Who will finish as top points scorer at the Ryder Cup? Our 6 men to watch

The Ryder Cup is about to take over our lives for another glorious weekend, with eight players preparing to play in the competition for the first time when they tee up at Le Golf National near Paris.

A European team featuring five rookies take on a USA side that will include three debutants experiencing the tension of this event for the first time, yet experience counts for so much in this pressure-laden event. You don’t have to miss a moment, with all the Ryder Cup action streaming live on NOW TV.

Here is your guide to six of the key men who will be battling it out to finish as top points scorer at the 42nd Ryder Cup. We also look at the odds on each man and give our verdict on your best bet.

The Warriors

TIGER WOODS

Age: 42

Born: Cypress, California

Major wins: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), US Open (2000, 2002, 2008), Open Championship (2000, 2005, 2006), USPGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007)

Ryder Cup points: 14½

The golfing story of 2018 has seen Woods return to the pinnacle of the game. His impressive performances at the final two majors of 2018 and his consistent performances on the PGA Tour confirm he is back to somewhere near his best after a string of back problems. He has lost 17 and won 13 of his Ryder Cup matches and will want to improve on that record in Paris.

What he says: "At the beginning of this year one of my goals was to make this team. I got the call from Jim Furyk, asking if I would be a vice-captain and I said absolutely, but deep down I wanted to make the team. Lo and behold, I’m part of this. It’s beyond special for me."

RORY MCILROY

Age: 29

Born: Hollywood, Northern Ireland

Major wins: US Open (2011), Open Championship (2014), USPGA Championship (2012, 2014)

Ryder Cup points: 11

Preparing to take part in his fifth Ryder Cup, McIlroy will be expected to take on a leadership role in the European team once again, but he has not always had it all his own way in this competition. He has a win percentage of just 57.89 from his 19 Ryder Cup matches since he made his debut in 2010. His epic singles battle against Patrick Reed, that ultimately ended in defeat at the last Ryder Cup, provided confirmation that Europe's main man needed to up his game in 2018.

What he says: "It won't be as easy as they think it's going to be. Even though the Americans have a really strong team and a good cohesion in their group, I feel we have a team that can surprise a few people. The fairways will be set up to suit our players and the Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. We'll have a great time and it definitely won't be as easy as they think it's going to be."

JUSTIN ROSE

Age: 38

Born: Johannesburg, South Africa

Major wins: 2013 US Open

Ryder Cup points: 12

Rose achieved his lifetime's ambition as he rose to the top of golf's rankings earlier this month and the 2016 Olympic Games gold medalist will head to Paris $10m richer after winning the prestigious FedEx Cup on Sunday. Rose has enjoyed success being paired with Sweden's Henrik Stenson in past two Ryder Cups and we can expect to see the pair in action together again.

What he says: "The Ryder Cup puts unique demands on a player and living through it before certainly helps. We have five rookies on our team, but there is a lot of experience there as well and Thomas Bjorn had that in mind when he made his captain's picks."

The New Kids

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU

Age: 24

Born: Modesto, USA

Best finish in a major: 15th at the 2016 US Open

One of the form players in Team USA, DeChambeau has turned his game around in recent weeks after he was captured on camera having what appeared to be a meltdown of emotions as he struggled to make his mark at the Open Championship in England in July. His big PGA Tour wins at The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship cemented his captain's pick spot for the Ryder Cup and his form suggests he will be used a lot by USA captain Jim Furyk.

What he says: "It is a dream for me to be on this team and now that I am here, it would be an honour to play with Tiger Woods at this Ryder Cup. I think we could have some great chemistry out there and hopefully maybe intimidate some people."

JUSTIN THOMAS

Age: 25

Born: Louisville, Kentucky

Best finish in a major: 2017 USPGA Championship winner

Of all the rookies in this Ryder Cup, Thomas will arrive in Paris with the biggest expectations. His sparkling form in 2017 culminated in victories at the USPGA Champions and the FedEx Cup backed up by wins at the Honda Classic and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this year. Thomas is a man in form and he had a stint as the world's No.1 golfer back in May.

What he says: "It really, really hurt me when I didn't make the 2016 Ryder Cup team and that was not going to happen again. In the end, I put myself under too much pressure to make the team because this is something I have wanted since I was a little kid. My friends tell me about the experience at this event and they struggle to put it into words. I want some of that."

TOMMY FLEETWOOD

Age: 28

Born: Southport, England

Best finish in a major: 2nd at the 2018 US Open

A distinguished amateur player who has hit the big time in the professional ranks, his place in Thomas Bjorn's Ryder Cup team has been secure for some time after a solid two years of form that were highlighted by his sparkling second place finish in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills last June.

What he says: "There is no sense that we are in awe of the Americans in any way. Most of us on the European team play in the same tournaments as guys like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods every week and we are competing with them and beating them, so we are ready for this challenge. We are on our home course, we are ready for the challenge and I’m so happy, honoured and extremely proud to have qualified for the team."

OUR VERDICT:

Dustin Johnson may be the bookies' favourite to finish as top points scorer at the 42nd Ryder Cup, but look for better value in that market by backing Jordan Spieth (11/1) to lead the way for USA and European warrior Ian Poulter (22/1) to carrying the torch for his side and finish as top scorer.

There is also good value in backing the in-form Tiger Woods to finish as this Ryder Cup's leading scorer (14/1), as he looks set to play in at least four matches over the three days at Le Golf National.

ODDS ON TOP POINTS SCORER

Justin Thomas - 10/1

Justin Rose - 10/1

Rory McIlroy - 10/1

Tiger Woods - 12/1

Tommy Fleetwood - 16/1

Bryson DeChambeau – 18/1

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