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Opinion & Analysis

2012 Ryder Cup Quick Predictions: Friday Foursomes

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By Tim Gavrich

GolfWRX Contributor

7:20 am (all times CT): Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (EUR) vs. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker (USA)

Since he was first picked, I’ve told anyone who’d listen that Brandt Snedeker is the main bellwether for the U.S. team’s success this weekend. He and fellow gritty shorter hitter Jim Furyk face a very tall order against a team with more chemistry than Marie Curie. They will hit first all day and will have to putt exceptionally well to stay afloat against the Ulstermen. Unfortunately, I have a feeling Furyk may miss a key short putt when it hurts. I’d be thrilled to see this match make it to the 18th tee, outcome-be-damned.

Advantage: Europe

7:35 am: Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia (EUR) vs. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson (USA)

If anyone can inspire Phil Mickelson to rise above mediocrity in the Ryder Cup, it’s Bradley. But they’re up against to Euros who are a combined 22-8-5 in the Ryder Cup, a frighteningly dominant track record. Nonetheless, Bradley will be pumped up for his first Ryder Cup match and that should reinvigorate Phil. Plus, the New Englander becomes a better putter the more a putt means (cf. Atlanta last year and Riviera and Firestone this).

Toss-up

7:50 am: Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari (EUR) vs. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson (USA)

Here is another American team that is likely to be hitting first from the fairway throughout the day, but given Dufner’s well-above-average ball striking and Johnson’s putting prowess, the Americans could go on some mini-runs during the match. But if Dufner’s a good ball-striker, Westwood and Molinari are downright surgical from tee to green. Even if they’re not the world’s best putters, they will make some birdies. More than the Americans, probably.

Advantage: Europe

8:05 am: Ian Poulter and Justin Rose (EUR) vs. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker (USA)

Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup record is as good as anyone’s, but their American opponents have been a Ryder and Presidents Cup juggernaut since 2009. Poulter will make a putt or two and glare at the American players and fans, but his eyes are likely to recede into their sockets once Tiger and Strick get going.

Advantage: U.S.

Were I Captain Love (Davis, not a driver of a tie-dye VW bus from the 60s), I’d be thrilled to head to the afternoon four-ball matches at 2-2 with the European side. Look for His Loveness to unleash the fury of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson on the European side—perhaps Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer, who will also rest in the morning for the Euros.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Byron Vereschagin

    Sep 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    What side are you on! US Jumps out to a 4-0 lead! USA! USA! USA!

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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Just as in 2017, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will once again provide a change in format for the players this week. Players will team up once more at TPC Louisiana for a combination of Best Ball (Rounds 1 and 3) and Alternate Shot (Rounds 2 and 4). Unfortunately, the change in format means that there is no DraftKings this week.

The course is long at over 7,400 yards, but it’s also very generous off the tee. TPC Louisiana offers the opportunity to go low, and players took advantage last year despite the inclement weather conditions. It took a Monday playoff to separate them, but eventually Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt pipped Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown by making birdie on the fourth playoff hole to take the title after both teams had posted 27-under par in regulation.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson 7/1
  • Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay 12/1
  • Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley 14/1
  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 14/1
  • Jon Rahm/Wesley Bryan 16/1
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello/Sergio Garcia 22/1

For the first time, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar (14/1) will team up for this event. Last year, Watson played alongside J.B Holmes. The two performed well, finishing in a tie for fifth place. TPC Louisiana has been a course that has suited Watson’s game over the years, his prodigious length being a significant factor. Along with his T-5 in 2017, Watson has a victory and three other top-20 finishes at the course when the event was an individual stroke-play tournament.

While Watson can be feast or famine at times, Kuchar is Mr. Consistent. He hasn’t missed a cut in over a year, and he has been a top-10 machine over the past few years on the PGA Tour. Despite this, Kuchar hasn’t been able to convert many of his top-10 finishes into wins, but playing alongside Watson this week — who has already notched two victories in 2018 — may help his cause. Over their last 24 rounds, Watson ranks third for Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and eighth in Strokes Gained Total. Over the same period, Kuchar has been predictably consistent, ranking in the top third in the field in every major Strokes Gained category. It’s an intriguing partnership, with Watson’s explosiveness combined with Kuchar’s consistency, and it’s a cocktail that should prove to be a formidable force at TPC Louisiana.

Two men with the hot hand coming into this event are fellow Americans, Jimmy Walker and Sean O’Hair (25/1). Last week at the Valero Texas Open both men excelled, posting the highest finishes of their year thus far. Walker finished solo 4th, while O’Hair grabbed a T-2. It’s the pairs first time playing TPC Louisiana together, but Walker has some good course form to lean on. Back in 2012 and 2013, he posted back-to-back top-20 finishes, which shows that TPC Louisiana is a course that fits his game. Accuracy off the tee has never been Walker’s strength, but the generous fairways may be one of the reasons that he has performed well at this course.

O’Hair has been in good form as of late. The Texan has three top-15 finishes in his last six events, and last week he recorded his highest Strokes Gained Total at an event in years. Walker also seems to have turned a corner with his game. Along with his excellent performance last week, he managed a top-20 finish at the Masters, and his Strokes Gained-Total at the Valero was his highest since his 2016 PGA Championship victory. With both men coming off their best performances in a long time, they should be confident. The duo looks to be a decent value to mount a challenge this week.

Last year’s runners-up Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown (40/1) are hard to ignore at their price this week. Brown has struggled mightily for form in 2018, missing six cuts out of 11 events played so far this year, but the prospect of playing alongside Kisner may be the boost that Brown’s 2018 is needing.

Kisner’s form has been strong as of late. He backed up his runner-up finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a T-28 at Augusta before grabbing a T-7 at the RBC Heritage. At Harbour Town, Kisner’s iron play was especially sharp, with his Strokes Gained-Approaching the Greens total being the highest since the Memorial last year. Despite Brown’s slump, in a highly tricky format to predict, the pair showed enough chemistry last year and an ability to excel in the format, which is enough for me to consider their price a little undervalued this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jimmy Walker/Sean O’Hair 25/1
  • Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown 40/1
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Podcasts

Gear Dive: Legendary club builder Larry Bobka speaks on Tiger’s old Titleist irons

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Legendary club builder Larry Bobka joins us in the first episode of our new podcast called “Gear Dive,” hosted by Johnny Wunder, GolfWRX’s Director of Original Content. Gear Dive is a deep look into the world of golf equipment, and Wunder will be interviewing the craftsman, the reps and the players behind the tools that make up the bags of the best golfers in the world.

Bobka, our first guest, is a former Tour rep and club builder involved in some of the most important clubs of the past 25 years. From his days at Wilson Golf working with legends such as Payne Stewart, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer, he transitioned into the Golden Age of Titleist/Acushnet building clubs for Tiger Woods, Davis Love, David Duval and Brad Faxon. He currently runs Argolf where he builds and fits handmade putters for Tour players and amateurs alike. He’s one of the Godfather’s of modern golf equipment.

Skip to 45:30 for the discussion about Tiger’s Titleist irons.

Check out our podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

What do you think of the new podcast? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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Podcasts

Gary Player joins our 19th Hole podcast, talks past and future of golf

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Hall-of-Famer and career Grand Slam winner Gary Player joins host Michael Williams for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament and Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Player talks about the past and future of the game, including his take on everything from reigning in the golf ball and golf courses, to advocating for more testing for performance enhancing drugs on the Tour. Steve Friedlander of Big Cedar Lodge also appears.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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