Rory McIlroy is 9/1 favourite with Victor Chandler to win this week’s Omega European Masters, the first qualifying event of a battle to see which 12 players defend the Ryder Cup under Jose Maria Olazabal’s captaincy at Medinah in Chicago on September 28-30 next year.
Half of last October’s winning side at Celtic Manor are at Crans-sur-Sierre, with 10/1 shot Lee Westwood, 18/1 chance Martin Kaymer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari all involved.
But they are not the only ones from that team involved right from the kick-off. With world ranking points deciding five places Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington will be hoping the FedEx Cup play-offs in America provide them with fast starts too.
Across the Atlantic this week, Donald heads the Deutsche Bank Championship betting
on 10/1, while Harrington can be backed at 60/1 here, Poulter is 66/1 and McDowell 100/1.
High up in the Swiss Alps, Olazabal says he is confident that Europe’s stars will “peak at the right times” in the year-long race for Ryder Cup places.
Olazabal told the European Tour website: “I’m excited that the qualification period is starting and it will be interesting to see how the players perform and how it develops over the next year.
“It is going to be very difficult to make the team – to be one of the top five on the European points list or the world points list is going to be tough.
“The players will have to play really well to make it and I am sure they are preparing themselves to peak at the right times so that we can have the best chance to win.
“We know that we will have a tough battle in Chicago next year, but if the boys keep on playing the way that they have been for the last couple of years then I think we will have a good chance.”