Trader tips: Ryder Cup

The 2018 Ryder Cup is almost upon us: the captains have chosen their teams, and golfers from Europe and the United States are preparing to go for glory at Le Golf National in France.

Jim Furyk’s American selection are slight favourites with the market, but we’re not so sure the US are as likely to triumph as some have suggested.

They might have experience on their side, with 139 previous Ryder Cup matches across their team as opposed to Europe’s 124, and they might be able to call upon a revitalised Tiger Woods and two of this year’s major winners in Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed, but we have reason to believe you shouldn’t be so quick to write off the Europeans.

First off, home field advantage should not be underestimated. Just one of the last six Ryder Cups have gone against the hosts – 2012’s Miracle at Medinah – and even that was decided by the narrowest of margins.

The value of the home crowd cheering players on has only strengthened of late, with the last couple of tournaments bringing winning margins of five (for Paul McGinley’s Europe in 2014) and six (for Davis Love III’s US two years ago).

While this is the first ever Ryder Cup to take place in France, following a run of predominantly British and Irish courses, Thomas Bjørn will still be hopeful of the familiar climes working in his team’s favour.

What’s more, the Ryder Cup is often a stage where the underdogs flourish.

The unfancied team has emerged victorious more often than not over the last eight meetings between the US and Europe.

Both teams have defied underdog status in the last decade, with Europe’s 2012 heroes getting the job done against the odds and the US upsetting Nick Faldo’s highly-fancied European team four years earlier to deliver a crushing blow at Valhalla.

The same has gone for a fair few singles matchups in the past, as evidenced by both Woods and Phil Mickelson – the two most experienced players on Team USA – holding winning records of less than 50% across their Ryder Cup appearances.

Don’t be fooled by rankings, either: three of the top four players in the world are American, but that doesn’t account for the great intangible of team spirit.

Europe have shown in the past that they often perform better when punching up, developing something of a siege mentality when up against it on paper, and there’s no reason to think this won’t happen again in France.

With the prices so close going into the competition, any movement up to and during the first day is likely to present opportunities for trading. Even if you fancy Europe to win or draw, it could be worth keeping an eye on prices as they shift up and down.

The last outright draw came back in 1989, but six Ryder Cups since then have been decided by a single point. Could it happen again? Its nearly time to find out.