By: Edward Egros

europe

Is Team USA THAT Dominant to Win the Ryder Cup?

Pasted Graphic 1
Putting it as simply as possible, the Ryder Cup strategy seems to be for Team USA to design easier golf courses and for Team Europe to design tougher ones. It's why, in the last five Ryder Cups, the team with the home course advantage has won four of those five tournaments (with the lone outlier being in 2012, arguably the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history with Team Europe needing eight points to win and Team USA needing just 4.5 points). The logic comes from analytics groups that believe keeping the action shorter (concentrating on wedges and the putter) benefits Team USA.

The host course for 2018, Le Golf National, seems to be gaining respect from golfers as far as
how important it is to stay in the fairway, seemingly benefitting the Europeans. However, if we look at Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee from PGA Tour events, Team Europe's average slightly favors the Americans (.382 versus .348). Note: Sergio Garcia and Thorbjørn Olesen did not quality for this statistic so it was assumed their Strokes Gained to be zero.

Golfers also discussed the importance of iron and hybrid shots, so it may be safe to look at
Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green for guidance. Here, we see an advantage for the Americans: .475 versus .331. In other words, if Team USA does well with tee shots they may be unstoppable. If they have trouble finding fairways, Team Europe has an opportunity.

The Americans are heavy favorites to capture their first Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993 (
-150 versus +130 for Team Europe). While so many more players at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings belong to Team USA, do not be surprised if the long game becomes enough of an advantage for Team Europe to stay in contention.