Golf: Ryder Cup Explained

The Ryder Cup is arguably the biggest tournament in golf and here at Unibet we know just how popular the three-day event is.

Golf betting fans may love the Masters, the Open and the battle for the FedEx Cup. But in reality the most tribal and hostile crowds gather for the Ryder Cup.

Indeed, it is a tournament that is steeped in history and brings out the very best (and sometimes the worst!) in golf.

American and European players dream about winning the Ryder Cup. So we’ve created this golf betting guide to help you understand what it’s all about.

You will learn what is the Ryder Cup, how to bet on the Ryder Cup and the best ways to follow all the action. Once you’ve read this guide you’ll be in a better position to head over to the Unibet sportsbook and bet on the Ryder Cup.


What is the Ryder Cup?

The Ryder Cup is a golf tournament between players from America and Europe that takes place every two years. The tournament is spread over three days and involves a number of rounds of golf, in varying formats. American players compete against Europeans for points, which are added to the total score. The team with the most points at the end of the tournament wins the Ryder Cup.

There are three types of match played in Ryder Cup golf. They are:

  • Foursomes: Players are coupled up and play as two against another team of two over one round of 18 holes. Players from each team will take it in turns to hit the same ball towards the hole. So, there are only two balls in play. If a team wins the hole, the go ‘one up’. If they lose the next hole, the score moves back to zero. Whichever team is leading after the 18th hole is the winner.
  • Four-balls: Players are again couples up to face another couple. But this time there are four balls on the course. Each player has their own ball and whoever putts the ball first wins the hole for their team. The scoring works the same way as Foursomes.
  • Singles: On the last day of the Ryder Cup the two teams split into 12 singles matches. This is now on one-on-one situation where players strive to beat their direct opponent. The scoring works the same way as Foursomes and Four-balls.

Across a Ryder Cup weekend there will be two rounds of Foursomes, two rounds of Four-balls and one round of singles. With 12 players on each team, this creates a situation where the first team to 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup. The last time the Ryder Cup was tied was back in 1989.

The USA and Europe take it in turns to host the Ryder Cup. Tournaments are playing in the northern hemisphere summer, usually around August or September.

How are players selected for the Ryder Cup?

Each Ryder Cup team has a captain who will be given a number of players selected in order of merit from their rankings. However, the captains each have a number of personal picks that they can choose from. Players will convene a week or so before the Ryder Cup starts to begin preparations for the tournament.

The captains are theoretically part of the team but they don’t actually play a round. Instead, they will decide which of the 12 players will compete across the five matches. Players can compete across all five matches, but this is a rarity.

How to watch the Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is always broadcast on television in the UK and North America. Depending on the broadcasters, you may have to pay to watch the action. However, here at Unibet you can follow it all through out In Play betting options in our sportsbook.

How to bet on Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup betting is big business as golf fans become partizan to their own teams. Remember, there are five rounds played over three days and you can bet on each individual match, as well as the singles on the Sunday. Here are just some of the big golf betting markets available on the Ryder Cup…

Match bets

This is simply when you bet on who you believe the winner will be in a particular match. On the Friday and Saturday of a Ryder Cup, this will be consigned to Foursomes and Four-balls match betting. On Sunday, you would bet on individual players in the Singles. When betting on Foursomes and Four-balls, you will bet on which team you think will win a match. For example, in a match against Francisco Molinari / Alex Noren vs Webb Simpson / Kevin Kisner, you would bet on Molinari/Noren to win if you think Europe will take the match point.

You can also bet on a draw in match betting, where the point is shared between Team USA and Team Europe. Each team will earn 0.5 points that are added to their totals. This is why sometimes the running total score will involve half points.

Correct score

This is a great way to follow a particular match through a round in the Ryder Cup. The correct score market works by predicting what the final outcome of the individual match will be. For example, you can bet on Europe to win by one stroke (+1), or USA to win by six strokes (+6). The correct score odds will change in the Unibet sportsbook as we offer In Play betting on the Ryder Cup. So you could always lay your bet (bet against your bet) when the odds change. You can also Cash Out at any time.

Tournament bets

These are the long-form bets and are more focused on the eventual outcome of the whole tournament. For example, you can bet on the Ryder Cup winning team, rather than simply a specific winning match. Often the home team in the Ryder Cup is the favourite heading into the tournament, as they have support from partizan crowds. But it’s not always as straightforward as that.

Also, be aware that the odds on tournament bets can move. So it is worth considering when the best time to make the bet is.

  • Example: You bet £1 on Team USA to win the Ryder Cup at 2.00. They win the tournament and you win £2!

Most points

You can also bet on which players will earn the most points for their team. This is particularly exciting if you like following a specific player. The market is also likely to offer greater odds here, as players don’t all compete in the same number of matches. Captains must decide who to choose for the five matches across the three days. Some of the top players may play four or five games, while others may only get two or three games. Still, if those lesser-used players earn three points, they may still become the top points scorer!

Hole in one

This is one of the golf betting specials available at Unibet. Fans love to bet on the hole in one and this is a very popular market. The odds are always high because there have six holes in one in Ryder Cup history!

Player specials

Often during the Ryder Cup we will offer player specials, such as whether or not an individual player will win more points than lose, or if one player will score more points than another player. These can be varied and are always worth checking out when betting on golf.

Bet on golf with Unibet

Now you know a bit more about the Ryder Cup it’s now time to check out the odds Unibet has to offer. We showcase hundreds of odds during the Ryder Cup weekend and in the days leading up to the tournament. You can also bet In Play during the Ryder Cup so you’ll never miss any of the action.

Meanwhile, we also offer tournament and In Play betting on all of the other big competitions in golf. This includes the four majors that take place every summer, as well as the regular tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Unibet also offers extensive betting coverage of the Solheim Cup, which is the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup. The Solheim Cup takes place in years where the Ryder Cup is not held and pits USA against Europe. The Solheim Cup originated in 1990 and has remained competitive ever since, with both the USA and Europe claiming famous victories.

The Presidents Cup is another tournament that follows a similar format, but this time between male players from the USA and the rest of the world minus Europe. It is a way of opening the world up to golf and has been played since 1994. The history may not be as strong as the Ryder Cup but the Presidents Cup is growing in competitiveness every two years.