Presidents Cup guide
A preview and best bets for this week's Presidents Cup showdown at Muirfield Village in Ohio, USA.
By Dave Tindall Twitter: @DaveTindallgolf
Last Updated: 02/10/13 2:23pm
Ahead of the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia there was a strong belief that conditions were ideal for the International team to beat the Americans for just the second time in the tournament's history.
Although the US had won all five matches on American soil, the outcome hadn't been as easy to predict when they played away.
At Royal Melbourne in 1998, the Internationals had thrashed Jack Nicklaus' team 20.5-11.5 while the two sides had played out a thrilling 17-17 tie in South Africa in 2003. It took until the third time of asking for the US to win on the road (19.5-14.5 in Canada in 2007) and even then that was just a short hop over the border.
So the feeling in 2011 was that a return to Royal Melbourne would play into the Internationals' hands again. National hero Greg Norman was skipper and he had five Aussies on his 12-man team.
By contrast, the inexperienced Americans were carrying six rookies into battle so looked vulnerable up against all those Australians with extensive course knowledge of the quirky Royal Melbourne layout.
The theory looked good except Fred Couples' team blew it apart in stunning fashion by cruising to a 19-15 win.
That result adds weight to the theory that this crop of Americans really have lots going for them when it comes to matchplay.
Take a look at the results of their last six team events:
2007 Won Presidents Cup 19.5-14.5 in Canada
2008 Won Ryder Cup 16-5-11.5 in Valhalla - only their second win in the last nine
2009 Won Presidents Cup 19.5-14.5 in San Francisco
2010 Lost Ryder Cup 14.5-13.5 at Celtic Manor when big underdogs
2011 Won Presidents Cup 19-15 at Royal Melbourne
2012 Lost Ryder Cup 14.5-13.5 in amazing circumstances after trading at 1/50 on final day
In other words, they've reeled off four convincing wins and lost a couple of thrillers.
Looking at this year's line-ups and it's hard to look past another of those big victories when they host the Internationals at Muirfield Village in Ohio - the regular home of the PGA Tour's Memorial tournament (last three winners are Kuchar, Stricker and Woods - all on the US team this week!)
United States: Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth.
Internationals: Adam Scott, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Hideki Maruyama, Branden Grace, Graham DeLaet, Richard Sterne, Angel Cabrera, Marc Leishman, Brendon de Jonge.
To highlight their strength, the four rookies on the US team are Jason Dufner (major winner), Keegan Bradley (major winner, star of last Ryder Cup), Brandt Snedeker (2012 FedEx Cup champ) and Jordan Spieth (one of the hottest players on the planet).
The 2/7 about a US victory is too prohibitive but given the winning margins of some of their recent successes it looks perfectly reasonable to back them on the handicap (-3.5).
To cover and win the bet the US need to win by 19-15 or better.
As for correct scorelines, have a small play on 19.5-14.5 and 20-14 (both pay 10/1).
Turning to the top scorer markets and Steve Stricker looks the best play for the Americans at 13/2.
He's fresher that most after his limited schedule this year, won the Memorial tournament at this week's venue - Muirfield Village - two years ago, was in great form during the play-offs and is likely to partner Tiger.
Okay, they've taken a couple of heavy losses together but they've clicked in this competition before and Tiger always seems more at ease in the Presidents Cup - especially under the captaincy of 'Mr Laidback', Fred Couples.
For the Internationals, Scott is the obvious choice but makes limited appeal at 4/1.
So why not take a flyer on wildcard pick Brendon de Jonge.
Nick Price will obviously give his friend and countryman some decent game time having picked him as a wildcard and de Jonge is in good form and should make an ideal foursomes partner.
If, as expected, the US dominate, this market could be won with relatively few points so he's a good each-way (1/4 1,2,3) bet at 16s.
6pts USA (-3.5) to win on the handicap at 5/6
1pt USA to win 19.5-14.5 at 10/1
1pt USA to win 20-14 at 10/1
2pts Steve Stricker to be top US points scorer at 13/2
1pt e.w. Brendon de Jonge to be top International points scorer at 16/1 (1/4 1,2,3)