

Justin Rose and Ian Poulter brought home the bacon on consecutive days at Medinah in this event two years ago on the Friday and Saturday. The pair are neck-and-neck at 6/4 to be the top-scoring Englishmen at Gleneagles over the three days.


The easiest one of the lot. Simply put, a player from either team goes head-to-head for those precious points over 18 holes in match-play format.

It’s rumoured that Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, the poster boys of either side, will be sent out to battle on Sunday in this format while both are favourites to top-score overall for their teams at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.

Running order:

Friday – 4 fourball (better ball) matches in the morning, followed by 4 foursome matches in the afternoon

Saturday – 4 fourball (better ball) matches in the morning, followed by 4 foursome matches in the afternoon

Sunday – 12 singles matches

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.