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Ryder Cup: Watson looks a poor picker after Horschel’s 2-1-1

| 15.09.2014

USA Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson can justifiably feel pleased with his side’s final FedExCup standings, as six of the 65-year-old’s 12-man roster made the top ten following the Tour Championship, where three from each team managed said honour.

All the golf world wants to talk about today is the man who Watson missed though, after Billy Horschel became the seventh swinger to take the $10m prize for topping the playoff pile.

The fact that Horschel claimed the biggest payday in the game by winning the BMW and Tour Championships in consecutive weeks, after tying for second in the previous Deutsche Bank playoff-leg of the FedEx Cup, denotes a passed-over player in the peak of form.

Worse than that though, the memory of the 27-year-old going toe-to-toe with Rory McIlroy in the final round, and winning by three shots, may prove a torturous one for USA fans if, as expected, Europe win the Ryder Cup on their own turf for the fifth time in a row at 4/7 odds.

Nobody could have put it plainer than McIlroy did before the final round at East Lake, when the Northern Irish world number one twisted the knife into his opponents by bigging up Horschel.

“I’m sure Tom Watson is kicking himself at the minute, but anyway, he’s playing great.”

McIlroy also commented on the fine form of fellow FedEx Cup top-ten finishers Chris Kirk and Ryan Palmer, both of whom were overlooked for Gleneagles wild cards in favour of Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, presumably on the grounds of intercontinental matchplay experience.

At least one of the trio has featured at each of the last five Ryder Cup renewals, of which USA have won one. Bradley didn’t make it through the BMW Championship leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, while the other two carded +1 and +3 early on Sunday to finish eight over-par each for the tournament.

Watson looks to have been unlucky with his picks, but USA’s 7/4 odds of winning for the third time in nine Ryder Cups have looked dreadfully short for a while and should only be touched by punters who think Europe ‘have to lose one at home eventually’, so to speak.

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

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Alex Fortune