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Ryder Cup

Switch in strategy for Donald as Europe look to start on front foot

Published on September 28, 2023
Updated on September 29, 2023
Written by Chris

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Switch in strategy for Donald as Europe look to start on front foot
  • Europe opt to start with foursomes
  • Choice made after statistical analysis
  • Europeans unbeaten at home since 1993

In a bid to secure a “fast start” and extend their 30-year unbeaten home run against the United States, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald, has implemented a change in opening strategy by opting to begin with the foursomes. The US recorded a historic 19-9 victory in 2021, but they have not clinched a win on European soil since their triumph at The Belfry in 1993.

Europe look to start with foursomes in a bid to seize initiative

Contrary to recent tradition of starting with fourballs, Europe will kick off this week’s matches with foursomes, a format they originally used back in 1993. Donald explained, “It was decided this was the best way to go,” citing a thorough analysis of team statistics. He believes they have strong pairings for foursomes, which give them a slight statistical advantage.

“It was decided this was the best way to go,” explained Donald.

“It’s really just a deep dive into statistics of the team. We feel like we have some strong foursomes pairings. We feel like we are just slightly stronger statistically in foursomes to fourballs.

“In Ryder Cups, you want to get off to an early lead. We have an opportunity to send out four strong pairings and hopefully grab an early lead.”

The home side holds the choice to begin Friday’s initial session with either four foursomes or four fourball matches, with the alternate format scheduled for the afternoon session. Saturday will witness two more sessions of team matches, followed by Sunday’s 12 singles.

While Donald mentioned that nothing is finalised regarding player pairings, he underscored the importance of statistics in the decision-making process. He commended Italy’s Edoardo Molinari for his extensive work in this area over several years. Molinari, a Ryder Cup veteran himself, has been collaborating with players both on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, focusing on statistical analysis.

“He knows that numbers can make a difference. Certainly we are relying on Edoardo and his numbers, [although] not 100%, to make all our decisions. All our decisions come from instinct and gut as well as statistics.” Donald added

Furthermore, Donald pointed out that they have accumulated a wealth of statistical data from the past three Italian Opens, all of which were held at the same venue. He expressed hope that this wealth of information will contribute to a successful campaign in regaining the Cup.

Among the twelve players representing Europe this week, the 2021 and 2022 Italian Open winners, Nicolai Hojgaard and Bob MacIntyre, have earned their spots. However, Poland’s Adrian Meronk, the victor in May, did not make the cut for Donald’s six wildcard selections, alongside the six qualifiers.

Betting Implications

Many pundits believe that the United States have a better team on paper and for weeks they were the bookies favourites. However, the odds are now in favour of Europe. Donald appears to have fostered a positive attitude among his squad and key players appear to be coming into form at the right time. In addition, history is with the Europeans. Away wins in the Ryder Cup are extremely rare and the last time the USA triumphed on European soil was in 1993 at the Belfry, Should the competition be tied, for the first time since 1989, then the United States as holders would retain the trophy. Bettors need to analyse the form of the players on both sides coming into the tournament and assess whether they think Europe can preserve their magnificent home record or whether the undoubted talent in the American line up will prove to be too much for Donald’s squad.

While Europe are now classes as favourites, it is a contest which could go either way. At the time of writing, BetVictor are offering evens on Europe and 11/10 on the USA, with a draw at 16/1.

To lift the trophy (a draw would see the USA retain the Ryder Cup) bet365 currently price Europe at evens and the USA at 4/5.

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Check out all the Ryder Cup Europe vs US information you need ahead of this year’s Ryder Cup with

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise