Team Golf & Matchplay

Team Golf & Matchplay

There are three main Cup contests that are bet on - the Ryder Cup (Europe v US), the President's Cup (US v The Internationals, ie. the rest of the world minus Europe) and the Solheim Cup (Europe v US women) and the big word of warning is: bet on the late singles in team golf at your peril!

Ryder Cup 2008 In recent Ryder and Solheim Cups we have seen what can happen once an overall result has been achieved - players still out on the course concede their individual match or shake hands on a half, or play on to the bitter end for pride.

Anything can happen and usually does. That's why the price of the tie in matches at the bottom of the draw is much shorter.

Betting on team golf is fraught with danger. Remember that if you back a team in the Ryder Cup and the result is a tie - we've seen two of those, in 1969 and 1989 - you lose your money because the price for a tie is quoted.

But if you back a team in the President's Cup, where the rules say that, in the event of the match finishing up all square, one nominated player from each side will fight it out until a winner is declared, you get your money back if unforeseen circumstances occur, such as insufficient time or light which prevent an outright result being obtained. At least, that's what happened in South Africa in 2003, after which both teams had half a cup.

The two main matchplay events are entirely different. The one at La Costa, California, is 18-hole matchplay right up to the 36-hole final. That is a format which guarantees upsets every round. It is short-haul golf and once you get a couple behind, there is next to no time to get them back.

A couple of years ago Tiger Woods lost to reserve Peter O'Malley in the first round, and in 2004 he would again have made a first-round exit if opponent John Rollins's nerve had held. Instead, Woods staggered past the post... and went on to win the tournament.

The second, at Wentworth, is far longer established and is 36-hole knockout from start to finish.

Hence, more logical results and continuity, with local resident Ernie Els becoming a five-time winner in 2003, matching the feat of Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros. In both tournaments there is a grey area over what the actual winning score is, whether it is, say 2 and 1 or 3 and 1 when players shake hands without finishing a hole.

This is important on spread betting supremacy markets. What counts, whether you agree with it or not, is the winning score as announced by each match referee.