2021 Ryder Cup Rules, Golfers To Watch, Odds

Written By FairwayJay on September 20, 2021 - Last Updated on September 23, 2021
ryder cup rules

The Ryder Cup begins Sept. 24 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Be sure you know the Ryder Cup rules, players and course information to plan your golf betting strategy before placing any 2021 Ryder Cup bets. Ryder Cup history and format are important to know too.

The three-day, typically biannual event (postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19) is packed with the best pros representing USA and the European Team.

The odds to win the Ryder Cup and lift the trophy are different across leagal sportsbooks, perhaps an indication of the difficulty in handicapping Ryder Cup rules. There are additional betting markets available that include golf prop bets.

Top Player Props For Ryder Cup


Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of fourball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day is reserved for 12 singles matches.

Check out our Ryder Cup tournament page for a full explanation of each of those golf match formats.

The three days of matches consist of 28 total matches, and each match is worth one point. There are no extra holes in Ryder Cup matches. Should the two sides be tied after 18 holes, then the match is a draw and each side earns a halve (½ point). The first team to reach 14 ½ points wins the Ryder Cup. If the matches end in a 14-14 draw, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it (Europe won in 2018).

Ryder Cup Tournament Matchups

DraftKings has posted the following tournament match-ups on which golfer will finish with the most points during the Ryder Cup.

  • Patrick Cantlay (-155) vs. Viktor Hovland (+125)
  • Dustin Johnson (-140) vs. Sergio Garcia (+115)
  • Tommy Fleetwood (-120) vs. Tony Finau (+100)
  • Collin Morikawa (-110) vs. Paul Casey (-110)
  • Xander Schauffele (-110) vs. Rory McIlroy (-110)
  • Justin Thomas (-110) vs. Jon Rahm (-110)

Golfers to Watch: Team USA Ryder Cup Results

Justin Thomas

Thomas won The PLAYERS Championship back in March, but failed to record another top 10 until the FedExCup Playoffs. He finished fourth in both The Northern Trust and TOUR Championship. He’s a fierce competitor, was the American top performer as a rookie at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, and has been the top American scorer in the last two Ryder Cups. Thomas went 4-1-0 partnering with good friend Jordan Spieth and taking down Rory McIlroy with a 1-Up Singles victory on Sunday in the 2018 event.  Combining Thomas’ Ryder Cup and President’s Cup record, he’s 6-0-0 when playing Four-Ball.

Dustin Johnson

At age 37, Johnson is the most experienced member of the USA contingent, and he’s played in four previous Ryder Cups. His record is 7-9 overall in Ryder Cup rules, going 3-5 in Four-Ball, 1-3 in Foursomes and 3-1 in Singles. Following a sensational 2020 season in which Johnson won the FedExCup, TOUR Championship and was named PGA TOUR Player of the Year, it’s been a less than par performance in 2021 for the No. 2 ranked player in the World. Johnson has played with nine different golfers during his Ryder and President Cup appearances, and only Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka from this years team. Whistling Straits appears to be a very good fit for Johnson’s game, as it was on this course in 2010 where he had the PGA Championship in his grasp only to miss out and finish 2-shots behind on a controversial 2-stroke rules violation in a waster area on the 72nd hole. Johnson finished T7 in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth has a resurgent season in 2020-21 with nine top 10 finishes that includes a win in April at the Valero Texas Open plus a pair of runner-up finishes. He’s playing in his fourth consecutive Ryder Cup, the longest string of appearances on the U.S. Team. Spieth has loved Ryder Cup rules, with record is 7-5-2 with a best mark of 5-1 in Four-Ball. He’s 2-1-2 in Foursomes but 0-3 in Singles and 0-6 in Singles matches when combining the President’s Cup. However, Spieth did finish 2nd in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Brooks Koepka

Koepka is a great competitor who gears up for the biggest events. His four major championship wins is tops on the US team, and he has 12 top-10 finishes in 16 major championship starts. At 4-3-1 in Ryder Cup play, Koepka is one of four Americans with a winning career match record in the Ryder Cup joining Thomas, Spieth and Tony Finau. Brooks Koepka is 2-2 in Four-Ball, 1-1 in Foursomes and 1-0-1 in Singles.

Bryson DeChambeau

Big bomber Bryson topped the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Whistling Straits is a better fir for his power than the course he played in Paris on his Ryder Cup debut. Ryder Cup rules were not kind to him. DeChambeau was 0-3 overall in his matches going 0-2 in Foursomes and 0-1 in Singles.

Tony Finau

Finau has a 2-1 Ryder Cup record going 1-1 in Foursomes and 1-0 in Singles on his debut in Paris. He destroyed Tommy Fleetwood 6&4 in Singles during the 2018 event, and he’s listed as a slight underdog to Fleetwood at DraftKings in that full tournament head-to-head matchup during this year’s Ryder Cup. Finau finished T10 in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, and his run of great form since late summer and a win in the FedExCup Playoffs earned him another spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Making their Ryder Cup debut for Team USA:

  • Daniel Berger
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Harris English
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Scottie Scheffler

Golfers to Watch: Team Europe Ryder Cup Results

Jon Rahm

World No. 1 Jon Rahm makes his second Ryder Cup appearance. He won his first major this year at the U.S. Open, and had 13 top-10 finishes while earning top points honors for European Team qualifiers. Rahm  narrowly lost his first two matches in Four-Balls at the 2018 Ryder Cup before beating Tiger Woods 2&1 in Singles. Added experience and his power game make Rahm a strong fit for the European Team at Whistling Straits.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy has been a winner on four Ryder Cup teams for Europe, and he’s regarded as one of the most experienced and accomplished Ryder Cup players. Overall, the Northern Irishman has played in 24 matches and won 11 while halving four matches and losing nine. In two PGA Championship events at Whistling Straits, McIlroy has finished T3 in 2010 and 17th in 2015. His game and fit for Whistling Straits is counted on with McIlroy in good form having only finished outside the top 14 once in his last five starts.

Paul Casey

Paul Casey is making his fifth Ryder Cup appearance, and he’s undefeated in nine of 12 matches across four events. The 44-year-old has enjoyed a strong 2020-21 season and it’s a bit surprising that he’s only played in two Foursome matches in his Ryder Cup career, considering his strong ball striking skills. Casey had a poor final round at Whistling Straits in the 2015 PGA Championship to drop to a T30 finish. An early hook-up with fellow Arizona State Sun Devil Jon Rahm would be a most difficult pairing for any American team.

Sergio Garcia

Garcia is making his 10th Ryder Cup appearance, and the Spaniard became Europe’s all-time leading points scorer with 25.5 points at the 2018 Ryder Cup. His game had really fallen off in recent seasons since winning the 2017 Masters. But his improved game in 2021 has been encouraging, and he is still an strong driver of the golf ball and a superb iron player. Despite a relatively poor short game on the greens, Garcia has mastered match play and partnered very well to perform at an elite level in the Ryder Cup.

Lee Westwood

The oldest member of the European Team at 48,  Ryder Cup veteran Lee Westwood makes his record-tying 11th appearance in the event on Team Europe. He’s won the Ryder Cup on seven occasions, and served as a Vice Captain on the 2018 winning team in Paris. Westwood made headlines with back-to-back runner-up finishes on the PGA TOUR in March, but is without a top 20 since.

Ian Poulter

Poulter has earned the “Postman” nickname because he delivers in the Ryder Cup. Over six appearances, Poulter has lost just six of 22 matches, and he’s undefeated in Singles. The 45-year-old has four top-10 finishes worldwide this season with two on the PGA TOUR. But his lack of driving distance and poor Greens-in-Regulation percentage makes him less likely to have such success at Whistling Straits. Still, the Postman will be counted on to deliver again as an experienced and proven Ryder Cup player.

Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood burst onto the Ryder Cup scene in 2018. In his debut, the Englishman won all four of his partner matches playing alongside Francesco Molinari before losing in Singles to Tony Finau. His lack of better play and performances this season likely means Fleetwood won’t be featured in most matches in this year’s Ryder Cup.

Tyrrell Hatton

Hatton made his Ryder Cup debut in 2018 and picked up one point from three matches with his win coming alongside Casey in the Saturday morning fourball matches. Since finishing T25 in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Hatton’s game has risen to another level. He reached top 10 in the world rankings at No. 5 earlier this year, but his level of play has fallen off and Hatton is currently ranked No. 19 in the world.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Europe is hoping Ryder Cup rules suit Fitzpatrick’s flat stick well. Fitzpatrick makes his second Ryder Cup appearance having played in 2016 on debut at Hazeltine in Minnesota. He’s considered the best putter on the European team and will be counted on to play a more significant role in this year’s event.

Making their Ryder Cup debut for the Europe

  • Viktor Hovland
  • Shane Lowry
  • Bernd Wiesberger

2021 Ryder Cup Bets And Past Performance

The opening day alternate shot Foursomes has gone the European’s way in recent years with a 15.5–8.5 lead over Team USA the last three competitions. Overall, the European Team holds a 41–31 advantage in these Foursome matches. Still, the course and setup favors the Americans, who feature many more higher-ranked and stronger players. Instead of laying nearly -200 on the Americans to lift the Ryder Cup at DraftKings Sportsbook, and you can bet on USA at +115 on both Day 1 and Day 2 to win the Foursomes and +100 to win Four-Balls in Day 1 or Day 2.

In the Top Combined Points Scorer market, you want to identify top players that will play in more matches. The best players are to be counted on; therefore, a longshot is far less likely to finish with the most points.

The players with the lowest odds at DK are:

  • Justin Thomas (+800)
  • Jon Rahm (+800)
  • Xander Schauffele (+900)
  • Jordan Spieth (+900)

But Thomas can be found at +900 at FanDuel Sportsbook while Rahm is +700. Thomas and Spieth are likely pairings the opening two days, and if those two can continue their strong partnership and Ryder Cup record together, then they appear the most likely points winner with Thomas preferred due to length, tee-to-green game and Spieth’s poor Singles performance and record.

Rahm is simply the best player in the world right now, and his game fits nearly anywhere. If you prefer his odds, then DraftKings offers the best.

Patrick Cantlay is +1000 at both sportsbooks, and he’s a clear candidate to play most often. He’s in exceptional form having won the FedExCup Playoffs and TOUR Championship. But betting on a Ryder Cup rookie to lead the team in points is not considered as prudent of a play; although, Viktor Hovland also has a strong all-around game that fits as a European rookie as well.

Despite his accomplished Ryder Cup results, Rory McIlroy has never finished as the top points scorer. His best odds of +1100 are offered at FanDuel. With some early pairings likely with fellow Irishman and Ryder Cup rookie Shane Lowery, you might consider Lowry at +2600 at FanDuel as top scorer as he gets paired with a top performer in McIlroy.

While the odds are more than cut in half for a player to be the Top Points Scorer of their particular team, betting on Rahm at +380 on FanDuel to be the Top European Points Scorer offers fairly favorable odds. You take out all American players from the team highly favored to win the event.

Top Captain’s pick overall scorer offers an intriguing price on Tony Finau (+700).

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FairwayJay is a leading national sports and gaming analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful professionals. Jay has pursued his passions and maintained a pulse on the sports, gaming and poker industries while living in Las Vegas for nearly two decades. He's been a regular featured guest on sports and gaming radio shows, podcasts and produces sports betting and related industry articles and content for various sites and sources.

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