There’s no shame in admitting that you didn’t see Europe’s history-making rally to win the Ryder Cup coming. Neither did some of Britain's biggest bookmakers.
Betting on sports is legal in Britain, and betting can even take place while the action is going on, with the odds shifting depending on what’s happening at the time. The Europeans, down 10-6 to the Americans heading into the singles, teed off Sunday morning facing 8-to-1 odds against them coming back to win the Ryder Cup – and that, I have to say, seemed like pretty short odds at the time, given the enormity of the challenge they faced.
Yet even as players like Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy piled up some early points for the blue and gold, the odds on a European win rose to as high as 14 to 1. So the folks who were brave enough to bet on Europe at that time were nicely compensated for keeping the faith.
The bets that cost the bookmakers the most, according to Britain’s PA Sport wire service, came right at the very end of the day. One was that Martin Kaymer or Francesco Molinari would secure the winning point or half point. The odds on either of those players were 33 to 1, seeing as how the oddsmakers figured the Ryder Cup would be decided before their matches were complete.
The other, which developed as the singles progressed, was that the Ryder Cup would end in a 14-14 tie. It looked to be headed that way until Tiger Woods missed a relatively short putt on the 18th hole and then conceded Molinari’s putt. That meant their individual match ended all square, but made the final score 14 ½ to 13 ½.
"While it was impossible not to get caught up in such a fantastic victory, Woods' miss resulted in us taking a really heavy beating," SkyBet's Ned Brooker told PA Sport.
No worries, though. The bookmakers have already laid down the preliminary odds for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland. The Europeans are a 10/11 favorite to win yet again, and Paul McGinley of Ireland is the favorite to be named Europe's skipper.
You can even bet on who you think will make the team. Right now, the 12 favorites to be on that 2014 European squad are, in order: Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Colsaerts, Matteo Manassero, Peter Hanson and Francesco Molinari.